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Revive the Glory of Yesteryears
Before me stood a deeply disillusioned couple, their faces etched with anger and blame. She lamented, "He hardly notices me," while he grumbled, "She's perpetually critical." Their accusations seemed ceaseless, their love, a distant memory. While some marriage counsellors might have delved into their grievances and shortcomings, I opted for a more timeless approach, one steeped in ancient wisdom yet resonating with modern relevance.
Getting straight to the heart of the matter, I inquired if they happened to carry any photographs from their wedding day. It might have seemed like an odd question, but the wife, with the world's largest handbag in tow, replied, "Of course!" As she rummaged through her bag, I played a melodic wedding tune softly in the background.
Observing the photographs, I remarked, "Look at how genuinely happy you both appear, lost in each other's eyes and blushing. You were deeply in love... What changed?" The wife sighed, "Yes, that was then, and this is now... we're not in that same place anymore."
"Alright, let's attempt something different," I proposed. I blew the shofar, just as it's done on Rosh Hashanah. The husband, perplexed, asked, "What's the significance of that?"
"The message of the shofar can breathe new life into your marriage," I explained. "Do you both still believe in the beauty of the commitment you made on your wedding day?" The wife hesitated, then said, "I do, but not with him." Research shows that couples who genuinely value and commit to the institution of marriage can succeed, despite their flaws and grievances.
Now, you might wonder, what does the shofar and the music have to do with all of this?
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The Lubavitcher Rebbe, a renowned teacher in Judaism, offers a profound perspective on the concept of "Teshuva" (often translated as "repentance"). He contends that the commonly accepted translation is flawed. Teshuva, he asserts, should be understood as a return, not as a transformation from bad to good. In essence, we are inherently good individuals who occasionally stumble. These lapses are temporary and external.
Embrace Teshuva! Reconnect with the joyous moments of your early marriage. Rediscover your smiles, rekindle old habits, and you will experience the same positive outcomes.
Research affirms that couples who maintain a sincere desire and commitment to the institution of marriage can overcome personal grievances, ultimately enriching their former connection. Your marriage can become stronger than ever before!
They gazed at me with bafflement, as if I had just emerged from a peculiar realm. "Blowing the shofar, playing music... Is this your typical counselling approach?"
Let's infuse Ancient Wisdom with a Contemporary Twist:
In Judaism, the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai is metaphorically likened to a marriage between G‑d and the Jewish people. This metaphor symbolizes the unique and intimate bond between Hashem and the Israelites, signifying their dedication to following His commandments.
Our relationship with G‑d was tested when the golden calf was worshipped, a reflection of every instance when someone deviates from the path of the Torah.
The Shofar at Mount Sinai holds significance:
"The sound of the shofar grew increasingly stronger; Moses would speak, and G‑d would answer him with a voice." (Exodus 19:19)
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serve as opportunities to rekindle the loving relationship between the people and the Divine.
As a wise man once said, "People will forget what you told them but will always remember how you made them feel." This notion, dating back over a millennium, was embraced by Rabbi Saadya Gaon. He identified one of the ten reasons for blowing the shofar as a means to remember and internalize the emotions felt when committing to G‑d and experiencing G‑d's reciprocation. Once we reconnect with the initial emotions and dedication to this relationship, our task is to find practical ways and actions to nurture this bond daily.
Firstly, we must embark on Teshuva, recapturing the positivity and commitments felt during the marriage between Hashem and the holy nation, symbolized by the shofar's resonance.
We sound the Shofar, reigniting the emotions and enthusiasm of that special day.
"This is precisely why I encouraged you to listen to the music played at your wedding and peruse those photos," I explained. "I wanted you to reminisce and relive the love you shared during that time."
"Yes, Rabbi, your words make sense," he responded. "But I fear we've lost it completely. Too many years have passed, and the river of time has carried us far from that point."
Turning to her, I inquired, "And what are your thoughts?"
She hesitated before answering, "I'm uncertain. We haven't spent quality time together in ages. What should we do?"
Stay tuned for the next chapter in our journey...
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To truly appreciate the multifaceted significance of the shofar and its resonance with our lives, let us explore the ten reasons, as outlined by Rabbi Saadya Gaon, for the sacred act of blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah:
The connections between the shofar and marriage are indeed profound and meaningful. Here's a creative way to encapsulate these connections:
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In loving memory of their parents:
Schaindel bat Yitzchak ע"ה
Yeshayahu ben Chaim ע"ה
Avraham Fischel ben Yosef ע"ה
Chana Raizl bat Azriel HaKohen ע"ה