The Message of the Shofar
For a large portion of the Jewish world, Rosh Hashanah involves praying in synagogue, feeling solemn, and (maybe) having thoughts about apples and honey. However, in reality, if you tap into the spiritual potential of Rosh Hashanah, it can be a day that gives you a type of clarity unrivaled by anything else you have ever experienced. With the right things in mind, Rosh Hashanah can be a day that sets you up for a year of inspiration, motivation, and genuine happiness.
The shofar gives us a clear vision of what our thought process should be throughout the day. It is a call to attention that wakes us and shakes us up to the truth: G-d runs the world and is King over everything in it. The Rambam explains that we first blow a long unbroken blast called a tekiah to remind ourselves of the continuity and unity in the physical world that we are seeking to find in what appears to be a hectic and unconnected place.
Afterward, we blow a broken blast called a teruah to reveal how fragmented, fractured, and distorted our world views (and lives) tend to be. The teruah symbolizes the fissures lying deep within ourselves. It also represents our inability to connect the dots and recognize that there is purpose and order in the world.
Lastly, we blow a tekiah again. This time, it is not to remind ourselves of the unity, continuity, and planning behind everything in G-d’s world. Instead, now that we have been woken up to the way the world really is (a unity of working parts interacting with one another due to planning and purpose) and have been reminded of the way we previously viewed it (broken and disconnected from a spiritual source), we take this newfound truth and express it back out again in the most profound sound you might ever hear.
In a nutshell, the shofar gives us the real mindset of Rosh Hashanah: It reminds us that G-d is out there rooting for us, guiding us, running the show, and helping us see the unity and beauty in everything.
Wishing everyone a ketiva v’chatima tova.