News spreads quickly these days.
It wasn’t always so.
As I ran through the darkened streets of Bedford last night and the church bells rang out the 10:00 hour (the same bells, perhaps, that sounded the alarm raised by Paul Revere in 1775), I thought to myself how different the world was before social media reported world-changing events as they were occurring. Or, more succinctly, before Twitter, how did we sound the alarm about important events?
Longer ago, in Return of the King, Pippin’s bravery caused the beacon of Amon-Din to be lit to call Rohan to the defense of Minas Tirith. As I watched that epic scene there was no doubt in my mind that Tolkien and Peter Jackson were channeling the Rabbinic tradition of lighting beacons to signal the verification of Rosh Hodesh two thousand years ago in the Land of Israel.
Contrast that with recent months, when historic events like the collapse of the Qaddafi regime, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the east coast earthquake, and the visit of Hurricane Irene a few days ago all transpired in real time on TweetDecks and iPhones the world over. For those of us that remember life before email, when the evening news and the morning paper was all you got for news, this is still fascinating.
Along the same lines, we Jews have a distinct way of calling ourselves to attention- the shofar.
Today marks Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the month of Elul. Beginning on the first of the month, we sound the shofar each day (except for Shabbat) to call remind ourselves of the impending arrival of the arrival of the High Holidays.
The shofar is an echo of ancient times. It’s primal. Abrasive. Rousing. Inspiring. It’s impossible to ignore. It demands of us to attend to matters of teshuva. It reminds us that serious business is about to take place.
So in the spirit of blending together two completely unique reporting mechanisms, Twitter and Shofar, allow me a few sample shofar-related tweets based on Biblical references to shofar blowing.
D @kingdavid you shamed yourself today in front of the slavegirls with all that dancing and #shofar blasting. #shameonyou #nonregalbehavior
heard the #shofar and #mountsinai was trembling. Something’s going down. #naasehvinishma
it’s time for the #wallsofjericho to come down. @kohanim sound your #shofarot and get the troops moving. seven circuits should do it.
Praise @god with the #shofar. #hallelujah #psalm150 #needmoreinstruments