Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blowing the Shofar awakens us!

We begin the month of Elul by blowing the Shofar. The Tur cites the Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer that states that when Moshe ascended the mountain to receive the second Luchos, a Shofar was sounded in the Jewish camp announcing Moshe’s ascent. This Shofar blast signaled to the Jewish People that they should not stray after idolatry as they had the last time Moshe ascended the mountain. Furthermore, Hashem ascends with that Shofar, as it is said (Tehillim 47:6) alah Elokim bisruah Hashem bikol Shofar, G-d has ascend with the blast; Hashem, with the sound of the shofar. It is for these reasons, writes the Tur, that we sound the Shofar every year on Rosh Chodesh Elul and throughout the month of Elul, as the Shofar teaches us to repent. It is said (Amos 3:6) im yitaka shofar bair viam lo yecheradu, is the shofar ever sounded in a city and people do not tremble? Additionally, we sound the Shofar to confuse the Satan.

The Tur cites numerous reasons for blowing the Shofar during the month of Elul. The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4) writes that blowing the Shofar on Rosh HaShanah is a Biblical decree. Nonetheless, there is a hint that is contained in the Shofar, and that is that those who are asleep should wake up, search their ways, and repent. It is noteworthy that Rabbi Shimon Schwab writes that when HaShem fashioned for Adam a wife, HaShem first put Adam to sleep. Yet, we do not find that Adam ever woke up. This, says Rav Schwab, is a lesson for us that mankind has never woken up from that slumber. Nonetheless, the Jewish People awoke at the giving of the Torah at Sinai.
In a similar vein we can suggest that Adam HaRishon was created on the first Rosh HaShanah in history. The Kabbalists talk about our requirement to rectify Adam’s sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. Thus, every Rosh HaShanah we blow the Shofar to remind us that although Adam fell asleep, we can rectify his sin by awakening from the deep slumber of ignorance and foolishness and repent from our sins.

Additionally, we can suggest that this is the reason why the Halacha states that one should not sleep during the day on Rosh HaShanah, as remaining awake will rectify the fact that Adam feel asleep on the first Rosh HaShanah in history.


afinkle221 said...

For more information about Shofar and other Holy Temple instruments, we have written extensively on the Shofar and have three websites

1) Joint Effort with Michael Chusid, an expert Shofar sounder and commentator

2) Shofar Sounders WebPage


3) Shofar WebPage



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