Emily Dickinson and the Wordless Cry of the Shofar

The Bible does not contain very much information about Rosh Hashanah. Nowhere in the Torah is it described as a day of kingship, a day of judgment, or even a new year. The only information we have about the day is that it is a “yom teruah,” or perhaps, “zikhron teruah,” a day of, or remembrance of, teruah. In the Talmud, teruah is defined as yevavah, as a kind of crying (Rosh Hashanah 33b), but the plain meaning of the Chumash seems to be closer to a day of “sounding.” This sounding does not necessarily imply praise, celebration, or even prayer. Yom Teruah is, most literally, a day of sound.  And from the perspective of the Bible, this sound does not have a specific valence, it does not tell us what to think or what to feel.

Continue reading “Emily Dickinson and the Wordless Cry of the Shofar”