The Secret of the Shofar Blowing on Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is the day that commemorates the creation of the world and as well it is the day that is described as the "coronation day" of Hashem (G-d). Since it is almost a customary affair to sound a trumpet at the coronation of a king, similarly so we blow the shofer on Rosh Hashanah for we coronate G-d as our king. Thus by blowing the shofar we tend to recognize the "purpose" of the creation. Learn more about the festival and about the secret behind the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah.

The Secret of the Shofar Blowing

Shofar Blowing

The Jewish New Year’s holiday, which is also known as the Day of Judgment, revolves around the blowing of the sacred "Shofar" horn. It is interesting to note that the Torah does not explicitly refer to this day as the "New Year", rather it is called "day of blasting" (Hebrew: "Yom Truah") which is a reference to the Shofar horn which is blown on this day. However the Torah does not reveal why we need to blow the Shofar, or what is has to do with the New Year’s holiday.

The Sages teach that the commandment to blow the Shofar is actually the secret which G-d revealed to His children, the Jewish people, to help them receive a positive Judgment on this day. TheShofar is an instrument which is used to announce the inauguration of a King much like the modern trumpet which is blown at coronations of kings. By telling us to blow the Shofar on this day, the Torah is essentially teaching that the best way to receive a positive judgment on this day is by making G-d our king.

On the surface, the very idea that G-d wants to act like a king over his creation is hard to comprehend for certainly the Almighty who is the very creator of the world can do whatever He wants, and if so, He is already much more than a mere king. If so, why would G-d want to be the king over His own creations?

The Gaon of Vilna, one of the greatest sages in the past 250 years, explained that the concept of a king expresses a very specific relationship which is not necessarily found even by an all-powerful creator. A king is specifically a ruler who is there for the benefit of the people and wants to use his power to bring them to their greatest possible potential. If there is a "king" who is primarily interested in his own glory and power then in the eyes of the Torah he is not really a king at all, and it would be more precise to refer to him as a dictator or a ruler.

Thus with this in mind, one can surely begin to understand that the real reason why G-d wants to be our king? Well He donot want be the King for His self-interest; rather, He wants to give us the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him that will lead us to greatest possible good. Thus, it can well be sai that G-d is not only our creator, but He has given us the opportunity to accept Him as our king.

Thus to understand the mechanism of G-d let’s consider an example. For instance, if your neighbour is a most successful stock broker in the world and you both have become very good friends, so its quite obvious you will ask for advice as to where to invest your money. Certainly if he gave you a piece of advice which he assured would be very sound, you would thank him tremendously for telling you how to get the biggest returns on your money. G-d is the very creator of the world, surely He knows the inside secrets of how man can get the most out of his life. Thus when G-d has offered us to be our king, He surely has something in mind for he He uses his power and understanding to help the mortal lead the path which will bring them greatest possible good.

At the end of the Torah however, G-d praises Moses in a much unexpected way, for Moses was a very wise man, who brought the Torah to the Jewish nation. Yet, G-d did not praise him as "Moses, the great sage" or "Moses, the greatest prophet that ever lived", or "Moses, the Righteous", rather it says "Moses, My servant". Why does this praise supersede all other praises that have described Moses?

The Talmud through the example of Moses thus preaches that "the servant of the king is like the king” for the “servant of the king" is not a "slave" who has no significance; rather he is like an ambassador of the king who represents the king wherever he goes.

Thus according to Jewish law, if a servant of the king walks into a room and does not honor him in the way which is fitting for royalty, the person could be killed for rebelling against the king himself. It is thus understood that G-d is telling us that Moses achieved the most exalted state that any creation could ever achieve. He was the perfect example of a servant of G-d.

When G-d took the Jewish nation out of Egypt, He declared that they would be a nation of priests and a light to the nations. With these words, G-d had stated that He would raise them up to the most exalted state of being His personal ambassadors to the world.

The Sages taught that the day of the Rosh Hashanah, is the day when the first man was created, and as well it is that day when G-d stood as the king over his creation for the first time. Thus it is very well understood the Torah has instructed us to blow the sacred shofar horn specifically on this day because it is the day has been set aside for G-d to inaugurate all his creations anew. Thus this is the only reason why the Torah has instructed us blow the shofar so that we can welcome G-d as our king on this unique day, and this is the secret which G-d has revealed to His children to insure them that they we will receive a positive Judgment for the new year.

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