Ten Reasons to Blow the Shofar

The Torah commands us to hear the sound of the shofar blown on Rosh Hashanah, but what does the blowing of the trumpet symbolize?

A man in a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) blows the shofar. (Image: Adobe Stock)

Portion Summary & Scripture Reading
Rosh Hashanah

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Rosh Hashanah (רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה | Beginning of the Year)
  • Torah: Genesis 21
  • Maftir: Numbers 29:1-6
  • Haftarah: 1 Samuel 1:1 - 2:10
  • Gospel: Matthew 24:29-36; Luke 1:39-55

* References are from the Hebrew Bible. Christian Bibles vary slightly when indicated with *.

Portion Summary

Rosh Hashanah (literally "head of the year"), is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. It is described in the Torah as Yom Teru'ah, a day of sounding [the Shofar].

The festival of Rosh HaShanah arrives on the first day of the seventh month with a “reminder by blowing of trumpets.” In the synagogue, the we mark the occasion with one hundred trumpet blasts on the ram’s horn (shofar).

The Torah commands the Jewish people to blow the shofar on Rosh HaShanah as a memorial, but it does not indicate what the blowing of the shofar memorializes. The sages offered various attempts to explain the festival. They searched through the Scriptures for references to shofars and trumpet blasts and derived a plethora of different remembrances. The early medieval sage Rav Sa’adiah Ga’on codified the various explanations along with traditional themes associated with the festival and produced a list of ten primary remembrances for which the shofar is blown on Rosh HaShanah. Each of these remembrances highlights a unique aspect of the festival.

Each of these remembrances highlights a unique aspect of the festival:

1. The Coronation of the King
2. The Call to Repentance
3. The Giving of the Torah at Sinai
4. Warning of Impending Judgment
5. The Destruction and Future Rebuilding of the Temple
6. The Binding of Isaac
7. Fear of God
8. The Day of Judgment (Yom Kippur)
9. The Ingathering of Israel
10. The Resurrection of the Dead

Even as we wait to hear the trumpet blast of the king, the great shofar of our returning Redeemer, we celebrate the appointed time of the Rosh Hashanah. The annual blast of the shofar during the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows that day when the heavens will be rent by the blast of Messiah's trumpet. For disciples of the Messiah, Rosh Hashanah is a reminder of that appointed time yet to come when the Master "will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other" (Matthew 24:31).

It is a day on which we anticipate the coming judgment, the trumpets of the book of Revelation, and the beginning of the end. It is a glimpse of the future, a shadow cast through time. As such, the Feast of Trumpets is relevant for everyone who believes in Messiah's return. It is an important festival for the disciples of Yeshua.

More from Rosh Hashanah

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Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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