First Blast: Text
שְׁמַע-ה' קוֹלִי אֶקְרָא וְחָנֵּנִי וַעֲנֵנִי
Hear, O Lord! I cry out my voice; be gracious to me and answer me.
Second Blast: Commentary
This phrase marks a shift in the psalm: from the confident proclamations of the opening verses to a fervent plea for God’s attention. This phrase also echoes one of the core prayers of Yom Kippur: שמע קולנו, ה' אלוקינו, חוס ורחם עלינו וקבל ברחמים וברצון את תפילתנו : “Hear our voice, Lord our God, spare and have mercy on us, and accept with compassion and favor our prayer.” While this phrase appears in the daily Amidah prayer as well, on Yom Kippur it gains a special intensity as we imagine our lives in the coming year hanging in the balance.
Third Blast: Practice
We often live overwhelmed by sound, yet so rarely pay attention to it. How tragic, especially when preparing for a holiday whose central ritual is listening to the sound of the shofar. Find a moment today to attend to a sound you would otherwise ignore. Consider what images or ideas the sound evokes.