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    Praying for the Global Shofar Blast

    In the Shemone Esrei, we pray to Hashem, “Toka b’shofar godol

    lecheiruseinu, Blow the great and mighty shofar to herald our

    emancipation.” We plead with Hashem to utilize this awesome

    shofar that will be heard around the world. It is called the ‘Shofar

    of Cheirus’ and the Maharsha elaborates that the shofar often

    brings the message of freedom. Such is the case during the Jewish

    Yovel (Jubilee Year) when the shofar is blown to siginify the

    emancipation of Jewish slaves. So too, we find that the shofar is

    a sign of freedom from the grips of the evil inclination on Rosh


    The Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer relates a fascinating origin of this futuristic

    shofar. He tells that it comes from the famous ram of

    Yitzchok, the ram which Avrohom sacrificed instead of Yitzchok

    at the Akeida. This ram had two horns. From the left one,

    Hashem fashioned the shofar of Har Sinai and he blew it upon

    giving the Torah. Its sound was heard around the world. From

    the right horn, the larger of the two, Hashem fashioned the shofar

    of Moshiach and He will hopefully blow it speedily in our days.

    While even on the surface this is quite interesting, let’s scrape

    below the surface and unearth a profound lesson from this ancient


    What does the ram of Yitzchok symbolize? I believe it is the

    quintessential example of a Jew passing one of G-d’s tests. In this

    case, of course, it was the ultimate test given to Avrohom in being

    asked to sacrifice his son. This was a multi-faceted nisoyon

    which probed Avrohom’s fear of G-d to the hilt. Hashem was

    asking him to sacrifice the child for whom he waited a lifetime.

    He asked him to risk his wife of almost a century, having the fore

    knowledge that she might not survive the shock of Yitzchok’s demise.

    Having campaigned all his life against the idea of human

    sacrifice, he was being asked to appear as the world’s greatest hypocrite.

    He was being asked to voluntarily go against the credo of

    kindness and compassion which he proclaimed throughout the

    land his entire life. Finally, he was being asked to sacrifice the future

    of Klal Yisroel which was invested in his dear son Yitzchok.

    As history tells us, Avrohom passed the test with flying colors.

    The culmination of his offering was the replacement ram, which

    he slaughtered instead. Thus, this ram represents a shining example

    of one who passed the greatest challenge of his life. It is

    therefore very appropriate that from this ram’s horn Hashem

    fashioned the shofar of Har Sinai for it was at Har Sinai that the

    Jews were given all the regulations that would test them repeatedly

    throughout time. Whether the test of Shabbos, kashrus,

    shatnez, or scores of other daily challenges – all were given to us

    at Har Sinai. Perhaps, we might suggest, this is why the Hebrew

    letters of the word Sinai also spell the word

    ‘nisi’ which means ‘my tests,’ since all of ‘my

    tests’ were first given at Har Sinai.

    Then Hashem took the right horn of this

    historic ram and fashioned the shofar of

    Moshiach. This was to convey that when

    enough of our Jewish brethren pass the

    tests of the Torah, Hashem will blow this

    mighty shofar and usher in the final redemption.

    This novel explanation fits in neatly into the second stanza of our

    brocha in Shemone Esrei, for after asking Hashem to blow the

    shofar, the blessing continues, “V’sa neis l’kabeitz giluyoseinu.”

    Literally, this is a prayer that Hashem should raise a banner

    which will be recognized by Jews around the globe – summoning

    them to Yerushalayim. Furthermore, the word ‘neis’ means

    a miracle because many miracles will occur in the process of

    gathering Jews from all four corners of the earth. However, now

    with the above explanation in mind, we can suggest a third interpretation.

    We can read ‘V’sa neis,’ to mean ‘raise up all the tests’

    that the Jews have successfully met, and in that merit gather us

    in from exile.

    The brocha continuous, “V’kabtzeinu yachad meheira — Gather

    us together quickly.” Here, we ask Hashem to redeem us sooner

    than we were supposed to be redeemed. Here we are taking a

    page out of the exodus from Egypt, where we are taught that

    Hashem redeemed us 190 years earlier because of the unusually

    harsh treatment we suffered under the hands of the Egyptians.

    So too, we passionately beseech Hashem to bear in mind the cruel

    and unusual punishment of the recent Holocaust era, from the

    cattle cars to the gas chambers, from the human exterminations

    to the crematoria, and in that merit may He redeem us hurriedly

    from our Galus.

    Indeed, in a very famous D’var Torah, the Vilna Gaon says that

    the musical cantillation (notes) on the words, ‘Vayimoreru es

    chayeihem – the Egyptians embittered our lives,” is kadma v’azla

    (the name for a specific Jewish musical note). The literal meaning

    of kadma v’azla is ‘to come early.’ Thus, the GR”A explains,

    because they embittered our lives so severely, the redemption

    came early. The icing on the cake is that, the Gaon points out,

    the gematria of kadma v’azla is exactly 190, the amount of years

    we came out of Mitzrayim earlier than we were supposed to (for

    instead of the 400 years forecast, we left in 210).

    In the merit of our collective prayers for this awesome Shofar

    blast, may we all be zoche to hear it soon in our lifetime.