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Monday
Aug192013

THE REFURBISHED SHOFAR OF MOSHIACH

When we sound the Shofar on Rosh HaShana, we remind G-d about Avrohom’s self-sacrifice, and pray that as a result He will administer His judgment upon us with kindness. The Shofar that Avrohom blew was set aside; it is the horn from which the Shofar of Moshiach is to be made. 

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

We now find ourselves in the special month of Elul, preparing ourselves for Rosh HaShana 5774 and the new year. Every day in Elul we blow the Shofar in preparation for and in anticipation of the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh HaShana.

The main reason that we blow the Shofar is that Hashem commanded us to do this, as it says (BaMidbar 29:1): “And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you.”

The Rambam (Hilchos T’shuva 3:4) adds: “Even though the sounding of the shofar on Rosh HaShana is a decree, it contains an allusion. It is as if [the shofar’s call] is saying: Wake up you sleepy ones from your sleep and you who slumber, arise. Inspect your deeds, repent, remember your Creator. Those who forget the truth in the vanities of time and throughout the entire year, devote their energies to vanity and emptiness which will not benefit or save: Look to your souls. Improve your ways and your deeds and let every one of you abandon his evil path and thoughts.”

Chassidus quotes the following famous Gemara (Rosh HaShana 16a) many times: “Also recite before Me on Rosh HaShana [texts making mention of] kingship, remembrance, and the shofar – kingship, so that you may proclaim Me king over you; remembrance, so that your remembrance may rise favorably before Me; and through what? Through the shofar!”

The Rebbe adds (Rosh HaShana 5752): “The acceptance of Hashem as our king is connected with accepting the kingship of Melech HaMoshiach.”

Regarding the times of Moshiach, the Navi Yeshaya (27:13) tells us: “And it shall come to pass on that day that a great shofar shall be sounded, and those lost in the land of Assyria and those exiled in the land of Egypt shall come and they shall prostrate themselves before the L-rd on the holy mount in Jerusalem.”

In a Maamer (Meluket 6) the Rebbe explains that this “sound of the great Shofar” is an inner awakening of T’shuva within every Jew. The Rebbe said that in our times we see the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy through the Baal T’shuva movement that we see unfolding worldwide.

In the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni Parshas VaYeira remez 101) the history of this special Shofar of Moshiach is retold: The first recorded Shofar is the one that our forefather Avraham sounded, as he offered the ram in the place of Isaac, his son (Genesis xxii: 13). The left horn was used as the Shofar that G-d sounded at Mount Sinai when He gave us the Torah. When we sound the Shofar on Rosh HaShana, we remind G-d about Avrohom’s self-sacrifice, and pray that as a result He will administer His judgment upon us with kindness. The Shofar that Avrohom blew was set aside; it is the horn from which the Shofar of Moshiach is to be made.

There are two famous Halachic questions on this Midrash:

1) We all know that Yitzchak was supposed to be a Korban Ola, a complete sacrifice to Hashem, which means that the ram that was used in his place had also the halachic status of Ola. If so, weren’t the horns burned on the altar as well?

2) The Halacha is that one may not derive benefit from a Korban Ola. If so, how can we use the horns of the animal as a Shofar to blow one on Har Sinai and one in the times of Moshiach?

Many commentaries offer explanations to answer these questions. The following are two accepted answers:

1) The horns of the ram never were burned on the altar, because they were separated from the ram before the ram was sacrificed. This is seemingly evident in the verse (VaYeira 22:13): “And Avraham lifted up his eyes, and he saw, and lo! there was a ram, [and] after [that] it was caught in a tree by its horns. And Avrohom went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.” It seems that he took the ram without the horns as they got stuck in the tree (Seifer Gan RaVeh).

2) It is true that Avrohom sacrificed and burned the horns as well. After the burning, Hashem took the ashes and “refurbished” the Shofaros from it. (Ramban, and See Yemos HaMoshiach B’Halacha Vol. 1 pg. 37).

May we merit to witness the fulfillment of our daily prayer “Sound the great shofar for our freedom; raise a banner to gather our exiles, and bring us together from the four corners of the earth into our land. Blessed are You L-rd, who gathers the dispersed of His people Israel” now, amen!

Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.

 

 

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