Friday, September 23, 2011

One year, Reb Wolf Kitzis, a student of the Ba’al Shem Tov’s, was chosen to blow the shofar.  The Ba’al Shem Tov charged him with studying special kavanot for each set of sounds.  Reb Wolf studied these, knowing the heavy responsibility he bore – his shofar blasts must tear away any barriers that stood between the congregation’s prayers and G-d.  Anxious lest he forget these special meditations, Reb Wolf wrote some notes to consult before each set of shofar blasts. 

When the time came, he pulled his tallit over his head, took up the shofar, and made a futile search for his notes.   Reb Wolf was shattered.  He had let the Ba’al Shem Tov down – to say nothing of his fellow congregants who now must suffer a shofar-blower devoid of meditation…With a wretched heart he blew the sounds.

After shul, the Ba’al Shem Tov thanked Reb Wolf for his efforts.  “From my request that you prepare the kavanot, you probably guessed that our people are facing a grim decree from Heaven.”

Reb Wolf shuddered.

“Each mystical kavanah is the key to unlock a particular room within the King’s palace, and no two are alike.”

What had he done?

“But there is one way to gain entrance to every room in the palace – without a key – and that is with an ax.  Reb Wolf, your sincere devotion to the congregation and your  broken heart were the ax that broke through every door.  The decree is annulled.  A good year for all!”
And so may it be for us.

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