Today I came upon the Oath of Maimonides. Here is the short text written by the preeminent rabbi, physician, and philosopher of the medieval period:
The eternal providence has appointed me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. May the love for my art actuate me at all time; may neither avarice nor miserliness, nor thirst for glory or for a great reputation engage my mind; for the enemies of truth and philanthropy could easily deceive me and make me forgetful of my lofty aim of doing good to Thy children.
May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.
Grant me the strength, time and opportunity always to correct what I have acquired, always to extend its domain; for knowledge is immense and the spirit of man can extend indefinitely to enrich itself daily with new requirements.
Today he can discover his errors of yesterday and tomorrow he can obtain a new light on what he thinks himself sure of today. Oh, God, Thou has appointed me to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures; here am I ready for my vocation and now I turn unto my calling.
My mother sent me the snap accompanying this post of a page from a booklet she received when she went to hear the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
I was curious to look up these various symbolic interpretations of the significance of the shofar. This list was devised by a rabbi from the late ninth-to-early tenth century.
I had heard Rabbi Jonathan Sacks recall how Maimonides considered the shofar as “God’s Alarm Clock“, but I had never before heard about the connection between the sounding of the shofar as a reminder of the resurrection of the dead.
Eliyahu Kitov’s article says, “The sounding of the shofar serves to remind us of the resurrection of the dead, as the verse [Isaiah 18:3] states: All those inhabitants of the world and those who dwell in the earth, when a sign is lifted upon the mountains you shall see and when the shofar is sounded you shall hear.”
I went and tried to read that chapter of Isaiah in context and I could not really figure out what it had to do with the resurrection of the dead.
I also tried to find other Jewish sources speaking to the importance of being reminded about resurrection on Rosh Hashanah and I didn’t really find anything.
The shofar can only be the spiritual wake-up call it’s meant to be if it’s understood what exactly we are being awoken to and for.
What difference would it make if we were reminded, even annually, to think about resurrection?