The one who blows the shofar produces the sound from within his or her body. The force of the shofar is breath, in Hebrew, ruah – spirit. In order to create the sound properly one must bring one’s spirit to the world.
The second lesson is how one creates the sound. As Cynthia Ozick observed, the shofar has a broad end and a narrow end. If you begin by blowing in the broad end, you get nothing. But if you blow in the narrow end you get a sound everyone can hear. Judaism may seem like one small tradition in a large world. But Jews who have spoken from our tradition have been heard throughout the ages and throughout the world. By blowing in the narrow end, we offered a universal message.
Finally the mitzvah is not the blowing of the shofar, but hearing it. Each Jew is commanded to hear “kol shofar” — the voice of the shofar. The shofar is a lesson in listening. It rings throughout the ages, from our ancestors to us, from us to one another and to God. May the sounds of the shofar promise a year of healing and hope for Israel and for the world.