Judaism Eternal: Selected Essays from the Writings of Samson Raphael Hirsch - Vol. 1

By I. Grunfeld; Samson Raphael Hirsch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
ELUL SHOFAR AND SELICHOTH

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THE summer is drawing to a close. The earth receives the final glow of the sun and its fruits approach their full maturity. Everything that grows and lives seeks to extract the maximum of ripeness from the last rays of the year. The apple paints itself with its final shade of red, the wine receives its richest sparkle. The ground gives its last sap, the corn-stalks grow to their limit. The bee seeks the last drop of honey in the flower cup before it vanishes. The squirrel drags the last grain of corn to his winter store. The returning swallow carries the last straw to the nest. There is no time to be lost; the end is in sight. The Master will soon call. Everything seeks while there is still time to attain and to achieve the best that is in it. It does not wish to appear before its Master with fragmentary and half-finished work, with its year's performance still defective. The worm, the grasshopper, the beast, the bird, the stalk, the herb, the seed, the fruit, everything seeks "to fulfil the will of the Master, to perform the task He has laid upon it." Shall then negligence, remissness and perversity dwell in the haunts of man? Shall he harbour in his heart the spirit of thoughtlessness which lives in a dream-world for the day only, without ever thinking that the end is close and the Master is calling, without looking into and round himself, without looking before and after so as to seize the speeding hour by its pinions and using the vanishing moment in order to prepare himself for eternity?

All things strive to go straight, every being, every power, every dynamic atom. They all have their eye on the goal which has been fixed for them, and endeavour to reach it by

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