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Shofar: The Call of Love

September 6, 2015 | by Rabbi Dov Heller, LMFT

God wants a relationship with us. How badly do you want a relationship with Him?

One of the greatest indications that someone loves and cares about us is that they give us the feeling that we are always on their mind. They check in with us on a regular basis to see how we’re doing and how our life is going. The call of the shofar reminds us that the King of the universe loves us, is thinking about us, and cares about our lives. He is judging us because He loves us, like a mother who “judges” her children to make sure they are on track for living a quality life.

On Rosh Hashanah we proclaim that God is King and we invite Him to rule over us. Not like a tyrant who threatens us with punishments if we don’t obey His every whim and desire; it means that we invite Him to rule over us because we know He loves us and wants everything good for us.

The essential message of Rosh Hashanah is that God wants a relationship with us. The shofar is a call of love. This is the time to honestly examine your relationship with God. How badly do you want a relationship with Him? What can you do to improve it?

Intimacy requires emotional honesty. If I am not able to tell you how I truly feel, than we can never get close. If I pretend everything is ok when it’s not, then I rob us of the opportunity to be intimate. To improve our relationship with God, we must be vulnerable and tell Him how we truly feel. And that requires being honest with ourselves.

What is it that prevents me from feeling closer to The King? He wants to know the truth about how we really feel about Him. Some possible examples might be:

I feel abandoned by You and alone
Sometime I’m not sure you exist
I feel afraid of You
I’m angry at You
I feel guilt-ridden and never good enough
I feel you demand too much of me

On Rosh Hashanah God says to us, “Come talk to me. Be honest with me. Be honest with yourself. I want to know how you really feel. It’s ok to feel whatever you feel. I love you. I can handle it. Just come and be honest with me and talk to me. We can work things out and build a better, stronger, and closer relationship. It’s so important to me. You’re so important to me. Please, won’t you give it a try?”

Here are some possible action steps to take:

  1. Identify what your biggest struggle is with God. Identify what is bothering you most.
  2. Once you’ve identified what’s bothering you, make a commitment to address this issue. Don’t accept that this is just the way it is and nothing can be done to change the way you feel.
  3. Talk to someone about your struggle to see how you might work on changing the way you feel.
  4. Make an action plan to continue working on this after the holidays are over. Remember, our greatest struggle is where our greatest potential for transformation lies.

As we work through our struggles with God, it is crucial to remember that no matter how we feel about Him, His love for us is unwavering. Like a child who runs away from home, his parents have only one thing on their mind – the hope that their precious child will come home as they wait with open arms.

So stop. Take a deep breath. Focus right now on the truth that it’s so good to be alive. With all the pain and struggle of life, deep down we treasure the gift of being a conscious, feeling, thinking being. Look around and remember Who loves you and Who gives you this awesome experience of being alive.

The ultimate growth opportunity of Rosh Hashanah is to work on understanding and improving our relationship with God. When the holiday is over, we should feel that our relationship with God has changed. Let’s use these two days well. If we do, we may truly understand why these days are called the “Days of Awe.”

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