• IOWA Project

Rosh Hashanah Teaching



The central symbol of Rosh Hashanah is the Shofar. My teacher, Rabbi Hertzl Hefter, compares the Shofar - a vessel that breath enters from one end and exits the other, with the human being as described in Genesis 2:7, in whom God breathes the breath of life, Nishmat Chayyim. In the comparison, we humans are the Shofar. The air blown into the Shofar exits as a sound. What is the equivalent when the Divine breath is blown into the human being? What is the “sound” that comes out? I think this is the presence we offer to the world, how we show up, how we interact with other humans and the planet. The more clear our vessel is, the more purely the Breath of Life, the Divine breath, flows through us and shows up in the world.


The goal of all spiritual practice, and particularly the Teshuva process before us in the coming days and weeks, is to tend to our vessel. It is to be as clear a container as possible to express the Divine presence and breath of life through how we show up in the world. As we hear the shofar blasts this Rosh Hashana, I invite you to sense this Divine breath coming through you as a unique gift that you have to offer the world. What will the gift of your presence be like this coming year? L’shana tova, Rabbi David Jaffe