The Sound of the Shofar Helps Elevate Our Prayers

Sponsored by Vicky Wu in Memory of JJ Greenberg z”l on his 11th Yahrzeit. 

Eleven years passed, JJ’s memories continue to be a source of strength and inspiration to our daily Jewish life in Israel and wherever we are.


Every Thursday morning throughout the year we say the following words from Tehilim 81:4-5 “Tiku Bachodesh Shofar, Bakeseh Layom Chagenu Ki Chok L’Yisrael Hu Mishpat L’Elokei Yaakov”, “Blow the Shofar at the moon’s renewal, at the time of the hiding of the moon for our festive day because it is a decree for Israel, a judgment day for the God of Jacob.”

On Rosh HaShana, these verses are recited in the evening before Maariv as well as during the Shofarot section of the Musaf service. We also recite these words at Kiddush each day of Rosh HaShana.

These words teach us that we are required to blow the shofar on Rosh HaShana which is observed at the time of the renewal of the moon, unlike most other holidays which are observed in the middle of the month.

We learn in the Gemara in Rosh HaShana 26a that since blowing the Shofar on Rosh HaShana is for the purpose of effecting a favorable remembrance of Israel before God, it is equivalent to a service performed inside the Kodesh HaKodashim of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy of Holies in the Temple).

According to Ritva, Even though the shofar is not brought into the Kodesh HaKodashim, it is the vehicle through which Israel’s prayers are transported before God.

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik explains that this Gemara teaches us that the shofar transports our ordinary surroundings into the holiest of environments where one can perceive God’s revelation.

Although we don’t have the Beit HaMikdash today, the blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShana gives us the unique opportunity to become closer to God and helps take our prayers to a higher level.

We pray that just as the shofar proclaimed God’s arrival at Mount Sinai so too will it proclaim God’s presence when the Mashiach arrives and then we will celebrate the holidays together in the Third Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim.