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 DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

In the Eye of the Beholder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Manifestations of Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

A Good Eye
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Don't Just Scratch the Surface
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Moshe's Personal Assessment
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

A Day of Rebuilding
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

> Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

ArtScroll

Now I Know My Aleph-Bais
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Small Allusions
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Review, Review, Review!
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Rebuking 101
Shlomo Katz - 5765

YomTov, vol. XIII # 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Not To Worry, G-d's In Charge
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Wise Rebuke
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758



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