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Making that call on Rosh Hashanah

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Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:00 am

I love the "spiritual" side of things. I am in love with the deeper story. To me, there is nothing more powerful than to look into a clear night sky and peer into the notion of what is happening around us. I don't mean to see down the block, I mean to see millions of miles away.

Nature's miracles that we are blessed to experience each day in Malibu can offer a daily dose of inspiration. And the thought that we are but a speck in the Milky Way, and that the Milky Way is but a speck in the grander picture, evokes deep thoughts and strong emotions. For some reason, this adds an extra spark to the flame of life in me.

But not every day is a clear day. And even when the weather outside is clear and splendid, sometimes it is cloudy in here-I mean in my own head.

As humans, we all go through times when even the most beautiful of sunsets can come and go as if nothing happened. There are times when miraculous events unfold right before our eyes, yet they evoke no sense of spiritual movement inside our beings.

When I struggle with this, I pray for insight that I may experience the beauty of creation all of the time. I humbly ask for empathy so I can feel the struggle of others all of the time. Yet even so, sometimes I get the feeling that I am dialing a disconnected number or leaving messages on an old machine.

Something interesting happens when you try to call someone who you've not spoken to in a while, and you find out that the number you have is disconnected. That is usually when the creative juices get flowing. Who do I know who is still in contact with this person? Boy, has it really been that long since we last spoke? Where did we leave off? The process of discovering the right phone number becomes more of a journey than simply finding that piece of information.

This coming Monday evening marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holyday season, a time when Jews of all backgrounds-from the religious to the agnostic will be "dialing in" to the spiritual side of reality. When we make the "call," we all want to feel the inner Spirit being evoked; we want to experience the inner sense of renewal. But our world has become inundated with "static." Between the cell phone calls and the text messaging and all of the other "noise" we have become so accustomed to, it seems more and more difficult to get a "conversation" going with the soul who is our true inner being.

Fortunately, the Sound of the Shofar (ram's horn) which marks the highlight of the Rosh Hashana service, tells a deep story if we are only willing to "listen."

The first call is a simple one, a straight monotone horn sound. It's a reminder of the profound, pure simplicity of the Soul that exists deep inside of each one of us. The soul is the particle inside of us that shines with beauty and unconditional love.

The Shofar's opening tone is then followed by broken-up sounds-a reminder of how we can complicate the light and become broken within. It's a reminder that we can become so callous inside that we forget the most important part of our life, the simple but profound light of our soul.

And then we return back to the simple, straight monotone to inspire us to strip away the complications that we have surrounded ourselves with. We get back in touch with our inner light.

Rosh Hashana is a reminder that a stagnant life is not really a life at all. If our spiritual call is not getting through, then we get to pursue the "right number."

The Shofar is here to show us that the line of communication is always open. If we allow ourselves to reconnect with our inner truth, we will experience a joy that is so profound. We just need to remove ourselves from the static that sometimes blocks it.

Rabbi Levi Cunin will be conducting High Holiday Services on The Malibu Pier. No tickets are needed and all are welcome. For reservations and information, go to or call 310.456.6588.

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