Kenneth Cohen

The Trumpets

The commandment to make two silver חצוצרות, trumpets, seemed to have a double purpose. One applied to the time of the desert, and the other, to the future.

In the desert, the trumpets were used to give instructions regarding various needs. Depending on the sounds made by the trumpet, everyone knew who exactly was being summoned. There could have been a call for the entire nation to meet outside the Tent of Meeting. It may have been a call for the heads of tribes to appear. And the trumpets were sounded when it was time for the nation to travel.

The trumpets of the future is implied by the words, וכי תבואו מלחמה בארצכם, “When a war will come to you in your land.” The further instructions simply say that the trumpets should be sounded when there is a war in your land. The indication is that this future war will be fought by Hashem, Himself.

The sound of these חצוצרות will cause Hashem to act, by protecting us from our enemies. The Malbim wrote that the Torah was referring to the war of Gog and Magog, in the end of days. We, in Israel, will sit back and watch how our enemies will be defeated. The problematic words that are included, describe a צר הצורר אתכם, “An enemy that is oppressing us.” The Rambam describes this צר, as one wishes to drive us out of the land.

The Rambam goes on to explain that there are types of מלחמת מצוה, obligatory wars. One is against עמלק, one is against the Seven Nations. And the third refers to הצר הצורר אתכם. The current situation, clearly can be defined as a צר הצורר אתכם.

The Keli Yakar wrote that the word, “צר” refers to an עת צרה, a time of trouble. He recommended that the blowing of the trumpets at this time, would bring great salvation. There is also a hint to the fact that the צרה refers to Satan. We needed the חצוצרות to convince to confuse Satan, in order that he would have no power over the Jewish people.

The חצוצרות were not simply “trumpets,” as they meant more to the Jewish people than that. They were instruments that aroused salvation. These חצוצרות were blown at the Kotel during numerous mass prayers this year. The effectiveness of the trumpets is yet to be seen, but we believe that all of our prayers will be answered as we recognize the true good that awaits us as exemplified by the trumpets.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at