The Shofar is blown on the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah in three different ways; a long, straight blast known as Tekiah; three, medium wailing sounds known as Shevarim and nine, quick blasts known as Teruah. Each of these three sounds relate to different themes of Rosh Hashanah.
Rosh Hashanah is the day on which the Jewish people gain a renewed appreciation of who G-d is as the creator of the universe who continues to create every single moment of every single day, the sustainer of every single object and being in the universe the supervisor of every occurrence, no matter how seemingly trivial that takes place.
Unfortunately, due to the many faults of mankind, or picturing of a king is not always the most complimentary. This is opposed to Judaism which views the king as being, above all, a servant of the people. He is concerned, first and foremost, with the happiness of his people. Everything he decrees is for the good of the people.
On Rosh Hashanah, G-d is coronated once again as the king of the world and the long blast of Tekiah symbolizes the sound of the coronation. We set our priorities straight again and proclaim to ourselves and to the entire world that G-d is the King and runs the world on the most personal and general level.
Rosh Hashanah is a time of serious soul-searching for Jewish people as they reflect on the past year’s deeds as they stand before G-d who judges each and every one of them and account of their actions decides on how their coming year will be. According to Jewish mysticism the Shevarim (which are three medium, wailing blasts) symbolize the wailing of the Jewish heart which desperately wants to reconnect, grow and achieve.
The Shevarim remind the people that there is no such thing as a hopeless situation in Judaism- it does not matter how far-gone you are, G-d is waiting with His outstretched arms, waiting for you to come back. All one needs to do in order to start his journey back to G-d is to cry out from the depths of his heart to G-d and to ask Him for the ability to succeed. The Shevarim is our cry from the depths of our heart. We stand before G-d without any barriers and let Him know that we can let go of our past.
The nine quick blasts of the Teruah are reminiscent of an alarm clock which serves to wake us from our spiritual slumber and to take a serious accounting of our actions. The sharp sounds cause us to reflect on where we are in life and where we want to be. Those who keep in touch with themselves throughout the year will find the wake-up call of the Teruah all that less jarring on Rosh Hashanah…
Uriel partly owns Ajudaica.com. An online store where you can shop for Shofars.
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