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The Brokenness of the World

When I heard the shofar in shul on Rosh Hashanah, the broken notes spoke to me in a deep, visceral way. It sounded like a simple instrument that was trumpeting, loudly, the brokenness of the world. I don't know if the shvarim (which literally means "broken") and truah blasts had ever hit me in quite that way before.

The world feels so broken to me right now.

The world has collectively and countries/municipalities have individually decided to dispense with any virus mitigations that might cut down on transmission, aside from recommending that everyone get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with boosters. A vaccine-only strategy is not enough to cut down on transmission. It is not enough to prevent more and more people from becoming disabled due to Long Covid or, G-d forbid, from suffering any of the specific sequelae that can happen after a Covid infection, including significant cardiovascular complications or neurological and psychiatric complications, if not death. It is not a pretty picture! Some of these complications happen to people after even very mild cases of Covid.

It's just hard to believe that people really care about other people getting sick, including very seriously and/or with ongoing, complicated symptoms, when they won't even bother to mask or ensure good air filtration/ventilation when gathering with others.

Broken. The world feels broken.

It felt good to hear that sharp, painful, sinking realization echoed in the cry of the shofar in shul on Rosh Hashanah.

In contrast, the tekiah always sounds siren-like to me. It's an alarm. It's a call to arms. It's a piercing sound, designed to enter straight into the heart and inspire one to action.

The three sounds together--two broken and one sharp and piercing--felt like a really good thing to hear this Tishrei. (I did not hear any shofar blasts in Elul this year, since I didn't attend any shul in Elul.)

"Wake up! Wake up!" the shofar seemed to say. "Don't you see that the world is broken? Look at the brokenness--really look at it!--and resolve to repair what you can."

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