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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Practice Runs

It was one of those exhausting humdrum days –a quick shower, a quicker davening, breakfast on the run, and a race to catch the eight o'clock bus to Bnei Brak. After sitting for nine hours opposite the computer, I somehow managed to drag myself to the bus stop and wait for the 402 to Jerusalem. The bus was fairly empty, so with two seats to myself, I slept like a log until we arrived at the entrance to the city. I remained in a semi-conscious state as the bus slowly snaked its way through the neighborhoods, until, with a start, I realized that everyone had left, and it was just me and the driver. I rang the bell for my stop.

 That's when I heard it! A shofar, the throbbing leaves-you-quivering-in-your-shoes sound of a shofar blowing --  very very, loudly! There was no mistaking it, this was the real thing. I looked outside, with a sense of awe and excitement that perhaps, maybe, this was what we have been waiting for and praying for and hoping for, for so many years. But sadly, there was no angelic looking man sitting on a white donkey, tooting his horn. We'll have to wait longer.

I had become somewhat a pro at judging shofar sounds. I am working on a promotional video that concludes with a 4 second shofar blowing. In our search for the perfect ending that pulls at the heart without sounding tinny or perfectly unreal, I devoted a good chunk of my time to listening to recorded shofar sounds. Now, the sound of the shofar vibrating through the bus, shook me to my very core. I couldn't help but wonder if my work had affected my sanity.

But then again, I live in Israel. I remembered the time I took my early morning walk and saw the garbage truck driver crowned in his Tefillin, quietly praying as he waited for the garbage truck men to finish loading the garbage (an interesting twist on the Berditcher Rebbe's story about the wagon driver in Tefillin)! And then there was the time that I found a shofar next to the sandbox. I had placed notices throughout the neighborhood, announcing my find. Much to my surprise, four people called to see if had found their shofar before the owner finally appeared. So why should I find the sound of the blowing shofar on a bus unusual?

Instead of exiting through the back door, I walked through the now empty bus to the front, opposite the driver. And there he was, with his long pony tail, torn jeans and, yes, very conservative blue button-up Egged uniform shirt, blowing away. Tekiah, teruah, shevarim, the sound reverberated through the stuffy Egged bus. 
"Beautiful,"  I said, trying to hide my surprise
"I blow the shofar in shul," he explained, "and I practice when the bus is empty, whenever I'm stuck at a red light!"
 "That was a gorgeous shofar blowing. You put a lot of feeling into it." I didn't bother explain how I had become a pro at shofar sounds. But it really was, and I wished that I had taken my recorder with me, because it was the perfect shofar blowing to end the video.
But I had left my recorder at home, so obviously, it was not. I guess I'll just have to save my emotions for the real thing.

To see the video, go http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhuX86SGOCA

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