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The Shofar Ten - Part One

08/21/2023 12:34:54 PM


Rabbi Rudin


The plaintive cry of the Shofar is a highlight of Rosh HaShana but what exactly does it mean?

Tenth Century whiz-kid Rabbi (he was appointed head of the largest Yeshiva in Babylonia at only 36 years old) Saadia Gaon gives us ten spiritual associations that the Shofar awakens.  Here are the first five- by reading and reflecting, studying and meditating on these images and ideas, the Shofar moments become deeply meaningful. 

  1. The reign of a new monarch was announced with a horn blast proclamation.  Rosh HaShana celebrates the world’s Creation and HaShem’s rulership with a Shofar Blast.  So remember: The world is filled with grandeur, holiness and possibility.


Shofar So Good #1

Adonai Melech- G-d rules! 

  1. Time to Turn- the Shofar proclaims the beginning of the Ten Days of Teshuva, return to G-d and to our true selves.  Offering our sins and imperfections to G-d, we are freed of the burden of guilt and regret and begin the year with a sense of release.

Shofar So Good #2

Teshuva means Returning!

  1. You stood at Sinai! The Shofar’s first appearance in the Torah is at Mount Sinai where the Shofar summoned us to meet with G-d and to receive the Torah.  At that moment, we became the Covenant People- and we renew that moment now!

Shofar So Good #3

Back to Sinai!

  1. Prophetic Profits?  Like the Shofar, the scolding voices of the Prophets of Israel (main Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel )  may have been harsh and demanding, reminding us to stay true to the Covenant, but by heeding their warning we can rise to life’s greatest tests and challenges.

Shofar So Good #4

Prophetic Warnings- stay true to you!

  1. World Repair!  The Shofar reminds us of the trumpets of war and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and our national/spiritual center.  We live in a world of exile and brokenness- and guess who is called to do their part in fixing? 

Shofar So Good #5

Tikkun Olam (world-repair) is our task!

So there you have it- Rabbi Saadia’s first five spiritual insights on the meaning of the Shofar.  When we hear the one hundred calls in a little less than a month, may we feel these moments live in us and summon us to a healthy, prosperous year of blessing, love, labor, praise and fulfillment, amen!


Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784