tagged: shofar blowing

 

Explanation and ritual for the Jewish New Year’s Day for Animals, Rosh haShanah la-Behemah on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul

Once upon a time when the Temple still stood, the Rosh haShanah la-Behemah celebrated one means by which we elevated and esteemed the special creatures that helped us to live and to work. Just as rabbinic Judaism found new ways to realize our Temple offerings with tefillot — prayers — so too the Rosh haShanah la-Behemah challenges us to realize the holiness of the animals in our care in a time without tithes. The Jewish New Year’s Day for Animals is a challenge to remind and rediscover what our responsibilities are to the animals who depend on us for their welfare. Are we treating them correctly and in accord with the mitsvah of tsa’ar baalei ḥayyim — sensitivity to the suffering of living creatures? Have we studied and understood the depth of ḥesed — lovingkindness — expressed in the breadth of our ancestors teachings concerning the welfare of animals in Torah?haShanah la-Behemah is the day to reflect on our immediate or mediated relationships with domesticated animals, recognize our personal responsibilities to them, individually and as part of a distinct and holy people, and repair our relationships to the best of our ability. . . .

Kavvanah before Shofar Blowing on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul for Rosh haShanah la-Behemah (the Jewish New Year’s Day for Animals), by Aharon Varady

The text of this ritual shofar blowing for Rosh Ḥodesh Elul on Rosh haShanah La-Behemah developed as part of the annual ceremony taking place at the dairy barn on the campus of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center beginning in 2009 under the auspices of Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality and the Adamah Farm & Fellowship. The first Rosh haShanah ritual ceremony was co-developed by Rabbi Jill Hammer and Kohenet Sarah Chandler. My contribution of the kavvanah came a year later in 2010. The text presented here was built upon that ceremony and was presented first at the Hazon Detroit Jewish Food Festival in 2016. . . .


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