Coronavirus disease 2019 (CoViD-19), a disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was first reported from Wuhan, China in December 2019 and it has already claimed more than forty thousand live.
As if Corona was not enough, we got the Summer flooding and the wettest summer in years, which was not a Summer at all. 27 000 houses totally destroyed so that they will have to be rebuilt. All those people brought together, being without a house now, are even more prone to become infected.
The coronavirus spread very fast and soon several variants were found, being more dangerous than the original virus. Among high-income countries, cases caused by the Delta variant reversed the transition toward normalcy first in the United Kingdom, during June and July of 2021, and subsequently in the United States and elsewhere.
But we still have hopes that now 70% of the population is vaccinated, we can soon come to a more normal life.
At sundown on and ends at nightfall on , we come to what we could call this year a new beginning, trying to forget the last year and a half with CoViD-19.
Though the pandemic is not over yet, we look forward to turning over the dark pages of the previous year. After times that our breath was taken away, those who are vaccinated got some more breath and space to do some more things. For months we could not meet at the synagogue or prayer hall and had to do our meeting by using the internet, all keeping our distance, but still feeling united and one.
As we get ready for Rosh HaShanah, we get ready to hear the blasts of the Shofar associated with the Jewish New Year. The first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim (“Days of Awe”), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. It is described in the Torah as יום תרועה (Yom Teru’ah, a day of sounding [the Shofar]).
The sound of the shofar shall still be made in every ones own place, keeping in a safe bubble, but by the speakers of our computer, it shall resound many times, filling lots of houses, bring joy and bringing glory to the Elohim. For many that sound of the shofar always fills their heart with joy, though for some the shofar often evokes a negative feeling. It is something one could call “judgative.” Yes these are the days of Judgement.
For some of us, the sound of the Shofar might be a strange sound and difficult to place. We do not seem to have a lot of films where that sound is given, and those we can remember are not such films to show nice things of the earth. Mostly we hear it in films about the Nazi period. But it might remind us also of other wars and fighting. As such we can hear the walls of Jericho tumbling.
Today, it might be a blast to call people to turn over the page of the previous periods. It is the past hearkening back to the ram at the binding of Isaac when Isaac was almost killed by his father Abraham. For some it might be the sound of Sisra’s mother at seeing the death of her child. And yet for others, it might just be disruption and an annoyance.
Whatever the sound of the Shofar blast may bring unto you, let it also be a sound of announcing a new period full of regained life.
The United Kingdom’s experience nevertheless suggests that once a country has weathered a wave of Delta-driven cases, it may be able to resume the transition toward normalcy. Beyond that, a more realistic epidemiological endpoint might arrive not when herd immunity is achieved but when CoViD-19 can be managed as an endemic disease. The biggest overall risk would likely then be the emergence of a significant new variant.
Though let us hope the figurative Sound of the shofar will blast the pandemic aside and shall open the path to our Adonai bringing His People together again to admire their Highest Host of Hosts and to bring Him worship in gatherings all over the world where the song of praise may sound in full glory again.
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- Elul Observances
- 2017 September – Upcoming Days of Awe
- Numbers 10:10 Make Your Rejoicing Heard
- First New York Synagogue (1728)
- Jewish community in Iceland
Today our thoughts go to all those people who are sitting in the great misery of nature disasters having come over them.
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