Remember the profound and pivotal moments in your life?

Remember when you felt deeply in love, when you felt extreme rapture, when you felt unending loss? These were the moments when words became frivolous and limited. These were the momentsThe shofar is the key to a shattered heart when perhaps all you could do was cry.

On Rosh Hashanah, G‑d chooses to help us express what is too deep to be expressed by words. He chooses the shofar for its ability to pierce the essence of this noble day, as it cries out to G‑d.

In fact, the Talmud defines the teruah sound of the shofar as being like the sobbing of Sisera’s mother.1 And one reason why we blow the shofar 100 times is that it corresponds to her 100 cries for her son.2 Sisera, a formidable enemy army commander, was defeated in battle by the Jewish nation. His mother sobbed over his demise, as any mother would.

Why does the cry of the shofar recall the mother of Sisera, our foe? After all, isn’t there something else to focus on during one of the holiest days of the year?

One possible answer is that there is nothing more genuine than a mother crying over the death of her child. This is a true broken heart.

This type of cry is stripped of ego and fear. It’s unadulterated. It’s raw. And this is the cry we must hear when the shofar is blown.

“In the king’s palace,” said the Baal Shem Tov, “there are many gates and doors, leading to many halls and chambers. The palace-keepers have great rings holding many keys, each of which opens a different door. But there is one key that fits all the locks, a master key that opens all the doors. That master key is a broken heart.”

The shofar’s sound breaks our heart.

Breaking anything is hard, especially the heart. But the rewards are great for such work—the gates to G‑d are open.

Think of our enemy’s mother. We are meant to memorialize even her on Rosh Hashanah, because of her broken heart.

What does your broken heart look like?

Perhaps, if we focus on what we had to lament in the past year—the lost opportunities, the suppressed parts of our best selves, the fear and anxiety that interfered with our personal progress, the barriers that prohibited our soul from shining in the way it was meant to shine—we can tap into what we are meant to break when the shofar is blown.

The wail of the shofar can encourage us to use the “master key” and beOnce something is repaired, it becomes stronger unyieldingly honest with ourselves. This key can help us ask ourselves some difficult questions about this past year and what we want to do with the next.

The shofar is the key to a shattered heart. But this is just the beginning! The shattering of the heart can become a stepping stone for its repair. Emptying the negative and sabotaging contents of the heart allows it to be filled with a more positive, life-affirming center!

Often, once something is repaired, it becomes stronger, more vital and even more effective than it had been before. It becomes like new.

This Rosh Hashanah, when we hear the eternal cry of the shofar, let this master key unlock our hearts, opening us up to blessings from G‑d.