Shofar--The Ballad of Rahameem Ram

The Ballad of

Rahameem Ram

Uncle Eli
Rahameem Ram
was as sweet as a lamb,
so he always avoided
the rams' ramming-jam.

The other rams ran
to a place near the woods
where they'd ram one another
as hard as they could.
They'd then start stampeding
with all of their might
and keep butting heads
from the dawn till the night.
They fought with each other.
They wrestled and tumbled.
A scary event
was that ram-ramming rumble.
They kept up their ramming
till weary and worn.
Their hooves became scuffed
and their wool got all torn.

But worst of all was
what they did to their horns.

For I do not know
if you've seen rams up close.
They're proud, noble beasts
from their heads to their toes.
They look down at others
with insolent scorn
because they've been blessed
with magnificent horns!

These horns fill the rams
with a marvelous pride.
They wave them about
as they sway side to side.
They take special care
not to let them get scratched,
and make sure that each pair
is exquisitely matched.
If it didn't sound rude
I might say they were vain
when they polish their ram-horns
again and again.

And yet--when those rams
hold their big ramming-jams,
they batter each other
like...battering rams!
Through dust and destruction,
and pitiful bleating,
the rams give each other
a terrible beating.
It's a horrible sight,.
Biff! Bam! Wallop! Wham!
There's nothing as bad
as a ram-ramming jam.

And when it is over,
between stalks of corn
the whole field is strewn
with a harvest of horns.
Those eager young rams
are now beaten and bruised.
A few come out winners
--but all of them lose.
Just two bumps remain
where those great horns once stood.
They hobble back home
from that place near the woods.

Why do they do it?
I really don't know.
It's something they started
a long time ago.
Some think that they want
to impress pretty ewes.
But the ewes think they're silly,
(and I think so too).
They'd rather the rams brought them
flowers to chew.

Now the rams are downhearted,
their butting-heads ache,
But one ram is saddest,
for all of their sake.

Before it all started,
the rams were so mean.
They made nasty fun
of our sweet Rahameem.
"We never have seen
such a cowardly Ram!!"
They taunted him cruelly
as jam-ward they ran.

But when the great butting-fest
finally was over,
Rahameem watched
from his small patch of clover.
He did what he could
to nurse swellings and cuts
from their heads to the bumps
on their sore butted butts.
These were the same rams
who'd shown such disdain--
yet Rahameem worked hard
to soften their pain.
And Rahameem Ram was
especially forlorn
at seeing his buddies
without any horns.

Even when all of the rams
had limped home,
Rahameem wasn't yet
ready to roam.
And that is why he was
the only one 'round
when that stranger slipped in there
without any sound.
One moment the ram
was alone, by himself,
the next he was facing
an odd little elf.
Completely dumbfounded,
he silently peered
at a tiny old man
with a marvellous beard.
That beard flowed forever
in sparkling swirls,
and two merry eyeballs
peeped out from the curls.
The man jumped about,
as his beard wagged and wiggled.
Then he flashed a bright grin
that made Rahameem giggle.

You've probably guessed
who this strange person was,
but Rahameem's head
was confused and a-buzz.
He was far too bashful,
and shy, and polite
to open his mouth
and just ask him outright.

The little man glanced
at the horns on the ground.
He wrinkled his forehead
then spun twice around.
Rahameem wondered.
He still couldn't tell he
had made the acquaintance
of old Uncle Eli.

Uncle Eli then spoke
in a voice warm and kind:
"I'm here on a mission.
I hope you won't mind.
I've wandered the earth,
searching lands near and far.
What I'm trying to find is
the perfect shofar.
Shofars, I must tell you,
in case you don't know 'em,
are horns that produce a fine sound
when you blow 'em.
They're made out of rams' horns,
like these I see here.

And they waken our souls
to be better next year."
Then quick as an arrow,
he winked and he smiled.
He swivelled about
and dove into the pile
of the horns that remained
from the ram-ramming jam.
He vanished from view
before Rahameem Ram.
From under the big pile of horns
could be heard
bumps, noises and grunts
(and occasional words);
but mostly, the sounds of shofars:
--loud too-toots
that were shriller than tubas
but deeper than flutes.
A long time elapsed,
and then Eli appeared.
His eyes now seemed anxious
beneath that big beard.

"These horns are just wrong.BR>
They don't make the right noise.
They're grating and angry
like mean little boys.
A real shofar sound
brings a tear to the eye.
It should tremble with feeling
and cause us to cry.
It makes us feel sorry
for bad things we've done,
so we'll feel great compassion
for ev-e-ry-one.
I sense that nearby
lies the one that's just right,
but I've checked out each ram-horn
with all of my might.
Oh where can that perfect shofar
now be hid?
I'll have to keep looking."
--And that's what he did.

Rahameem Ram
was still lingering there
when a tired Uncle Eli
came up for fresh air.
He seemed just about to give up--
but instead--
he pointed his finger
at Rahameem's head.
"Aha! Now I see!
It was here all the time!
A shofar that is gentle
and sweet and sublime!"
He jumped up and down
in exuberant joy.
Then he did a back-flip
like a happy young boy.
"You! You are a ram
He jumped up and down
in exuberant joy.
Then he did a back-flip
like a happy young boy.
"You! You are a ram
who is gentle and sweet
from the tips of your horns
to the soles of your feet.
You care for all creatures.
You try to be kind.
A more worthy shofar
I could not hope to find.

"And so, brother Rahameem,"
Eli said slowly,
"I ask in a spirit
that's humble and lowly.
Because I have seen
how good-hearted you are,
allow your horn, please,
to become my shofar."

I don't know what you'd do
in Rahameem's place.
A worried expression
passed over his face.
His head and his heart
were so terribly torn.
He now understood
that dilemmas had horns!
The poor ram was baffled,
confused and perplexed.
The ram-ifications
seemed very complex.
He pondered a long while,
his forehead all wrinkled.
His eyes first seemed sad,
then they started to twinkle.
In his heart he knew this was
the right thing to do.
At length he spoke up:
"Yes, I'll give it to you!"

With a click of his heels,
Eli danced through the air.
You could see his eyes spark-l-ing
under his hair.
He laid his hand gently
on Rahameem's top,
and he pulled off one horn.
(It just made a soft "pop.")

One day, if you happen
to pass through that place,
you might meet a ram
with a smile on his face.
That gentle young ram
is polite and well bred,
but only has one horn
on top of his head.
Some people might laugh
if they saw such a sight,
but he doesn't mind.
He is filled with delight.
Now a ram with one horn
might seem silly to some,
but Rahameem's pleased
at the good deed he's done.
For he knows that in lands
near at hand and afar,
many people will gather
to hear his shofar.

So this Rosh Hashanah,
when you gather to hear
the mighty shofar
sounding out loud and clear,
be ever so careful
to perk up your ears.
It should stir us to pray
that our sins be forgiven.
It's the same sound we heard
when the Torah was given.
It was just such a ram
with the same shofar-horn
that Abraham found,
in a thicket of thorns
when he went up to offer
his precious first-born.
That same trumpet sound
will bring joy to our lives
on the day
when our longed-for redemption arrives.

The shofar's sound inspires us
to be true and kind,
to uproot the bad thoughts
that clutter our minds;
to stop being ornery,
mean and headstrong;
to pardon the people
who've done us some wrong.

If ever you feel
that the task is too tough,
that you can't be so righteous,
you're not good enough.
--When that's how you feel,
then say loudly: "I am
going to be as good-hearted
as Rahameem Ram!"
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