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Breathtaking Preparations: Stopping the Satan Before the Shofar Sounds!

Per mystical tradition, it is customary to recite seven special verses of King David’s Psalms responsively just before the shofar is blown. The first expresses prayerful hope, reflective of the Shofar's message. In acrostic fashion, the following six verses (all lifted from Psalm 119) form the Hebrew words “Kra Satan” literally translated as “Tear up Satan.” The satanic spirit we seek to destroy is said to refer to Israel's heavenly accuser or adversary, yet it can also indicate the lifting of that which might impede or hinder our spiritual progress and the sweet judgment we now seek.

1:07:04
Verses to Stop the Satan Before Sounding the Shofar
In the Chabad tradition, the verse selected to represent the letter “Kuf” differs from the common custom. This class carefully analyses the meaning of the 149th verse of Psalm 119, seeking to understand why this would have been selected over the more ubiquitous tradition of Lamentations, 3:56. A profound clarification of the sounds we utter, G-d's kindness and judgment, and the broader motif of this biblical sentence readily reveals why this verse may have been favored to best prepare for Rosh Hashanah’s climatic Shofar sounding.
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1:05:38
Verses to Stop the Satan Before Sounding the Shofar
The universal custom is to recite the 160th verse of Psalm 119 as we continue our preparation for the Shofar blowing corresponding to the letter “Reish.” The Psalmists emphasis on the nature of truth for G-d's opening utterances is perplexing: is not everything emanating from the Creator perfectly true? A fascinating Midrash helps unlock the mystery of the deeper meaning of this prophetic expression, and why this verse is so obviously suited to inhibit adversarial forces and blow open the heavenly doors for the sounds of our prayers and Shofar!
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57:19
Verses to Stop the Satan Before Sounding the Shofar
In the pre-shofar acrostic arrangement, verse 122nd of Psalm 119, which begins with the letter Ayin, completes the word Kra. Here, calling himself G-d's servant, King David pleads for sublime surety. Midrash Tehillim‘s comments seem to be the foundation for the opening interpretation of the Hebrew word Arov initiating the prayer, yet Targum leads us in a different direction, and a third dimension is also introduced. After elucidating how each approach contains Rosh Hashanah themes, all three are woven together to produce a stunning tapestry of Tehillim inspiration!
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52:57
Verses to Stop the Satan Before Sounding the Shofar
King David rejoiced in “G-d's word,” the meaning of which incorporates three possibilities: guarantee, wisdom or covenant. A range of commentary is employed to better understand what these ideals represent, and why this particular verse was selected to help us prepare for the sounding of the shofar. The Psalmist invokes the imagery of “finding abundance spoils”; a notion richly elucidated with colorful allegory including dream treasure-hunting, the power of kosher food and even the importance of utilizing talents to best appreciate this unique verse. (Psalm 119, verse 167)
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8:11
Verses to Stop the Satan Before Sounding the Shofar
Seeking to gratify G-d, King David pleads that his freewill offerings be reciprocated with Torah teachings. To appreciate Rashi's take, we frame his words with the classic commentaries, yet still come up short. Reaching across Scripture for kindred “give-and-take” relationship between ourselves and G-d we encounter a fascinating thesis that clarifies the subject. This all beautifully explains why this is the final verse recited before the sounding of the Shofar, even relating to Rosh Hashanah's Haftorah. We conclude with a rumination on the vows, viability and wisdom! (Psalm 119, verses 108)
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