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Shabbat Rosh Hashana| 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - We Blow Tekiot and Teruot - From D’rashot Layamim Hanoraim- pg. 25
The shofar blowing has three elements, which correspond to three historical periods. The opening tekia recalls the glorious events of akeidat Yitzchak and the giving of the Torah, where Hashem’s presence was revealed. The second tekia hints to the future redemption, when the shofar will again be blown to announce the coming of Mashiach. In the middle, there is the interrupted sound of the teruah, which resembles the sound of crying. This corresponds to the period of galut, which, historically, falls between them. The first and last are straight sounds; the middle is a broken, torn sound of wailing or sobbing.
We can suggest the following explanation of R. Yitzchak’s statement (Rosh Hashana 16a): “Why do they sound tekiot and teruot when they sit and sound tekiot and teruot when they stand? It is in order to confuse the Satan.” The sitting refers to when Bnei Yisrael is sitting in their Land, and all is proceeding straight and smoothly. Even then we need to resort to blowing the broken teruah, despite the apparent lack of a need to cry. When, in contrast, we are standing, in the temporary, unnatural situation of exile, we still blow the tekia, despite the feeling that only crying is in place. All of this serves to confuse the Satan.
When we are at rest, we must remember the possibility of crying and realize that our tranquility is not to be taken for granted as natural. Rather, tranquility is a hidden miracle, and by properly thanking Hashem for it, we avoid the danger of “Yeshurun (Bnei Yisrael) became fat and kicked” (Devarim 32:15). On the other hand, when the world turns into a living hell, when a multitude of sighs join up into one deafening groan, and when the trumpets of war sound, it is still possible to confuse the Satan. We can still blow the tekia, reminding us of the straight, triumphant call of the past and the future, when the Divine Presence was and will be clear. We remind ourselves that the intermediate period is a transitional period and that the teruah is an introductory note to the tekia of the future.
This is the significance of what we say immediately after shofar blowing: “Fortunate is the nation of those who know the teruah. Hashem, in the light of Your Face they walk. In Your Name they rejoice all day” (Tehillim 89:16-17). Only Bnei Yisrael know how to put teruah in the proper perspective. Even in difficult times, when the attribute of justice (not mercy) rules, such as on Rosh Hashana, we say, “Hashem is my light.” We understand, “in Your Name they rejoice all the day” along the lines of, “like the day which brings both darkness and light” (Sanhedrin 110b). Throughout the day we rejoice, even if it is “rejoice in trembling.” May this attribute merit us with Hashem’s salvation.
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