This morning, I shared three short jokes with the congregation. Each has an important message as we enter into the High Holy Days.
Joke #1 A man visits his friend in Jerusalem. He realizes his watch has stopped so he asks the man what time it is. The man goes to his balcony, looks up at the sun and tells his friend that it is 3:00 p.m. The friend is surprised that he can tell the time from the sun and his host tells him that he has learned to do so and doesn’t even own a watch or a clock.
So, his friend asks him: what do you do at night? He says: “I use my shofar, come back tonight and you’ll understand”.
So the friend comes back in the middle of the night and the man goes out to his balcony and blows the shofar.
Immediately, three people can be heard screaming: “It’s 3 a.m. and you’re blowing the shofar?”
The shofar is, in fact, a clock. It reminds us of the passage of time. One year has passed since we heard it last and we are one year closer to the time when we will no longer be able to change our lives for the better.
When the shofar is blown, realize it is keeping time.
Joke #2 A man brings his car to his mechanic and says simply: “My brakes don’t work well. Can you fix my horn?”
Too often, when we recognize faults in ourselves, we deal with them by expecting others to alter their behavior to account for these failings. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur remind us that we all have faults, that we all have been less than we can be and that if we want to change our lives, it is up to us to make the change. To warn others about our failings and expect they will make life easier for us by changing their expectations of us is wrong. If something doesn’t work correctly, we should change it.
Finally, joke #3 A woman is frantically looking for a parking space as she is late for a very important meeting. In her desperation she calls out to God: “Dear God, if you find me a parking space quickly, I’ll give $10,000 to tzedakah.”
She turns the corner just as a truck is pulling out of a space right in front of the building she needs to go to.
She says; “That’s OK, God, I found one.”
No one can guarantee that you will experience a spiritual awakening over the holidays. No one can promise you that you will hear God’s voice or that you will be moved to the depths of your soul by the sound of the Shofar or the melodies of a prayer or words spoken from the bima.
But, if it happens, if you truly are moved deeply by something you experience, if you truly feel like you have been touched by something beyond yourself or deep within yourself that you haven’t felt before, don’t make excuses.It is a wonderful gift. Accept it, celebrate it and let it light your way in the New Year.
Shana Tova u’mituka to all: a good sweet year of health and peace.