Hebrew | Francais


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Emor 5781

Parashat Hashavua: Zichron Teruah On Judgment and Mercy

Harav Yosef Carmel

The term “zichron teruah (Vayikra 23:24),” in describing Rosh Hashana among the holidays in our parasha, is a special term, which very likely refers to shofar blowing. But zichron, meaning remembrance, does not, at first glance, have a clear meaning.

A famous interpretation of this pasuk deals with the fact that elsewhere it is called a “day of teruah.” The gemara (Rosh Hashana 29b) says that when Rosh Hashana falls during the week, it is a day of blowing the shofar, and when it falls on Shabbat, it is a day of only remembering the blowing. This is difficult on the level of p’shat (simple/literal reading of the pasuk) because the fact that we do not blow shofar on Shabbat is a Rabbinic institution, lest someone carry the shofar in a public domain while preparing to fulfill the mitzva. If it is Rabbinic, then the pasuk cannot be talking about it!     

Therefore, Rashi takes another approach. Zichron refers to the p’sukim of Zichronot, which mention the word zikaron in the context of Hashem’s relationship with mankind, and the p’sukim of Shofarot, dealing with the shofar and Hashem. This includes remembering akeidet Yitzchak, in which Avraham offered a ram as a sacrifice in place of Yitzchak. The Ramban has two objections to Rashi’s approach. 1. Why doesn’t Rashi mention the p’sukim of Malchuyot (about Hashem’s kingdom) as remembrances? Also, reciting the p’sukim of Zichronot and Shofarot is also only Rabbinic, which again makes it inappropriate for the p’shat of “zichron teruah.”

The Rashbam has a cryptic explanation along the lines of p’shat: “By means of the teruah (blowing), you will be remembered before Hashem,” as the pasuk says in regard to the blowing of the trumpet (see Bamidbar 10:10). This raises another question: Does Hashem need to be reminded?

The Ramban suggests that the idea behind teruah on Rosh Hashana is connected to the fact that we are a nation who “knows [how to use] teruah” (see Tehillim 89:16). At the time of divine judgment and before Yom Kippur we need a teruah of war (see Yirmiyahu 4:19), as Hashem is a “man of war” (see Shemot 15:3). The Ramban adds that we have a zichron by means of the teruah.

We will now explain a hidden meaning of the Ramban and Rashbam. Rosh Hashana is called a day of zikaron, which means a day of judgment, as the root zachor in “hifil (mazkir) means judgment. Zachar, meaning masculine, is from the same root, and it is often representative of the attribute of din (strict law). For this reason, brit mila is done specifically for men (the parallel action for women, which some cultures practice, is a cruel act), and it obligates fathers. Brit mila is very connected to the attribute of din, which is why Torah section on the mitzva (Bereishit 17:3-14) uses only the Name, Elokim.

In contrast, women, who have a rechem (uterus), which men do not, are connected to the attribute of rachamim (mercy). Teruah, a word in the feminine form, arouses Hashem’s attribute of mercy, and this feminine attribute is behind our liberations (“V’hi she’amada la’avoteinu…”). This is also behind Chazal’s statement that Bnei Yisrael were liberated from Egypt in the merit of righteous women.

Zichron teruah comes to find balance between these two attributes, to teach us that the depth behind Hashem’s judgment is in its connection to rachamim.   

Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther

Together with all cholei Yisrael


Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland


Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771


Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 ,5776


Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20


Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781


R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774


Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

RMeir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780


RYaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777


Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tamuz 19,  5778


R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779


Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4


R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781

R' Leiser Presser

ben R' Aharon Yitzhak and Bracha z"l

 24 Iyar

and members of his family who perished

in the shoah Al Kiddush Hashem.


Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les z"l  & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker

& Louis and Lillian Klein z”l



site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.