There’s a trope in movies that we could all use: The learning montage. You lack a skill. You need to prepare. You are working for a goal. No one wants to watch anything resembling a realtime series of growth or progress, so the montage is utilized.
We all wish we had the montage in life. It shows all that growth and progress without all the slow drudgery of work. For every rabbi, a montage of high holiday prep would likely show clips of surfing the web, folding laundry, pulling books off of shelves, some staring into space, and then a shot of inspiration and a couple quick images of typing furiously before standing on the pulpit in triumph. Writing isn’t as compelling as training to fight to Apollo Creed.
Today’s theme is the Shofar. It’s too obvious to just use a film with a shofar such as The Ten Commendments. So let’s take a moment to talk about the shofar. Rambam (Moses Maimonides) explains its meaning best: “Awaken, you sleepers! Arise, you slumberers! Examine your deeds, do teshuvah and remember your Creator! …Improve their ways and rectify their deeds!” The shofar is an alarm clock to action. It is a signal to change our ways.
There is a genre of movie that fits this perfectly. A human alarm that warns the rest of us – sometimes in vain – to a fraud, deception, corruption and evil-doing. This person challenges us to make a change despite incredible odds. And though they sometimes fail, the movies celebrate their courage to speak out. This is the whistleblower.