In 2009, author Lila Rosenbloom wrote about the act of remembrance in Judaism. One of the most important ways that the State of Israel chooses to remember the Holocaust is to sound a two-minute long siren throughout the country. Sirens that are typically used to alert the country to imminent danger, are sounded so that during the appointed time, siren blasts shriek in every village, town, and city in the land and people stop in their tracks. Vehicles stop in mid-intersections, and all is silent. Yet “all the silent space is pervaded by the fullness of the same wail.”
The “wailing cries of the siren are reminiscent of the piercing, awakening cries of the shofar,” the instrument blown on Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Day of Remembrance, which begins tonight. The chief metaphor employed is the Book of Life, in which deeds and behavior stand in witness for or against us at this time of year. God judges us to determine our future — who shall live and who shall die.
It is particularly apt that a ram’s horn is used because it is also reminiscent of the radical notion that human sacrifice is abhorrent. An angel stops Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac and “the substitution of a ram . . . is a reminder to the Jewish people that though God’s creatures will be entangled in misfortunes, in the end they will be redeemed by the horns of a ram. For the Jewish people the shofar is meant to remind them of “their eternality and future promises of redemption.” – READ MORE