Ears & Horns by Michael Winner/9/15/2023 "The camel went in search of horns, and got his ears nipped off instead" (Sanhedrin 106a).I learned an interesting piece over last Shabbos by Rav Yaakov Meir Schechter, which I thought was apropos for Rosh Hashana.Every year around this time, when a person (hopefully) finds time to contemplate where he or she is holding in the grand scheme of things, voices creep into our heads saying, "Why couldn't you be like so-and-so, or have so-and-so's personality, behavior, deeds, etc." We look up at others, wishing we could be more like them and less like us, and hopefully, we would have a better new year than we are expecting.The Gemara (Taanis 21b) teaches that every day Abba Umanah, a doctor, would receive a "greeting from Heaven" and at the same time Abaye, the leader of the generation, would receive the same greeting, yet only once a week.When Abaye learned of this, he became distressed. Those around him consoled him saying, "That is because you cannot do what Abba Umanah does." What does this mean? Abba Umanah was a doctor, Abaye was the preeminent scholar of the time! It means that Abba Umanah fulfilled his potential 100%, while Abaye had not yet done so. Yes, Abaye was on a higher level, but more was expected from him, compared to that of Abba Umanah. Had Abaye tried to copy Abba Umanah's ways, he would have failed. Had Abba Umanah copied Abaye's ways, he would have failed.This is all hinted at, says Rav Shechter, in the Gemara quoted above: "The camel went in search of horns, and got his ears nipped off instead.""Horns" represent spiritual illumination. "The skin of Moshe's face radiated light (keren ohr, literally "horns of light") (Shemos 34:29). "Happy is the man who fears Hashem, who delights greatly in His commandments… His righteousness endures forever; His horn shall be exalted with honour" (Tehillim 112:9), etc."Ears" represents our ability to hear and listen to Hashem's mitzvos, and when He "speaks" to us, with different experiences throughout our lives and even days. Each person has their own "ears" to hear Hashem in this world.So, when we are not focused on our own "horn" and we ignore all that our own "ears" hear, we not only NOT gain the horn of others, but we also lose our own ears, and can no longer hear the personal messages that Hashem is sending US.Over Rosh Hashanah, our focus should not be on who we want to become, rather it should be on fulfilling our own personal destinies and asking Hashem for another year to attempt to do so.Have a wonderful and meaningful Rosh Hashanah.