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Beha'alotecha

"Make for yourself two trumpets of silver" Numbers 10:2

    Anyone who has taken a group of over-excited youth on a trip to Israel understands the logistics of moving the group from one place to another. Moses faced a similar challenge, although he was helped by the cloud-encased fire hanging over the Tabernacle indicating when they should stop or go forward.

    In the final preparation for the march through to the Promised Land, God instructs Moses "to make for yourself two silver trumpets", which would help him organise and communicate with the masses. They would be used for calling the congregation together and for directing the movement of the tribal groups. They would also be used for battle and for celebrating festivals.

    Why does the Torah say, "make for yourself". The Talmud (Menachot 28 a-b) says that all the vessels Moses made were suitable for his use and that of subsequent generations. However, the trumpets were suitable only for his use, and were forbidden for subsequent generations.

    Leaders share many qualities; however, to make one's unique contribution, a leader must find their own means of sharing their vision and transmitting their passion. For others to follow, Moses had to, quite literally, blow his own trumpet.

    The shofar is another ritual and musical instrument. Used on Rosh Hashanah to inspire people to repent, the shofar is a spiritual tool that arouses a sense of our own mortality and encourages us to reflect on our own lives. In contrast, the trumpet is a tool to help us focus on our physical obligations: to defend ourselves in times of war, to celebrate the festivals and to heed the call for communal responsibility by supporting public meetings and rallies. During these turbulent times, we need leaders who know when to blow the shofar, and when to sound the trumpet.

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