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    Though the Mitzvah
    of blowing the shofar
    on Rosh Hashanah is
    rooted in the Torah’s
    commandment, it
    also serves another
    important purpose.
    The shofar functions
    as a compelling wake-up call for Jews during
    this solemn period. Its piercing sound, often
    likened to a cry, is designed to rouse our souls
    to engage in self-examination and repentance.
    It serves as a reminder to evaluate our actions,
    seek forgiveness for our shortcomings, and
    aspire to personal growth in the upcoming
    The Gemara provides an additional insight
    into the significance of shofar blowing. It
    explains that when Hashem hears the sound
    of the shofar, He is reminded of the binding
    of Yitzchak Avinu, where a ram was offered
    in his place as a sacrifice. At that moment,
    Hashem, with His boundless mercy, refrains
    from harsh judgment ( הדין מידת ( and instead
    judges with mercy and compassion )מידת
    . )הרחמים
    For these reasons, the shofar holds such
    profound significance that the Gemara asserts)
    ראש השנה(
    ב,טז that a year without its sounding may

    turn out unfavorably. However, when Rosh
    Hashanah coincides with Shabbat, a dilemma
    arises because our rabbis restricted shofar
    blowing on Shabbat to prevent it from being
    carried into the street, which would violate the
    prohibition against carrying on Shabbat.
    The Sefer Meshech Chochma ) )ד״ה אמור פרשת
    ה תרוע זכרון elucidates that blowing the shofar
    functions as a remedy during the heavenly
    trial. Just as a sick person requires medicine
    for recovery, and even if they can’t take it
    through no fault of their own, they won’t heal,
    similarly, on Rosh Hashanah, if we don’t blow
    the shofar due to circumstances like Shabbat,
    despite it being beyond our control, we might
    miss the beneficial support it offers for a good
    The Meshech Chochma offers a fascinating
    perspective: he says that the decision not
    to blow the shofar on Shabbat is actually a
    profound sacrifice that benefits the nation.
    It symbolizes our dedication to preserving
    the sanctity of Shabbat and preventing
    inadvertent violations. This action sends a
    powerful message to Hashem, demonstrating
    our willingness to endure a challenging
    year to protect Shabbat and uphold His
    commandments. When Hashem perceives
    this commitment, it likely contributes to a
    favorable judgment for the Jewish nation.

    However, the Ben Ish Chai (תלו סימן לשמה תורה (
    raises some perplexing inquiries. He questions
    how Chazal could annul the shofar blowing on
    Shabbat, seemingly contradicting the Torah’s
    commandment, just to prevent any potential
    carrying on Shabbat. After all, doesn’t Jewish
    law generally prioritize the fulfillment of a
    positive Mitzvah over avoiding a negative
    one? In this case, the act of blowing the
    shofar constitutes a positive commandment,
    which should logically take precedence over
    the prohibition against carrying, especially
    when the concern revolves around the mere
    possibility of someone carrying it.
    Furthermore, the Ben Ish Chai questions why
    Chazal chose to nullify this Mitzvah due to
    a doubtful concern of Shabbat violation.
    Doesn’t the principle in Jewish law favor
    certainty over doubts? In other words,
    shouldn’t the observance of a certain Mitzvah
    take precedence over concerns that are based
    on uncertainty or doubt, such as the potential
    violation of Shabbat?
    The Ben Ish Chai then introduces a significant
    principle. He suggests that Chazal provided
    the explanation of the fear of carrying on
    Shabbat as a surface-level justification for not
    blowing the shofar, while a deeper and more
    profound rationale exists. This deeper reason
    has its roots in Kabbalah. According to this

    Kabbalistic perspective, the achievements
    and spiritual elevation that the shofar brings
    about are already accomplished on Shabbat
    through the inherent sanctity of the day itself.
    As such, Shabbat is so spiritually elevated that
    it doesn’t require the shofar to achieve the
    same effects.
    Since this reason is rooted in Kabbalah,
    which may not be comprehensible to many,
    a secondary explanation is offered to provide
    a more accessible rationale for the practice,
    ensuring that people do not perceive Chazal’s
    restriction as arbitrary.
    Let’s reflect on the intriguing insights of the
    Ben Ish Chai. Shabbat achieves what the
    shofar accomplishes on Rosh Hashanah. We
    eagerly anticipate the shofar’s sound, hoping
    to be remembered favorably by Hashem, who
    recalls the sacrifice of Yitzchak. However, we
    experience a parallel opportunity each and
    every Shabbat throughout the year.
    On this Shabbat-Rosh Hashanah, let us
    contemplate the significance of Shabbat and
    carry that message throughout the entire
    year’s Shabbats.