When Moshe woke up on Rosh HaShanah morning he didn’t realize that he had slept so late. For a few minutes he laid in bed thinking about the night before. Who could forget the shining faces and the candles glowing, the table set with all his holiday favorites and the special songs. Moshe began to compare all the holidays to see which one he liked best, but quickly decided that they were all so special, how could he possibly choose.
Just then his mother came in the room. “I thought you’d never get up. Everyone left for shul long ago.” Moshe jumped out of bed, washed his hands and got dressed quickly. “I hope I didn’t miss shofar blowing” he said. “No, no you’re not that late,” his mother said. “I’ll be walking to synagogue soon because I want to be there to hear the shofar, but if you want you can go now. Just make sure not to go through the forest, but take the long way around. I want to make sure you get there.”
Moshe put his little shofar his parents had bought him that year and his prayer book in his pack and started off. As Moshe came to the forest he forgot all about what his mother had said. He also forgot that just three weeks before his older sister had to go look for him in the forest because he got mixed up and didn’t know which way was home. Moshe was too busy thinking about hearing the shofar and started through the forest.
He imagined how one day the whole world would stop and listed to the great shofar of redemption and how peace and happiness would fill the world. As if suddenly waking from a dream he looked around but could not remember which way he came from and which way to go. Why didn’t I listen to my mother, he thought, as he kicked a stone in anger. Now I will miss the shofar blowing and everything. Moshe sat down and began to cry, “What will I do now?”
Just at that moment in a town far away another person also felt like crying. But this was no little boy and he knew exactly where he was. His name was Rabbi Yitzchak and in a few minutes he was to blow the shofar for the entire congregation. He was a very rich man and a great leader in his town. Everyone looked up to him and his advice was widely sought out. So why was he sad? He didn’t know exactly why, but he felt deep down inside that on this Day of Judgement, when God looks into the heart of every person, that somehow he could be a better person. Rabbi Yitzchak pulled the tallit, the prayer shawl, over his head so no one could see. He remembered how he had once learned that sometimes we need to be like little children and cry for what we want. Then he remembered that our wise teachers said that the gates of tears are always open. Very quietly Rabbi Yitzchak pulled the tallit further over his face and began to cry. He prayed to God to be deserving of the respect and honor people gave him. He wanted only to be worthy of God’s continual blessing. “Please let my shofar blowing somehow make us all better people.”
In the meantime, Moshe had been crying for who knows how long. Suddenly he remembered what his father had told him: “In a place where there are no leaders- try to be a leader” (Pirkei Avot 2:6 ). Moshe stood up and wiped his tears. “If I can’t make it to synagogue to hear the shofar, well, I’ll just have to blow it myself!” He took out his little shofar and prayed that God would send the Messiah this year. He took a deep breath and blew the shofar like never before. It was so loud that the sound seemed to travel forever.
Far away Rabbi Yitzchak stood up. He had not cried like that in years and felt like a new person. Everyone watched as he took out his shofar, said the blessings and began to blow. The shofar blasts were so loud and pure that everyone in the synagogue trembled. Every person felt as if God was looking right into their heart. Tears poured out of everyone’s eyes as they promised to be a little better than last year.
Back in the forest, Moshe had just finished blowing his shofar and he felt about a hundred feet tall. Just then in the distance he heard the sound of people singing. “It must be the synagogue” he said to himself. Moshe ran as fast as he could and sure enough he got there just in time for the blowing of the shofar. His father gave him a big kiss as he ran in to stand next to him. Moshe’s father couldn’t help notice how his little boy was growing up.
Far away Rabbi Yitzchak finished saying shana tova, a good year, to the last of the congregation before returning home. As he came into his house his wife and children couldn’t help notice how young and happy he looked.
For Moshe and Rabbi Yitzchak it was a very good year indeed.