When I was a kid I took trumpet lessons from 5th grade through my senior year of high school. I was a decent trumpet player but never dedicated a whole lot of energy into becoming a great trumpet player. Fast forward 25 years and I am standing in the basement of a temple in the Catskill Mountains in NY on Rosh Hashanah with our kids and another family. The father, Jonathan, pulls out a shofar and asks if any of the kids want to try to blow the shofar.
For those of you who are not Jewish or don’t know what a shofar is, it is a rams horn that is blown on the high holy days to welcome the new year. So, when Jonathan turned to me and asked me if I wanted to try I told him that I played trumpet in high school and I didn’t want to make too much noise. Well, it turned out that the person who used to blow shofar at this temple had moved to Florida for good and the rabbi was trying, although not very well, to blow the shofar.
Jonathan told me to talk with the rabbi about blowing the shofar the next day. I approached the rabbi and he asked me to come that afternoon to see if I could help. Well, blowing the shofar was a piece of cake compared to my trumpet lessons, so I was hired (for free). The next day I blew the shofar at Rosh Hoshanah services and they were thrilled with my efforts. In addition, my mother-in-law was so proud of me she was in tears. This was at least 6 years ago, so I was able to blow shofar the last 3 years we lived in NY.
When we moved to San Diego we told the temple that I knew how to blow shofar and they asked my to “try out” for the rabbi. My tryout went very well and I was asked to join the ranks of the shofar blowers at the temple. For the first two years I took the easiest service, the kids service, where you just blow one long note and you are done. This year I decided to take on the first day of Rosh Hashonah and I had a ball.
I bring this up because if I never spent the time hating my trumpet lessons I would not have the joy of blowing shofar during the high holy days. I must tell you, it is a lot of fun to do it and get the appreciation of all the members of the temple. It is this and hundreds of other examples that makes me certain that everything happens for a reason.
‘Til next time ……
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