Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Elul-Rosh Hashana
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Shofar: A Wake-Up Call

By Rabbi Yehudah Prero

We find that when the Torah speaks of Rosh HaShana, it tells us "Yom Teru'ah yih'yeh lachem", "a day of teru'ah (sounding the horn) should be to you". Although the verses do not elaborate on what type of horn or instrument is being sounded, our sages have taught us that it refers to the Shofar, which is usually a ram's horn.

Why do we sound the Shofar? What is it supposed to accomplish? The Sefer HaChinuch tells us that we must understand the nature of "man", human beings. As 'man' is a creature from the physical realm, he is only aroused and inspired to action by something stirring, something that will cause him to snap out of the ordinary routine. We see this concept in practice at a time of war: In order to stir up the troops, trumpets are sounded, in hope that this arouses and motivates the soldiers to action. On Rosh HaShana, we do the same. We "awaken", by means of the Shofar, all who are to be judged on this day. We try to incite all who have sinned to plead with Hashem and request mercy from Him when judging. Hashem is receptive, as he is gracious, compassionate and forgiving, of those who return to Him with a complete heart. If the sounding of the Shofar has its intended effect, Hashem will graciously accept the repentance of all on Rosh HaShana.

The sound that eminates from and the shape of the Shofar are meant to inspire us as well. The Sefer HaChinuch writes that the Shofar is a reminder that man should strive to break the impulses of his heart which are evil with the sinful cravings of the world. How does the sound of the Shofar accomplsih this? The actual sound emitted from the Shofar is broken; it is not one straight note, but a series of staccato blasts. The broken sound reminds us that we have a job of "breaking" to do as well - the breaking of our evil inclination.

The shape of the Shofar is not straight like a trumpet. Rather, the end of the Shofar is curved and bent. This bent shape is to remind us that we should bend our hearts in subservience to Hashem.


Check out all of the posts on Elul and Rosh HaShana. Head over to http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/ to access the YomTov Page. Then click on the icon for the holiday of your choice.
For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.

 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Free Time
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Can You Enjoy While Others Lack?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Understanding the Faith of Noach
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Not Just Despite, but Because of!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Gevuros and History
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Generation to Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

> Now -A Hopeful Place
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Make it a Habit
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Resilience is Key
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Did The Animals Come Or Did Noach Have To Bring Them?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Back To The Daily Grind
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Law and Order
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

ArtScroll

The Name of HASHEM
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Taking the Initiative
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Send The Guinea Pig!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

G-d's Message for All Humanity
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information