Hear The Sound of the Shofar – Return Home ‘Do Teshuva’

We learn that we are obligated to hear on Rosh Hashanah nine shofar blasts. This is derived from the word Teruah תרועה which is stated in the Torah three times in connection with Yovel and Rosh Hashanah (Shulchan Aruch Ohr Chaim 590:1). It is not clear what exactly a “Teruah” sound is. To satisfy all opinions we blow three sets of three sounds (Tekia-Shevarim-Teruah 3x, Tekia-Shevarim-Tekia 3x, Tekia-Teruah-Tekia3x) to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. An additional explanation for the nine shofar blasts is that when the barren Chana prayed for a son (Shmuel), she was subsequently answered. In her prayer she used G-d’s name (יקוק) nine times. (Shmuel I 2:1-10).

ויקרא כה: ח-יג

וְסָֽפַרְתָּ֣ לְךָ֗ שֶׁ֚בַע שַׁבְּתֹ֣ת שָׁנִ֔ים שֶׁ֥בַע שָׁנִ֖ים שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֑ים וְהָי֣וּ לְךָ֗ יְמֵי֙ שֶׁ֚בַע שַׁבְּתֹ֣ת הַשָּׁנִ֔ים תֵּ֥שַׁע וְאַרְבָּעִ֖ים שָׁנָֽה: וְהַֽעֲבַרְתָּ֞ שׁוֹפַ֤ר תְּרוּעָה֙ בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִעִ֔י בֶּֽעָשׂ֖וֹר לַחֹ֑דֶשׁ בְּיוֹם֙ הַכִּפֻּרִ֔ים תַּֽעֲבִ֥ירוּ שׁוֹפָ֖ר בְּכָל אַרְצְכֶֽם: וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּ֗ם אֵ֣ת שְׁנַ֤ת הַֽחֲמִשִּׁים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּקְרָאתֶ֥ם דְּר֛וֹר בָּאָ֖רֶץ לְכָל יֽשְׁבֶ֑יהָ יוֹבֵ֥ל הִוא֙ תִּֽהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֔ם וְשַׁבְתֶּ֗ם אִ֚ישׁ אֶל אֲחֻזָּת֔וֹ וְאִ֥ישׁ אֶל מִשְׁפַּחְתּ֖וֹ תָּשֻֽׁבוּ: יוֹבֵ֣ל הִ֗וא שְׁנַ֛ת הַֽחֲמִשִּׁ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה תִּֽהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם לֹ֣א תִזְרָ֔עוּ וְלֹ֤א תִקְצְרוּ֙ אֶת סְפִיחֶ֔יהָ וְלֹ֥א תִבְצְר֖וּ אֶת נְזִרֶֽיהָ: כִּ֚י יוֹבֵ֣ל הִ֔וא קֹ֖דֶשׁ תִּֽהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם מִ֨ן הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה תֹּֽאכְל֖וּ אֶת תְּבֽוּאָתָֽהּ: בִּשְׁנַ֥ת הַיּוֹבֵ֖ל הַזֹּ֑את תָּשֻׁ֕בוּ אִ֖ישׁ אֶל אֲחֻזָּתֽוֹ:

And you shall count for yourself seven sabbatical years, seven years seven times. And the days of these seven sabbatical years shall amount to forty nine years for you. You shall proclaim [with] the shofar Teruah, in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month; on Yom Kippur, you shall sound the shofar throughout your land [of Israel]. And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom [for slaves] throughout the land [of Israel] for all who live on it. It shall be a Yovel for you, and you shall return, each man to his property, and you shall return, each man to his family. This fiftieth year shall be a Yovel for you, you shall not sow, nor shall you reap its after growth or pick [its grapes] that you had set aside [for yourself]. For it is Yovel. It shall be holy for you; you shall eat its produce from the field. During this Yovel year, you shall return, each man to his property (Vayikra 25:8-13).

On Yom Kippur of the Yovel year, the shofar is blown with a Teruah sound, to proclaim the Yovel.

Rosh Hashanah is called “A remembrance of a Teruah” , and “A day of Teruah”. We learn from Yovel that we also blow the Teruah sound with a shofar on the first two days of the New Year.

ויקרא כג: כד

דַּבֵּ֛ר אֶל בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר בַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜י בְּאֶחָ֣ד לַחֹ֗דֶשׁ יִֽהְיֶ֤ה לָכֶם֙ שַׁבָּת֔וֹן זִכְר֥וֹן תְּרוּעָ֖ה מִקְרָא קֹֽדֶשׁ:

Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month [Tishrei], on the first of the month, it shall be a Sabbath for you, a remembrance of [Israel through] the shofar Teruah blast a holy occasion (Vayikra 23:24).

במדבר כט: א

וּבַחֹ֨דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜י בְּאֶחָ֣ד לַחֹ֗דֶשׁ מִקְרָא קֹ֨דֶשׁ֙ יִֽהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֔ם כָּל מְלֶ֥אכֶת עֲבֹדָ֖ה לֹ֣א תַֽעֲשׂ֑וּ י֥וֹם תְּרוּעָ֖ה יִֽהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶֽם:

And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of Teruah for you (Bamidbar 29:1).

There is a debate about what the actual sound of the Teruah is. Is it the yelping sound היללה of nine beats that we call a Teruah? Is it a Shevarim of three beats, or is it a combination of the two sounds together?

We do know that the shofar blast is supposed to be a “ya-bava” cry that person makes when he cries and yelps. However, is this crying sound to resemble the sound of a person who groans from the heart in the manner of an ill person, who makes brief sounds, one after the other? This sound is called groaning and it is usual for a crying person to make such sounds when he begins to cry. We call this a “Shevarim”, which is three quick blasts in succession.

Or does the shofar sound resemble a person who yelps and laments, and make brief sounds which rapidly follow one another? We call this a “Teruah”, which is a series of nine quick blasts in succession.

Or is the shofar sound a combination of both of these sounds together? (OC 590:2, MB 590:5).

Our practice is to blow a “Tekia” as one blowing sound. The “Shevarim” is blown as three broken sounds, and the “Teruah” as nine sounds.

We start conditioning ourselves to hear these sounds starting with second day Rosh Chodesh Elul. What are we to have in mind as we stand quietly at attention, listening intently to these shofar blasts?


A Praise said By King Dovid

During the month of Elul, after the morning Shachris prayer, we blow the shofar and then mediate on the fourteen pesukim of Tehilim #27, “לדוד ה’ אורי “. We beseech Hashem for one special request which is really three things: . “אחת שאלתי מאת ה’ אותו אבקש”We ask Hashem for אחת which stands for: ארץ ישראל, חיי עולם הבא, תורה , Israel, life in the World to Come, and Torah. Living in Israel enables a Jew to merit Olam Habah, and ultimately acquire the Torah; one leads to the other.

We also ask to be in ” בבית ה” the House of G-d which is literally the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalayim or Eretz Yisrael. We also ask to live in “בארץ חיים”, The Land of the living, which is another name for Eretz Yisrael.

The Torah states that the sound of the Teruah, reminds us to proclaim liberty throughout the Land of Israel. Liberty is the freedom to serve G-d in the best way possible. This can only be accomplished in the land of Israel which represents the Kinship ספירה מלכות of Hashem and in that location a Jew can build a real spiritual relationship דביקות with G-d.

During this Elul season, Eretz Yisrael and the plan to build the Beis HaMikdash is on our minds; because this is how to we get close to G-d. On Rosh Hashanah we choose to stay in Israel (not go to Umman or Chutz LaAretz) if we are really interested in getting close to G-d דביקות.

Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook

Rav Kook in his 1933 Rosh Hashanah drasha in the Churva Shul in Yerushalayim, also taught us what to have in mind when hearing the shofar blasts. Just as there are three types of shofar sounds, there are also three types of shofar horns.

This message, at the time, was aimed at the Jews in Europe who refused to leave despite the rising power of Hitler (may him memory be erased) and the Nazi party. Rav Kook was pleading with the Jews of Europe to leave before it was too late. Many Jews in Europe where lied to by their Rabbis and were told that it was a sin to make Aliyah to Israel. In reality, most Jews just did not care that much about settling in Eretz Yisrael.

Today in 2020, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5781, this message is just as relevant, if not even more relevant to the Jews of the USA ראש השנה התשפ”א. We are seeing the rise of BLM, Antifa, anti-Semitism, the anti-Semitic Democratic Party, defunding the police, rising murder and crime rates, and major unemployment. There is a real possibility of a USA Civil War after the November 2020 Presidential elections. It is not going to get better for the Jews; history has proven this fact. Nonetheless, there are many who are naïve and believe that anti-Jewish violence can never happen again.

“Please, Get out, of Chutz LaAretz!”

“Do Teshuva!”

“Return home”

This is the screaming sound of the shofar blasts.

The Navi tells us that when Moshiach arrives in the near future, we will blow the Great Shofar שופר גדול. We state this in our prayers three times daily in the Shemona Esrei, תקע בשופר גדול לחרותינו .

ישעיה כז:יג

וְהָיָ֣ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִתָּקַע֘ בְּשׁוֹפָ֣ר גָּדוֹל֒ וּבָ֗אוּ הָאֹֽבְדִים֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אַשּׁ֔וּר וְהַנִּדָּחִ֖ים בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וְהִשְׁתַּֽחֲו֧וּ לַה’ בְּהַ֥ר הַקֹּ֖דֶשׁ בִּירֽוּשָׁלִָֽם:

And it shall come to pass on that day, that a great shofar shall be sounded, and those lost in the land of Assyria and those exiled in the land of Egypt shall come and they shall prostrate themselves before Hashem on the holy mount in Yerushalayim (Yeshayahu 27:13).

What is the significance of a big (great) shofar vs. a medium or small size shofar?

  1. In the Shulchan Aruch, (Ohr Chaim 586:1) we learn that the most desirable shofar to blow, for the mitzvah of shofar, is bent and is from a ram. The bend demonstrates the need for every Jew to bend his heart to G-d (Mishna Berura 586:3). Make G-d’s will your will (Mishna Avos 2:4). The ram reminds us of the dedication of Yitzchak (Akeidas Yitzchak) to G-d on the Har Habayis in Yerushalayim, where his risked his life to serve G-d.
  2. Once it is after the event בדיעבד , all shofaros are valid; whether they are straight or bent.
  3. A shofar from a non-kosher animal or from an idol of a non-Jew, should not be used initially, for it is invalid פסול. However, if one did blow this type of shofar, he will have fulfilled his obligation יצא ידי חובתו. This only applies if he did not have in mind to acquire the shofar. The Mishna Berura (note 14) explains, that the mitzvah of blowing the shofar is not classified as a “bodily benefit” הנאת הגוף. Rather, the mitzvah is performed because G-d decreed itגזירת המלך . If one does not have another shofar to use, he may blowמותר לתקוע with such a shofar initially, in order not to nullify such an important mitzvah. However, no blessing ברכה is allowed on this type of shofar.

These Halachik categories of Rosh Hashanah shofaros correspond to the three types if redemption גאולה or Aliyah one can experience.

What is the shofar of redemption?

  1. The Shofar of redemption is the shofar of Moshiach. This is an awakening and an impulse that causes the revival and the redemption of the Jewish people. This awakening is the Tekia shofar blast (one long sound) that gathers those who are lost and cast aside והנידחים אובדים and brings them to Yerushalayim Israel. The sound of our Beloved is knocking on the door קול דודי דופק (Shir HaShirim 5:2). G-d, the Shechina will not come until we open the door for Him. He wants all of us Jews to be in Eretz Yisrael; then the Shechina can be revealed to all. Reish Lakish said “My G-d, I hate you Babylonians [Jews]”. Because the Jews and great Rabbis refused to make Aliyah. This prevented G-d’s Shechina from returning home to Eretz Yisrael (Talmud Bavli, Yoma 9b).

At various times in history there was an awakening and strong holy faith אמונה in G-d and the Torah, this enabled a desire to fulfill G-d’s Will, which enables Am Yisrael’s complete redemption. This is the great shofar! A nation’s desire to be redeemed and to carry out its mission, cannot be achieved when the Jews are in Chutz LaAretz and are oppressed. This shofar represents the Torah observant Jew who makes Aliyah in order to serve G-d better, regardless of the financial and social challenges. This is the fulfillment of what we say in the “Shema Yisrael” prayer twice daily: to serve G-d with our hearts and soul, בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך.

2. At times this desire deteriorates; there is not much enthusiasm for such Holy religious ideals. Nonetheless, there is a human nature and natural desire to become a sovereign in one’s own land. To live a free life, “like all the other nations”. This is the ordinary medium shofar which is not bent to G-ds will. This can be easily found. This too is a kosher shofar, even though the first type is preferable, after the fact בדיכבד, all shofaros are kosher. This is the Zionistic non-observant cheyloni Jew, who eagerly builds this country physically, economically, and even puts his life on the line to fight our wars and battles defending the state of Israel. However, this type of Jew has no religious rules. Even though his is secular חילוני , he is still considered a righteous Tzadik. All Jews in Eretz Yisrael are considered Tzadikim וכל הדר בארץ ישראל נקרא צדיק(Chesed LeAvraham, The Third Spring). This shofar parallels the three sounds of the “shevarim”, the cry of a sick person.

3. There is a 3rd category of the shofar of Moshiach, and it also corresponds to the shofar of Rosh Hashanah. It is a small, invalid פסול shofar. It is only used under duress, where there is no kosher shofar to be found. If sacred enthusiasm with the holy desire for redemption גאולה has expired, if normal nationalistic Zionistic feelings do not exist; then it is impossible to blow a kosher shofar for our redemption גאולה! Therefore, our enemies (anti-Semites, Antifa, BLM etc.) they come and blow the shofar of our redemption in our ears.

They say “kill the Jews”, “free free Palestine from the river to the sea”, “dual loyalty”, “build a Palestinian State”, “Two State Solution”, “It’s about the Benjamin’s”. Our enemies have hateful demonstrations, rallies, and protests. We are not to get upset and fight the inevitable, but rather listen to the sounds and then do “Teshuva”, return to G-d; return home.

They shout and make noise in our ears like a Teruah, nine sounds (BLM BLM BLM…). They force us to hear the shofar. They shout and make noise in our ears, denying us any rest in Chutz LaAretz. They remind us to return home, תשובה. The shofar of a non-kosher Treif animal now becomes the shofar of Moshiach. Amalek, Hitler, PA, Hamas, Hezbollah, Antifa, BLM, BDS, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Linda Sarsour, Democratic Party, they all awaken us to redemption.

Warning !

He who did not listen to the sound of the first shofar, and he who did not want to listen to the sound of the second shofar either, because his ears were closed up, will listen to the sound of the impure invalid shofar. He will listen against his will, as the Jews did in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Egypt, Poland , Germany, Iraq, Syria, and now the USA. Nonetheless, even this type of Jew fulfills his obligation.

This type of Aliyah or return תשובה results from running away from anti-Semitism. Even this type of nationalism Aliyah, contains a form of redemption גאולה. However, one does not recite a blessing over this kind of shofar, as the Mishna says (Berachos 6:3) “Rav Yehuda says, over anything which is cursed they do not bless at all.”

Living in Chutz LaAretz is a punishment, a curse, not a blessing. All the blessings promised to the Jewish people in the Torah and the Shema Yisrael prayer, are only fulfilled in Eretz Yisrael,        “למען ירבו ימיכם וימי בניכם, על האדמה, אשר נשבע ה’ לאבתיכם לתת להם..”.

משנה ברכות ו: ג

…רבי יהודה אומר, כל שהוא מין קללה אין מברכין עליו.

We pray that G-d does not force us to listen to the invalid and impure shofar, as we did during the Holocaust. We also do not desire for the ordinary secular shofar. We pray to hear the sound the “Great Shofar”, and for our freedom to serve G-d in Eretz Yisrael ”לחירותינו . “תקע בשופר גדול This is a shofar that comes from the very depths of the holiness of the Jewish soul. When we hear the sound of the Great Shofar blowing, then final redemption will be complete.

The shofar is telling all Jews around the world, “come home and serve G-d in his palace”. The king is in the field during the month of Elul. Come a make a Kidush Hashem and allow the Shechina to reveal itself. Do not squander this opportunity as was done by the great people and rabbis of Bavel who refused to returned and build the Second Beis HaMikdash with Ezra HaNavi. Be on the right side of history, and listen to the shofar sounds and come home upright קוממימות לארצינו .

תקיע – Make Aliyah !

שברים — Make Aliyah !!!

תרועה ——— Make Aliyah !!!!!!!!!

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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