By, Chava Floryn
On the first day of the Jewish New year called “Rosh Hashanah,” Jews commemorate the binding of Isaac where a ram was sacrificed in his stead. That event is read on the second day of Rosh Hashana. What is the correlation between that event and how we celebrate the beginning of the Jewish new year, and how we tap into our deepest soul selves?
In that episode of history, God was proclaiming that every human being is essential to the orchestration of the world. Back during that time, the pagan approach to finding one’s spirit was imbedded in worshipping idols, and the ritual of human sacrifice, the exact ideals Abraham rejected. It was those ideals that lead Abraham to leave his father’s home, and city, and attempt the ten heavenly tests that would change the course of how man worships forever. For the ideals of society at the time did not find the human being’s connection to divine source sacred. Nor Did society deem the human being sacred. Humans were considered dispensable; Godly divine souls non existent.
The episode of Abraham’s last test was the ultimate memorial of the message to all of humanity that God judges with compassion, that every human being has relevant significance. That just as God announced on the day of creation of man stating “And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,” God was proclaiming, human beings have potential and there is a piece of us dignified with a holy spark of elevated Godliness in all of us.
Initially God told Abraham to sacrifice his son and later when he was about to do so- to go against everything Abraham had come to believe was sacred, God sent a servant, an angel, to let Abraham know this was not God’s true intention. But why didn’t God show up himself and let him know through his own words? This was probably the most compassionate moment God chose to prove to Abraham that his own dignity was sacred. For in that moment Abraham now had free choice. Does he take the recommendation of the messenger or does he listen to the original commandment from God? In that moment Abraham had to judge God for himself. He had to decide if his Higher Power was a compassionate father in Heaven who had Created a dignified force or was he a non-existent entity void of any deeper meaning and truth? Was God telling us to value human life or not?
And this was the ultimate TRUE test of Abraham that we are charged to ask of ourselves on this holy new day of the upcoming year, as we are charged to ask of ourselves every year. The most important question we can ask ourselves is – do we matter? In the cosmic shape of the world do human beings have an important role? Or are we arbitrary creatures with zero dignity and ability to reshape existence as we know it?
We know the end of that story that happened on the very top of Mount Moriah, also known today as the Temple Mount, the most controversial, fought over, holy spot on earth. Abraham chose to see his own dignity in that moment and not sacrifice his son, but instead sacrificed a Ram as a gift to God. Today we blow the Ram’s horn to signify the experience. The ram was considered the most subserviant of creatures, and by blowing his horn, we are saying, that our base materialistic animalistic selves are a mere container, but they are not to be worshipped, quite the opposite. For when we hear the sound of the horn, we are reminded of the other entity that lives inside our body container; the soul. And we do have the ability to dignify each other and ourselves with the answer, that “Yes, we do matter. We do have significant importance to the cosmic universe.”
This week the most unprecedented modern day Abrahamic proclamation was made yet again. That the dignity of ALL of Abraham’s descendants matter and we as a people have the ability to choose dignity over dishonor. For this week the Abraham accord was signed. The proclamation in that accord once again mirrors the choice Abraham made on the Temple Mount 3,697 years ago. That ultimately each of us have a choice, and ultimately it is up to us to reveal the common ground of purpose and importance we all inhabit.
May the collective sounds of the shofar this year reverberate throughout the universe to proclaim our significance, acceptance, and unconditional love for one another that our world so desperately needs in order to heal.