On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, after the shofar was blown, I saw a young woman crying in the lobby. With tears flowing down her face, she was being comforted by a friend.

“It’s so silly. I don’t know why I started crying during the shofar-blowing. I’m so embarrassed,” said the young woman between sobs. Her face grew red as she reflected on what had happened.

“It’s probably because you broke up with your boyfriend who was with you here last year, or something like that,” said the friend as she stroked her hair.

I wished it would move me to tearsShe continued to give logical reason after logical reason for why this woman might have burst into tears. The woman responded with sobs and shakes of her head.

At that point I left the room, and thus didn’t hear the rest of the conversation. But the incident got me thinking. And upon reflection, I was in awe of the woman’s emotional reaction. I wished I could feel something so powerful when the shofar blew. I wished it would move me to tears. Instead of feeling embarrassed for her, I felt proud of her. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the entire congregation was moved like that?

I believe everything happens for a reason. If you unintentionally overhear a conversation, then it was meant for you to hear it. If the shofar did not fully wake me up, this encounter did. I felt more in tune with the day, as I contemplated what it all meant.

The shofar is supposed to change us. Its sounds are intended to invoke that nagging feeling inside of us that asks us to live a deeper, fuller life in the year to come.

There is a difference between simply hearing it and then going about my life, and really listening to it and having its wailing sound transform me.

In biblical times, the shofar was used to tell the people that the king was coming. What do we do when a king comes? We perfect ourselves and our environment, to impress the king.

It was also used as a signal that war was coming. What do we do when war comes? We get out our weapons. We form an army. We prepare to fight.

The shofar was also a tool to help us break down barriers. When they blew the shofar at Jericho, the walls came crumbling down.

What was I going to do now that I heard the shofar? How would I improve my life so that the King of Kings would be impressed with me? Was I prepared spiritually for the task? What weapons would I bring into the new year to make sure I won my battles against my vices? In our inner wars between our bodies and our souls, who has the upper hand? Can I be so in tune with my body and soul that the barrier between them crumbles, and they work as a team?

These were important questions, and yet I didn’t know how to fully answer them, and it troubled me. But the fact that it was bothering me, the fact that I was feeling a bit of frustration, the fact that I was reflecting, I thought, was a step forward.

Our actual bones are supposed to resonate with the sound of the shofarEven though sometimes we change from the inside out, it is more often influences from the outside that really have an impact on us. We need the shofar because it is a powerful tool outside ourselves to help us to better ourselves on the inside.

Our actual bones are supposed to resonate with the sound of the shofar. Do I have the ability to absorb the message and let it stir my soul so much that there is an effect on my physical body?

As a woman, my intuition, my feelings about things, are usually spot on. When I gloss over them and ignore them only to have my feelings confirmed later, I feel bad for not listening to myself. Perhaps my intuition is there for a reason. It is there to guide me. How often do we turn off the inner voice of the soul because we think we know better?

Throughout life, our soul is constantly being affected by outside influences: fashion dictates how we dress, advertisements tell us what we like, the media affects how we think, and the people that surround us dictate our reality. Yet, how often do we stop and really listen to the sounds that surround us? How often do we connect to what is inside of us and who is above us? How in tune are we with nature and the spiritual aspects of our lives? How much do the sounds of the outside world drown out the sounds of our soul?

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and also the anniversary of the creation of man. In fact, the first time a shofar was heard in creation was when G‑d created Adam. G‑d blew Adam’s soul into him, and the sound it made was the sound of the shofar. Just like G‑d created mankind on Rosh Hashanah, on the anniversary of that day, G‑d is recreating us. We are G‑d’s shofar.

The sound of the shofar being blown is the sound of creation. The breath represents the soul, and the instrument represents our bodies. The shofar reminds us that when our bodies do the will of our soul, there is song and harmony. Spirituality is represented by music because music, unlike speech, sounds even more beautiful the more notes are being played. Each of our souls has a mission to add to the harmony of the world.

How does my life harmonize the universe?How does my soul fit into this world? How does my life harmonize the universe? Am I using G‑d’s gift of my soul in my body to its full potential?

These questions are deep, and hard to answer. But the fact that I was asking them was step one of the process. Perhaps that is why Rosh Hashanah comes ten days before Yom Kippur. First we must realize these questions exist, figure out how to answer them, come up with a plan to change ourselves, and then carry it out.

The second day of Rosh Hashanah, I listened to the blowing of the shofar again. I took my prayerbook and covered my eyes, so that everyone and everything vanished into the darkness, and I was alone with the sounds of the instrument. I concentrated on every note as if I had to sing it back later. When it was done, I put my prayerbook down, opened my eyes to the quiet in the room, and felt inspired. I had connected with the holiday. I had made it real to myself through my meditation. There were no words of prayer more powerful than these sounds.

The shofar may not have moved me to tears, but it did help me at least begin to reflect on the right questions. I was becoming a woman who could take on the challenge. With a new year comes a clean slate, the ability to right our wrongs, and the power to transform into a newer and better self. The shofar is our call to action. What are we waiting for? The power is within us. Once we hear the call, it is our job to make it real.