31 Aug NITZAVIM
Segulos of Tekiyas Shofar
The Shaar HaMelech writes that one should answer amen with kavanah to the brachah, Lishmoa kol shofar, because it’s written in sefarim that this particular amen is mesugal for parnassah. The Gemara says, “Blowing shofar and taking out bread (that’s baked on the oven wall) is a special talent, but they aren’t among the thirty-nine malachos of Shabbos” (Shabbos 117). The Tiferes Shlomo teaches that since the Gemara discusses shofar together with “rediyat hapat” it is a hint that shofar is mesugal for parnassah. The Baal HaTanya zy’a taught that the letters after akara are shofar. This implies that shofar is mesugal for the barren to bear children. As the Gemara says, “On Rosh Hashanah, Sarah, Rachel, and Chanah were remembered,” and were able to bear children. The Rambam writes, (Teshuvah 3:4) writes, “Although blowing shofar on Rosh Hashanah is a gezeiras hakasuv (a Torah decree) it is hinting to something. The shofar is saying, wake up, from your sleep,… Examine your deeds and repent. Remember your Creator, those who forget the truth…” This is the most renowned segulah of the shofar; it rouses people to do teshuvah. The Baal HaTanya zy’a teaches: Every year, on Rosh Hashanah, when Yidden blow the shofar, they become like a new person. By Creation, it says, “Hashem blew a breath of life into Adam’s nose” (Bereishis 2). This happens annually when we blow the shofar. The entire world becomes new on Rosh Hashanah. In the tefillah we say, today the world is created. (It doesn’t say today the world was created, rather it is created anew each year, on Rosh Hashanah.) Every Rosh Hashanah, we are created anew and the world is new. Therefore, Rosh Hashanah is an ideal time to change one’s behaviors and ways, and to act like an entirely new person. Someone told me the following: “One Rosh Hashanah I was hospitalized and someone was blowing the shofar for us. There was a non-religious yid in the room who was intrigued by the shofar, and asked us a lot of questions, because he wanted to understand what it was all about. Then he told us his story: “I served in the Israeli Navy,” he said, “in a submarine. Under the water, the means of communication is with the Morse code. (Morse code is a signal system comprised of sounds. Two sharp beeps represents one letter, two long beeps is another letter. One long beep and one short one is a third letter, and so on.) I was an expert in the Morse code. I could send and decipher messages very quickly. “A couple of years after serving in the navy (and after spending a long time in India) I saw an advertisement: The army was looking for a Morse code expert to be in charge of several submarines. To apply for the job, we had to be at a certain office between 10:00 and 12:00 in the morning. I arrived at 11:50. I saw a packed room with applicants, but no one was being called inside. There was music was playing in the background and I sat down for a few moments, and listened. Then I got up, brazenly opened the door to the office and said, ‘I came for the interview.” “There are many people waiting in line ahead of you,” the secretary said. “And you just came. Wait your turn.” “But I didn’t listen to her. I walked into the room and talked with the person who was in charge. After speaking for a few moments, I was hired for the job.” The interviewer went out to the waiting room and told everyone that they can go home. “Thank you all for coming and I’m sorry about the delay. We’ve already chosen someone. You can all go home.” “It isn’t fair. This man came in last. Why did you interview him before us?” “Did you pay attention to the music that’s playing? Listen carefully. Don’t you get it? It is in Morse code and it’s saying, ‘If you’ve come for the interview, just open the door and come inside.’ This man heard the message. You didn’t hear, so you’re obviously not fluent enough in the language.” That’s how the irreligious man in the hospital understood the meaning of shofar (and we’re sharing it here because his interpretation is beautiful and true). The shofar is speaking a language. It’s telling us, “Just open the door and come inside. Change your ways and improve your connection with Hashem.” We only need to understand the language of the shofar and understand what it’s telling us. One person waiting in the waiting room said, “I actually heard the Morse code in the music, but I decided not to open the door because I saw that no one else was.” “That’s not a valid excuse,” the interviewer told him. “If you heard the message, you should have come in. Why do you care what other people are doing?” Similarly, concerning the shofar, it will be inexcusable to say, “I heard the shofar’s message, I understood that it was calling me to do teshuvah, but I decided not to since I don’t see other people doing teshuvah.” That’s not a valid excuse. If you understand the shofar’s message, you should open the door and come close to Hashem, regardless of what others are doing.
On these days of teshuvah, Klal Yisrael have a custom to say (more) Tehillim. (There is a segulah to say the entire Tehillim twice on the night of Rosh Hashanah. I know people who’ve done so, and they talk about the yeshuous they had. But this is hard for most people. However, any amount of Tehillim one says on Rosh Hashanah is mesugal for yeshuous.) It is a very good idea to say (extra) Tehillim during the days of Selichos, Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, and on Yom Kippur (and on every day of the year) as well, each person, according to his abilities. The Noam Elimelech reveals one of the wonders of Tehillim, and how it brings yeshuous for people: “Some people ask how tefillah helps. How a tzaddik can pray for an ill person and the sick person becomes better. Hashem doesn’t change, [and if Hashem understood that this person should be ill, how does prayer change the situation?] The answer is that bad never comes from Hashem’s mouth. [Hashem never decrees that pain, illness, or hardships should befall people.] What happens is that man is connected to all worlds. When he sins, he becomes detached from his connection above, he falls, and then he becomes ill, rachmana litzlan. When the tzaddik davens, he reconnects the person to his source, to where he was before…and automatically, he becomes healed. [However] sometimes, the tzaddik’s tefillah doesn’t help, chalilah, because there is a kitrug. [There are adversary angels in heaven who prevent the person from becoming reconnected to his source, due to his sins, and then, even the tzaddik’s tefillos can’t bring him back to his original place.] When this occurs, he needs to become attached to the Olam Hagadol Hanikra Tehillah, to the great world which is called Tehillah… Because this world is solely a great light [of holiness and compassion] and the kitrug [adversary angels] aren’t able to prevent him. In that world, there is solely compassion, rachamim gomrim, and everything is fixed. This is the reason Dovid HaMelech’s songs are called Tehillim, because with them, one can accomplish everything [because he becomes attached to the world of compassion, to the world called Tehillah]. There is no Satan there and there are no problems (ein satan v’ein pega ra).” These amazing words give us a glimpse at the wonders and powers of Tehillim. When we say Tehillim, we are being connected to the world where there is only compassion, where none of our bad deeds are mentioned. Through saying Tehillim, we can attain all our needs. Therefore, it is definitely worthwhile to say (as much as possible) Tehillim during these holy days.