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Rosh Hashanah – a Reminder to Listen

By Rabbi Bryan Kinzbrunner
Wilf Campus Chaplain

As we prepare for hearing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, I am reminded about a story about how we should always be listening:

When Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch was a young man, he lived in the same house as his father, Rabbi Schneur Zalman. Rabbi DovBer and his family lived in the ground floor apartment, and Rabbi Schneur Zalman lived on the second floor.

One night, while Rabbi DovBer was deeply engrossed in his studies, his youngest child fell out of his cradle. Rabbi DovBer heard nothing. But Rabbi Schneur Zalman, who was also immersed in study in his room on the second floor, heard the infant’s cries. The Rebbe came downstairs, lifted the infant from the floor, soothed his tears, replaced him in the cradle, and rocked him to sleep. Rabbi DovBer remained oblivious throughout it all.

Later, Rabbi Schneur Zalman admonished his son: “No matter how lofty your involvements, you must never fail to hear the cry of a child.”[1]

Many times, we become so engrossed in the important details and minutiae of our task that we become oblivious to our surroundings. We tend to ignore that which is going on around us because we believe what we are involved with in the moment is truly the most important thing.

Once a year, during Rosh Hashanah, we are reminded to listen. As we hear the shofar sounded to wake us up from our routines, we should find the sounds of the shofar to be a reminder to listen to the cries, to listen to the words beyond the words spoken.

As we prepare to enter 5780, may we be blessed with the ability to offer the most sacred of care, the care for those who are in pain, who are hurt, who are struggling.



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