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A Cry From The Depths of Our Souls

A Cry From The Depths of Our Souls

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This article is dedicated to Avinoam ben Varda Faiga Bluma for a year of blessing and success.

Regarding Rosh Hashanah, the Mishnah1 says, "The mitzvah of the day is with the shofar."

The Baal Shem Tov explains the concept of a shofar with a parable. It is like a child that cries out, "Father, father, save me!"2

The Rebbes of Chabad made it known3 that the main thing is not the content of the cry, "Father, father, save me," but the cry itself.4

Since we are all different, the content of our cries are different, but we each cry out to G‑d. For one the cry from the depths of his soul is audible; for another it is silent. It is, however, from the depths of his soul that he cries.

This is what the sounds of the shofar are all about: a cry from the depths of our souls. And that is what breaks through the gates of heaven and reaches G‑d, our father.

There is the parable given by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev of a boy who wanted an apple, but his father didn't want to give it to him. The clever boy quickly said the blessing over fruits, leaving his father with no other choice but to acquiesce.

At times, a father doesn't want to give to his child. Then there are times that the father does want to give to the child, yet denies the child his request because he wants to bring out something more from the child. He wants to see how clever he is. Will he find an alternate way to get his wish?

In our case, G‑d wants to give to the Jewish people, His children. As the Talmudic expression goes, "more than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to nurse."5 The same idea is said regarding the Holy One Above. G‑d wants us to serve Him and therefore wants to give us what we need to serve Him.

This is why in the Rosh Hashanah Musaf prayer, at the culmination of the verses of shofar, we conclude with the blessing, "Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, Who hears the sound of the teruah (the sound of the shofar) of Your nation Israel with compassion."

When it comes to saying a blessing with G‑d's name, the rule is that if there is any doubt, we don't say the blessing, because we do not want to say His Name in vain. Yet here we say, "Who hears the sound of the teruah of Your nation Israel," and not only that but He hears it "with compassion." How are we so certain?

The Men of the Great Assembly at the beginning of the Second Temple era were the authors of our prayers. They were comprised of 120 righteous people, (tzadikim) of which many were prophets. Being prophets, they were in the position to know, without having any doubts. They, therefore, ruled that we should say this blessing with G‑d’s name because it is absolutely certain that G‑d hears our teruah, the cry from the depths of our souls, and that He hears it with compassion. He will grant us all our needs, especially nachat, health and sustenance.

The central theme of Rosh Hashanah is twofold: First, we reach up to G‑d, accepting Him as our King, and accepting the yoke of His dominion. Then He, in turn, so to speak, accepts upon Himself all the blessings he said He would give us in parshat Bechukotai,6 "And I will give your rain in their time etc."7

This year, when we sound the shofar, the cry from the depths of our souls, G‑d will surely grant us what we need, including nachat from our children, good health, and abundant sustenance. This is all included in the traditional Rosh Hashanah blessing for "a good and sweet year." May he also grant us the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.

Footnotes
1.
Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 26b.
2.
Found in Hemshech Vechacha 5637 par. 70.
3.
This was told over by the 6th Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, brought in Likkutei Sichot volume 2 pp. 405-406.
4.
See Sefer Hamaamarim Kuntreisim volume 2 p. 642.
5.
Pesachim 112a.
7.
Likkutei Sichot volume 2 pp. 405-407.
Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz—father of seven, husband of Dina, and spiritual leader at Chabad Jewish Center in Temecula, Calif.—has been rendered immobile by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Unable to speak or type, he uses his eyes to write heartfelt thoughts on the weekly Torah portion.

Please support the Hurwitz Family Fund.
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