The Ramchal in Daas Tevunos says that our purpose on this world is to come to the realization that Hashem is the God of the heaven above and the earth below, no one else (Devarim 4:39). One way to reach this level is to analyze events that occur in our world. If we would probe world events with the correct perspective, we would see how Hashem is the ruler over the entire world.
In galus Hashem “hides His tracks,” and does not make it that obvious that He is running every aspect of the world. He operates from behind the scenes. We are tasked, however, to recognize and accept Hashem as the one true ruler of the world.
One of the fundamental aspects of Rosh Hashanah is malchus – accepting Hashem as our king; the one and only king. The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah 16a says that on Rosh Hashanah every single human being is judged before Hashem. The Gemara there cites a beraisa that explains that Hashem gave us a advice on how to receive a more favorable judgment. The beraisa says that we should recite pesukim of malchiyos, shofros and zichronos. Malchiyos in order to accept Hashem as our king, zichronos in order to bring our favorable memory in front of Hashem, and with what? With the shofar.
How is it that the recitation of pesukim of malchus, coupled with zichronos, and elevated with the blasts of the shofar, helps us accept Hashem as our king?
What is unique about the shofar? Why is the shofar the medium necessary to bring our acceptance of Hashem’s malchus before Him? Why is it that we are told that the geulah will begin with a great shofar blast? Interestingly we also find that there was a shofar blast at Har Sinai. Why is the shofar so significant?
As we have stated Rosh Hashanah is about accepting Hashem as our king. In order to properly accept the malchus of Hashem we must recite and think about the pesukim that discuss His malchus. It is not sufficient to merely know the fact that Hashem is the king; rather we must feel it in our hearts. To accomplish this we blow the shofar as well.
The Seiyach Yitzchak, in his commentary on the Siddur HaGra in the section of Shofros of the Rosh Hashanah davening, explains that the sound of the shofar is the sound of the revelation and coronation of kavod malchus of Hashem, as the pasuk says, “Bachatzotzros v’kol shofar hareiu lifnei hamelech” (Tehilim 98:6). However, one cannot simply wake up on Rosh Hashanah and recite these pesukim for the first time since last year, and expect to acquire a sense of malchus. It requires preparation. One must learn the pesukim before davening, in order for them to have an affect on him.
Another aspect of the shofar is brought down by the Rambam in hilchos Teshuvah where he famously writes that there is a secret hidden in the shofar blast, and that is to wake up those who find themselves in a slumber and comas of pursuing the hevlei zman (literally waste of time) of every day life. The shofar blast is intended to wake them up and have them remember their Creator.
In other words, the shofar is the sound that is sounded when Hashem’s malchus is presented, and it serves as a wake up call for people to remember their creator. Perhaps we can suggest that the two aspects compliment each other. Regardless, that is the significance of the shofar and why we find its presence at such occasions.
One thing we can do in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and for accepting Hashem’s kingship is to scrutinize world events with the correct frame of mind. If we would see these events properly we would realize that who is orchestrating them and who runs the world.
By speaking about current events in the correct perspective we can begin to see that Hashem is the king and his malchus is unfolding in front of our eyes.
Last week we witnessed Harvey devastate Texas, now we are probing Irma and preparing for the worst. In Los Angeles the La Tuna fire burned more than 7,000 acres over the weekend. Who causes “natural disasters?” We all know Hashem runs the world but if we would attribute these powerful forces to Him, they would inspire us to fear Him, as they are intended to do (Yevamos 63a).
After internalizing these events, when we recite the pesukim of malchus and hear the shofar blasts, we have a better chance of becoming affected. We will then be able to accept His malchus, which will lead to Hashem revealing His malchus to the entire world. May we be zocheh to witness this in the coming year, amen.