• Rabbi Yonah Burr

Rosh Hashana: The Call of the Bugle


This past Shabbos morning, while walking to shul, my young son shared a story that he read with me. It made a strong impression on me because the mashal was so on target and the message, so pure. I would like to share it now with all of you. (Credit to Binah Bunch)


Back in the day of the small villages, there were no fire departments. If, G-d forbid, a fire broke out, every member of the village was called. They would bring their pails or buckets of water and try to extinguish the fire. Everyone had to help, no exceptions. If they didn’t get the fire under control, the entire town might burn down. But the key was discovering the fire as fast as possible. The earlier it was found, the greater the chance of putting it out in time.

A local villager once had the opportunity to visit the big city. What a sight! The hustle and bustle, the throngs of people, the stores and businesses, all exciting attractions. All of a sudden, the villager heard a loud bugle sound, and everything was quiet. A sense of urgency overcame the city. “What’s that sound?” asked the villager.


A city resident explained that the city had an elaborate fire protection system. A special watch tower was manned 24/7. As soon as the sentinels saw the slightest wisp of smoke, they would sound a loud bugle, alerting the city of the fire before it caused any damage. A "fire alarm"!

The villager was very impressed with this innovation. When he got home to his village, he wasted no time in building a watch tower of his own. He even volunteered to be the watchman!


Sure enough, one day there was a fire. The villager proudly blew the bugle with all his might and alerted the villagers of the fire.

"What do we do now?" everyone asked.


"We don’t need to do a thing!" the villager proudly exclaimed. "We sounded the bugle. The fire will go out shortly!"

What a simple message we can learn from this story. The bugle was indeed a terrific way to alert the people of the impending danger, but it would not solve the problem by itself! It was simply a wake up call, inspiring its listeners to react. If they did not heed its call, it could accomplish absolutely nothing.

Hashem in his kindness gives us the opportunity to be inspired to renew our commitment to Him. He gives us Rosh Hashana, He gives us the beautiful prayers, and He gives us the powerful shofar. We have all the tools that we need. But that is what they are -- tools. They alone will not do the job for us. Let us take this opportunity to be inspired, and use the inspiration to get closer!

May we all be inscribed for a kesivah v’chasima tova!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!


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