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Shabbat Shuvah, Parshat Ha'azinu:
Deuteronomy 32:1-52; Hosea 14:2-10,
Michah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27.
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primal shofar sounds provides a pow-
erful message: God is King not only
ccording to its biblical
of Israel, but also of the entire world
description, Rosh Hashanah — and this causes me to shout exul-
is "... the day of the sound- tantly with the knowledge that there
ing of the shofar" (Numbers
is an architect to creation,
that life is not "... a tale
However, the shofar is not
told by an idiot, filled with
exclusive to Rosh Hashanah
sound and fury, signifying
because Yom Kippur, the
Day of Atonement and
But if God is truly King,
Forgiveness, also includes
then He rightfully holds us
shofar blasts, which follow
mortals accountable. Hence,
the poignant Neilah (dos-
we express sighs and sobs
ing) prayer, dramatically
at our individual failings.
announcing the conclusion
Nevertheless, we conclude
of the fast.
with an exultant shout, since
Specia I to the
What is the biblical basis
repentance holds out the
Jewis h News
— if any — for the shofar
possibility of forgiveness,
sound on Yom Kippur and
reconstruction and repair.
how does it differ from the shofar
sounds on Rosh Hashanah?
On Yom Kippur
Let us first explore the significance
Now we can begin to see the differ-
of the Rosh Hashanah shofar. The sages ence between Rosh Hashanah and
of the Talmud teach that the biblical
... day of the sounding of the shofar"
The shofar blast on Yom Kippur is
refers to the straight (tekiyah), broken
derived from the straight and exultant
(shevarim, teruah) and straight ram's
tekiyah of Yom Kippur on the Jubilee
horn blasts linked to the Musaf Amidah year, the majestic declaration of "free-
(the additional standing prayer).
dom throughout the land;' the glori-
Indeed, the initial custom was to
ous announcement of redemption.
sound the shofar even during the silent
This is proper for Yom Kippur, the
Amidah — the common practice in
day when God promises — and guar-
most Sephardic and chasidic syna-
antees — forgiveness and purification
gogues, but considered too confusing
after five prayers in which we affirm
for most Ashkenazic synagogues.
(and request) that our Temple be a
Logic would dictate that if the shofar house of prayer for all nations.
blasts are not considered an "interrup-
And even though the Yom Kippur
tion" of the Amidah, they must be seen
blast nowadays is only a rabbinical
as an integral part of the prayer.
reminder of the Jubilee, every tradi-
Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, based
tional Jew awaits the final shofar blast
upon the rulings of Maimonides and
by God with its inherent vision of uni-
the explication of Rav Haim Brisker,
versal Divine revelation — when "He
explains the true significance of the
will enable us to hear again before the
shofar sounds as prayer by means of
eyes of all living beings" the redemp-
tive shofar call of God to the entire
We pray with words — the ver-
world in the days of the Messiah. ❑
bal formulations of God's kingship
(Malkhuyot), God's remembrances
Shlomo Riskin is chancellor of Ohr Torah
(Zikhronot) and God's rams' horn
Stone and chief rabbi of Efrat, Israel.
blasts (Shofarot). And we pray with
sounds — the exultant, victorious
tekiyah shout, the sighing and sob-
What significance does the
bing shevarim-teruah cries and the
shofar blast have for you, both
concluding exultant, victorious tekiyah
on Rosh Hashanah and Yom
once again for added, final emphasis.
Kippur? Will you think of it
The experience of the crafted verbal
formulation interconnected with the