A Month Before Rosh Hashana

Question

Why is there a custom to blow the Shofar every morning during the month leading up to Rosh Hashana?

, , 4 weeks

Answers

  1. First, let’s look at the reason for the mitzvah of blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashana itself — and then we can understand the reason for the custom to begin blowing it a month early.

    Why is it that we blow a Shofar on Rosh Hashana? Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam, Maimonides) writes: Even though the blowing of the Shofar is a decree of the Torah, there is nevertheless a hint within it: “Wake up from your sleep, search through your actions, return in repentance and remember your Creator. Look into your souls, improve your ways and abandon evil.”

    The basic reason for the mitzvah of Shofar is to serve as a type of “wake-up call.” A call for a person to wake up and take account of his life. To become more aware of human responsibilities and to make positive commitments for the future.

    In light of this explanation for the mitzvah of blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashana, we can now explain the custom to begin blowing it in the Synagogue a month before Rosh Hashana. We begin the process of personal change and renewal well before Rosh Hashana in order to avoid a last-minute, panicked rush. During the month before Rosh Hashana, known as Elul, the Shofar is blown every day after the weekday morning services in order to gradually wake a person up from apathy in the hope that he will not press the “snooze button” on life.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team