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One Hundred Sounds

One Hundred Sounds


It has become a widespread custom to sound the shofar one hundred times on Rosh Hashanah - including tekiot, shevarim and teruot. These hundred sounds are considered symbolic of the one hundred and one letters contained in the lament of Sisera's mother as she awaited her son's return from the battlefield as recorded in the Song of Devorah (Judges, 4).

The relationship of the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah and the lament of Sisera's mother bears further explanation. Furthermore, if this is the source of the custom of sounding the shofar more times than required, why do we not sound it one hundred and one times?

The purpose of the sounding of the shofar is to arouse G‑d's compassion for the descendants of Yitzchak who was offered like a ram upon the altar, whereas the lament of Sisera's mother was an expression of grief suffused with animosity and hatred. Waiting for her son to return from the battlefield, she imagined that he was busy slaughtering and taking spoils and it was through thoughts such as these that she sought to console herself. Can there be greater cruelty?

Therefore, we implore: May the one hundred shofar sounds of compassion and mercy nullify every one of those other outcries -except one: the sorrow of a mother over her son. For even the most brutal of mothers is deserving of compassion when she laments her son. Thus, we sound a hundred sounds and not one hundred and one.

Among Sephardic communities, an additional tekiah is sounded before the recital of Alenu at the end of Musaf, for a total of one hundred and one shofar sounds. This corresponds to the numerical value of the letters of the name Michael, Israel's guardian angel who seeks mercy on their behalf.

It is customary to sound a long blast as the concluding sound of the shofar in order to confuse Satan and prevent him from accusing Israel of lacking fear of Divine judgment because they eat a festive meal after the services. When Satan hears that the shofar is sounded more times than the Torah requires, he becomes confused and is apprehensive that the additional sounds might be that of the shofar of Mashiach.

But is it possible that Satan, the fearless accuser of Israel who is capable of setting clever traps for mankind, is so foolish that he is frightened of a sound that even a child knows is not the sound of the shofar of Mashiach?

We learn that when the people of Israel hear the shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah, they are brought to a level wherein they are indeed capable of bringing about the final redemption. When they sound the shofar in fulfillment of the precepts of the day, their closed hearts are opened, they regret their sins, and their thoughts turn to repentance. Satan knows the power of the sounds of the shofar. Though they might originate from man's lips, they can well culminate with the coming of Mashiach ben David.

Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, OBM, was one of Israel's most acclaimed religious authors, whose books on the Jewish way of life and the Chassidic movement have become renowned. Text translated from the Hebrew by Nachman Bulman and Dovid Landseman.
Excerpted from: The Book of Our Heritage. Published and copyright by Feldheim Publications.
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Suzy Sandor Manhattan September 29, 2014

Sounds of mother In addition to being the anguish of Sisera's mother, the Forward said that the sounds of the Shofar could also be that of Sarah the mother of Isaak when either she learns that he is saved or when she learns the he might be sacrificed. In any way why would we hear on Rosh Hashana the lament of any mother in the name of Redemption? Maybe the laments of a mother are the most heartfelt ones? Reply

pilgrim959 Paradise, CA, USA October 8, 2008

signs and seasons = signal and festival The Sun and moon were created for "signs, and for seasons, and for days and years..." (Genesis 1:14) I've always thought 'seasons' meant Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter but now I realize that's but one interpretation and not a very good one. A look at the words 'signs and seasons' in the Hebrew shows something entirely different. signs means 'signal' (Heb. - oth) and seasons means 'festival' (Heb. - mo-ed). I'm now comparing the Jewish calendar to the NASA website and finding certain solar and lunar eclipses in 2014 - and 2015 showing something quite interesting when compared to Joel 2:21; 3:15; Isaiah 13:10. It turns out that four blood moons occur on passover and tabernacles of each of those years. Solar eclipses occur on the 1st of Av in the next two years as it was this year. On the 9th of Av this year Russia invaded Georgia. Is this a 'signal?' Reply

Ezra san diego , ca September 28, 2008

On Satan My belief is that Satan is a Righteous servant of G-d and therefore acts in accordance with G-d's wishes. I refer to the Book of Job where G-d allowed Job to suffer.
In the book of Genesis, Satan is referred to as the snake, and there's a verse which states that we can rule over him.
I envision putting my foot against Satan's neck when I feel the need to control this Angel.
Blessed be G-d forever. Reply

Morris Lamor August 30, 2007

Re: Shofar & Satan (for Rivkah) Can't get around the idea of Satan--he's mentioned at the beginning of the Book of Job. All the word means, though, is "The Prosecution". He has no autonomy---as you can see clearly from the story there. The Christians hijacked the name and made him into a kind of demigod. That's not our fault.

As for the king you mention, please provide a reference. Reply

Rivkah August 29, 2007

Shofar As a conservative Jew I am a little confused over the reference to SATAN in this teaching. I was taught that NO SATAN exists in Jewish teaching and I have searched the Tanuch with regards. The reference to SATAN is in reference to one man, a king, who was in power and led Israel with goodness for a time, then changed his actions, whereby G-d curses him, asking him questions, basically demoting him. I do know the meaning of Satan to be hasatan (the advasary) which has very little references made after this king vanished from the pages... Reply

Leland L. Medearis Greenleaf, Kansas August 28, 2007

Shofar Can you imagine the emptiness one who has never heard the shofar feels when reading this? Reply

Sherlynn Chicago, IL/Cook November 15, 2006

Shofars What is the difference between a Ram's Horn shofar and a Yemenite shofar? Are they used for the same purpose, or are they used for different purposes? Reply

Anonymous Brookline, MA, USA October 2, 2006

Handicapped: Need HELP to put up my Succah. Please add a Shofar SOUND (though not Halachic) for those of us ill or homebound, who hear it in our Neshammah, and ache to hear a semblance of what we missed in Shul, even though we have recited the entire Machzor with kavannah (despite numerous offers to drive us to Shul) an Issur any Observant Yid would refuse.

G'mar Chatimah Tovah to you and to all Ahm Yisrael.

NB: I need help (Handicaped in Brookline) for someone to put up my prefab Succah on my porch which i cannot do. People who did it last year have disappeared, OR Ha Shem is challenging me to find Yiddin wanting to add to their Mitzvot before Hoshannah Rabbah.
Shalom, Reply

Joshua Heinrich Techmann Bloemfontein, South Africa January 1, 2006

Shofar I have done studies about the Shofar and have purchased my own. I have started sounding the shofar during our services in our church. It is such a powerful tool when blown at the correct moment during praise and worship. It is as if the presence of the Lord becomes more prominent. The people are also drawn closer to the Word at that time of sounding. I would like to know more and could you place me on your e-mail list. It would be a great help. Reply

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