The words "Rosh Hashanah" bring to mind many things. Perhaps it's the apples dipped in honey to bring on a sweet year, or the custom of "Tashlich", when we go to a body of water to symbolically cast away our sins. And of course, there's the Shofar, the hollowed out rams horn blown to remind us to reconnect to our roots.

The Shofar is quite crude as far as musical instruments go. It cannot have any holes to alter it's pure sound, and must not have any foreign substance coated on it. For the cry of the Shofar awakens the deepest part of our souls, a place far deeper than words, even intellect and emotions. It stirs our very core, our Neshama. Every single Jew, no matter the background, affiliation or nationality, possesses this soul, which is a piece of God. Every single Jew at his or her very core, is a sparkling diamond.

Sometimes, far more important than trying to develop ourselves, is our need to be ourselves. To uncover who we really are. Among all the prayers, songs and sermons we might experience during the High Holidays, they are all but a lead-up to the Shofar. For words and song can express only so much. They are finite. But the cry of the Shofar reminds us that though our hearts and minds at times can get carried away with our day to day affairs, we are one thing at our essence: a Jewish soul.

Never doubt yourself. Never think that you need a make-over in order to be a good person and a good Jew. Of course we need try to find ways to better our behavior and actions throughout the year, we never should stop growing. But the Shofar tells us that these aspirations are already inherent in us. From God's point of view, all we need is the simple call of the Shofar to wake us up to be who we really are.

Rabbi Avrohom