The Island of the Shofar and the Horn of Plenty

There was a holy rabbi who was famous for his ability to blow the shofar. So powerful were the sounds he drew forth that those who heard the shofar were sure that its voice would ascend on high all the way to the Throne of Glory.

Now it was the dream of the holy rabbi to travel to the Holy Land to blow the shofar in the holy city of Jerusalem. One day the opportunity came and the holy rabbi prepared to leave on his journey when an old man offered him advice, “Along your way, you will meet many people but remember this: when anyone asks you a question, be careful to measure your words and consider your reply.”

Shofar

So the holy rabbi set out for the Holy Land, and when he reached the Black Sea he took a ship to Constantinople. Now for the first few weeks everything went well, but one day, the skies grew dark and the seas raged as a terrible storm suddenly struck the ship and thrust into rocks so hard that it split apart. Everyone on board the ship was swallowed up by the sea except for the holy rabbi, who somehow managed to grab a long plank. He held tight to that plank for three days and nights, until the waves cast him onto an island.

The holy rabbi was so tired that he could only crawled onto the shore and fell asleep. When he regained his strength, he got up to explore the island to look for food for he was hungry from the three days he had spent at sea. He didn’t find any fruit or anything else to eat, but he did find a freshwater stream. He drank the cool water and satisfied his thirst. The Holy rabbi followed the stream to its source where he discovered a magnificent mansion.

The holy rabbi made his way to the door of that mansion and used the last of his strength to knock on the door. To his surprise, the door opened by itself. At first he stood in the doorway and called out, but no one replied, so he decided to see if anyone lived there. He walked through the halls, opening every door. Every room was beautiful and filled with wonders, but still no one was to be seen. Finally he opened the door to a large dining room, and there he saw the longest table he had ever seen in his life. It was so long that he could not see the other end, which seemed to be hidden in a thick fog. At another time he might have wondered at this, but at that moment all he noticed was that there was one place setting at the table, although there was no food to be seen.

When he came closer to the table, the holy rabbi saw that two precious objects had been placed there. One was the largest and most beautiful shofar he had ever seen, and the other was a golden horn whose value he could not begin to guess. He stood before those precious objects and wondered which he should examine first. Just then a single grape rolled out of the golden horn, and that decided the matter for him. He picked up the horn, and as he did, an enormous amount of the finest food fell out of it, rolling across the table.

The holy rabbi was overwhelmed at this unexpected abundance and quickly sat down so that he might partake of that delicious food. He closed his eyes and with much kavannah (concentration and sincere feeling) he said the blessings before eating, and just as he was about to take his first mouthful, he heard a deep voice that seemed to come from the far side of the table: “So, how are my children faring?” Now all that the holy rabbi could think of was that delicious food, and he quickly replied: “So, how should they be faring?” and he took the first bite. Then the voice replied: “So be it.” At that instant the fog lifted. The holy rabbi was able to see to the other end of the table, but no one was there. That is when he noticed that the shofar was missing, although the golden horn still remained. He decided to look for the shofar once he had finished eating, and he turned back to his plate. But each time he lifted his head, it seemed that the table had grown smaller. When he had eaten his fill, he looked down and saw that the table was no bigger than a plank. At that moment a deep exhaustion came over him, his head sank down, and he fell asleep.

All at once the holy rabbi was awakened by cold water washing over him, and when he opened his eyes, he found himself back in the sea, still clinging to the plank. He began to wonder if his visit to that mysterious mansion had been a dream or if it had really taken place. When he realized he was no longer hungry, he knew that some kind of miracle had happened.

Not long afterward, a fishing boat found him floating in the sea and brought him back to shore. Then he knew that he must not attempt to continue his journey to the Holy Land but must return to the wise old man, to tell him all that had taken place.

When the holy rabbi reached the small cottage of the wise old man, the old man greeted him sadly and said: “What a shame that you did not pick up that shofar and sound it, as you and only you can do so well. For if you did, the footsteps of the Messiah would have been heard every­where. For that is the shofar made from the horn of the ram that Abraham offered on Mount Moriah in place of Isaac. It is said that Elijah will blow that shofar at the End of Days. It was within your grasp to do so, so that all our waiting would come to an end.

shofar

“Or at least if you had held on to that golden horn, hunger would have been banished from the world. For that is the Horn of Plenty, and it you had brought it back, no one would ever know hunger again.

Horn of Plenty

“Or if you had replied otherwise to the question that was asked of you and told the Holy One, blessed be He, about our suffering in this world, surely everything would be different.

“But at least you were wise enough to say the blessings before you ate. For if you had not, you would have been lost at sea, as were all of the others who set out in that unfortunate ship.”

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

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One Response to “The Island of the Shofar and the Horn of Plenty”

  1. As the story says
    “What a shame that you did not pick up that shofar and sound it, as you and only you can do so well. For if you did, the footsteps of the Messiah would have been heard every­where.”

    ” It is said that Elijah will blow that shofar at the End of Days…”

    Can this be taken to mean that this holy rabbi, could have been/ or became Eliyahu Ha’nuvi? This leads me to believe, that much like everyone in the world could have the potential to become Moshiach (the Messiah) The presence, of Eliyahu as well could be within all of us.

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