Jewish Calendar - Tishrei / Rosh Hashanah
|In the seventh month, on the first
day of the month, you shall observe a sacred occasion: you shall not work
at your occupations. You shall observe it as a day when the horn is sounded.
There are ten
reasons why the Creator, blessed be He, commanded us to sound the shofar
on Rosh Hashanah:
Because this day is the beginning of creation on which the Holy One, blessed
be He, created the world and reigned over it. Just as is with kings
at the start of their reign trumpets and horns are blown in their
presence to make it known and to let it be heard in every place
thus it is when we designated the Creator as King on this day. As David
said: "With trumpets and sounds of the horn, shout he before the
King the Lord.
||Because the day of New Year is the first of the ten days
of repentance, the shofar is sounded on it to announce to us as one
warns and says: "Whoever wants to repent let him repent; and
if he does not, let him reproach himself." Thus do the kings: first
they warn the people of their decree; then, if one violates a decree after
the warning, his excuse is not accepted.
||To remind us of Mount Sinai, as it is said: "The blare
of the horn grew louder and louder",
and that we should accept for ourselves the covenant that our ancestors
accepted for themselves, as they said "we will do and we will obey."
||To remind us of the words of the prophets that were compared
to the sound of the shofar, as it is said: "Then whosoever hears
the sound of the horn, and takes not warning, if the sword come and take
him away, his blood shall be upon his own head... whereas if he had taken
warning, he would have delivered his soul."
||To remind us of the destruction of the Temple and the sound
of the battle-cries of the enemies, as it is said: "Because you have
heard, O my soul, the sound of the horn, the alarm of war."
When we hear the sound of the shofar, we will ask God to rebuild
||To remind us of the binding of Isaac who offered his life
to Heaven. We also should offer our lives for the sanctification of His
name, and thus we will be remembered for good.
||When we will hear the blowing of the shofar, we will
be fearful and we will tremble, and we will humble ourselves before the
Creator, for that is the nature of the shofar it causes fear
and trebling, as it is written: "Shall the horn be blown in a city
and the people not tremble?"
||To recall the day of the great judgment and to be fearful
of it, as it is said: "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near
and hastens greatly...a day of the horn and alarm."
||To remind us of the ingathering of the scattered ones of
Israel, that we ardently desire, as it is said: "And it shall come
to pass in that day, that a great horn shall be blown; and they shall come
who were lost in the land of Assyria...and they shall worship the Lord in
the holy mountain at Jerusalem."
||To remind us of the resurrection of the dead and the belief
in it, as it is said: "All ye inhabitants of the dead and the belief
in it, as it is said: "All ye inhabitants of the world, and ye dwellers
on the earth, when an ensign is lifted up on the mountains, see ye; and
when the horn is blown, hear ye."
[*] Scholar and ga'on
(head of an academy) in Babylonia, Saadiah Gaon (882-942) is best known
for his prayer book, Siddur Rav Saadiyah Ga'on, which combines
liturgical texts with halakhic (religio-legal) instructions, for
his Judeo-Arabic translation of the Torah and several other biblical books,
and for his commentaries on several biblical books. He was also one of
the earliest poets to reside in Babylonia, and the author of the first
great medieval Jewish philosophical classic, Emunot ve'Deot (Book
of Beliefs and Opinions).
 Exodus 19:19 [Back]
Exodus 24:7 [Back]
 Ezekiel 33:4-5 [Back]
 Amos 3:6 [Back]
Zephaniah 1:14-16 [Back]
 Isaiah 27:13 [Back]
 Isaiah 18:3 [Back]
Sefer Avudarham (Amsterdam, 1726). From: The Rosh Hashanah Anthology,
JPS 1993. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.
Shofarblower by Kadya Molodowsky
The Shofar in Art, Ida Huberman