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The Sound of the Shofar

The Sound of the Shofar

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The sound of the shofar is produced by the breath of the heart in a simple tone, without combinations of letters (as in speech), and this indicates the innermost point of the heart. Therefore it is called “tekiah”-a word also used for pounding in a stake-for this point is “sunk” in the heart in a manner of utmost simplicity, without the possibility of being compounded with intellect and knowledge, let alone being revealed in speech and letters. A person emits such a cry in a simple voice, from the depths of the heart, quite beyond intellect.

There are two types of cries: the cry of a voice and the cry of the heart. The cry of a voice comes from the intellect, as in the case of a person who meditates on the greatness of the Creator, is overcome, and cries in a loud, simple voice. This cry is external, like the cry that comes from seeing something new. The cry of the heart, on the other hand, is the “inner cry that is not heard.”

When the heart is overwhelmed by love or an idea, the innermost point of the heart, higher than intellect, is evoked, and this point is expressed in the cry of the heart.

(Siddur Im Dach, p. 232)

Excerpted from Days Of Awe, Days Of Joy. Published and Copyright by Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn NY 11213
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