Sedra of the Week: Yitro

Sedra of the Week: Yitro

Rabbi Boruch M Boudilovsky previews this week's portion of the Torah

“All the inhabitants of the world, all the dwellers on this earth, when He lifts up a banner on the mountains, you will see it, and when He sounds the Shofar you shall hear.” (Isaiah 18)

This is one of the final three verses out of 10, which explore the theme of the Shofar as an introduction to the blessing of “Shofarot”, one of the climax points in the Musaf prayer said on Rosh Hashanah. They highlight the universal role of the Shofar.In the Jewish utopian vision, its sound reaches out to the international community announcing a global message. The sound extends beyond shul halls and encompasses the entire world, from its largest capital cities to its smallest distant villages.

Indeed, “all inhabitants of the world, and all dwellers on this earth” from the society elite, to the “lost and banished” will be inspired to look to Jerusalem and serve God in unity and peace.

Yet although it may seem paradoxical, the eventual universal call of the Shofar is enabled by an exclusive one. Indeed, the first of these 10 verses meditates on the revelation at Sinai to the Jewish nation, as recorded in this week’s parsha.

The magnificent sound of the Shofar announcing an unprecedented era in the future of mankind is the same one that accompanied our nation at Sinai into a separated destiny shaped by covenant. Judaism is whole when it successfully incorporates both Shofar callings, the early Sinaic Shofar and the final messianic Shofar. We are inspired to follow the same pattern of articulating Judaism’s universal values while remaining
committed to the intimate covenant given at Sinai.

Boruch M Boudilovsky is rabbi of Young Israel of North Netanya

read more: