My rabbi asked me to write something (brief) to read during the shofar service on Rosh Hashana, specifically the "shofarot" section. (The shofar service is in three parts: "malchuyot', in which we acknowledge God's sovereignty; "zichronot", in which we acknowledge God's role in our history; and "shofarot", in which we recall revelation.) This is what I wrote:
The shofar blasted from the top of a mountain wreathed in smoke, and we stood at the mountain's foot and trembled in fear and awe, anticipating divine revelation. We knew little of God then but yet were ready to say na'aseh v'nishma, we will do and we will hear.
The shofar blasts today, and I wonder how I will react. Will I stand and tremble again, in fear or awe or anticipation of the judgment to come? Or will I just hear the sound of a ram's horn, a part of our ritual and nothing more?
The shofar blast invites me back to Sinai, to the uncertainty and fear but also the awe and wonder. I pray that I am open to it enough to follow that lead, to experience the smoking mountain and divine revelation anew. Today is not just Rosh Hashana; it is an encounter with God, if we permit it.