The Great Shofar

“On that day a great shofar will be sounded, and those who are lost in the land of Ashur (Assyria) and those who are cast away in the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt) shall come and bow down to G‑d on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 27:13; Mussaf of Rosh Hashanah

The “lost” and “cast-aways” are not only the physically exiled but also those lost and banished throughout the spiritual wastelands of the galut, those removed from their religious roots and heritage. Chassidut explains:

“Those who are lost in the land of Ashur” refers to the ones who are immersed in mundane pleasures and luxuries-reading Ashur as an expression of esher (bliss).

“Those who are cast away in the land of Mitzrayim” refers to the ones whose hearts and minds are not open to the knowledge of G‑d because of the pressures and curtailments of the galut-reading Mitzrayim as an expression of meitzarim (straits; restraints)-as it is written, “they did not listen to Moses because of anguish of spirit (insufficiency of spirit) and the hard work” (Va’eira 6:9).

When a person, close to the service of G‑d and His Torah prays for a manifestation of G‑dliness, he thinks of more intense devotion in prayer, greater excitement in the study of Torah, more deeply felt attachment to G‑d in the observance of mitzvot, and so forth.

The spiritually “lost and cast-aways” are insensitive to those values. The “great shofar, that will be sounded with the Messianic redemption,” however, will awaken their souls. Their arousal will be so intense that they will not ask for anything personal, but seek G‑d Himself, a full manifestation of Divinity. The simplicity and sincerity of this prayer shall be effective, and thus they “shall come and bow down to G‑d on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.”

Thus, with the coming of Moshiach the people will be extricated from both of the above situations, and they will come to bow down to G‑d.