The Wake Up Call

The shofar has the power to wake you up.

I was once asked group of teenagers what they thought the greatest pleasure in life was. They responded - “sleep”

Sometimes that’s literal. During the Yom Kippur War, my father a”h, who was not yet shomer Shabbos was deeply moved by the sacrifices of the Jewish boys fighting for the survival of Israel and the Jewish people. He wanted to do something to help in his own way. So every morning before he left for work he would put on the tefillin he still had from his grandfather and would daven Shachris.

During Elul he would, at the end blow shofar. And he literally woke up everyone in the house.

But of course it means more than that. We go through life asleep, again, literally and figuratively. I was once talking to a group of teenagers and I asked them what they thought the greatest pleasure in life was. They responded “sleep”. 

I challenged them – they couldn’t be serious! What if you had a day off? “I would sleep all day“ one responded.

“But what about vacation?” I asked.

Another responded “last summer I slept for two months straight”!

I said “Well, I bet you can’t wait to be dead, you’ll sleep forever!”

There was a brief pause and then a third responded “No, because I’ll never have the pleasure of waking up and going back to bed”. They wouldn’t mind being dead apparently, as long as every few years they could wake up and turn over and go back to sleep.

“Who will live and who will die” we say on Rosh Hashana. Rav Dessler explains that we see bad people who don’t die after Rosh Hashana. But it’s a mistake. They are dead. They just won’t be buried for many years. Sleep is death.

Wake Up!