The Shofar in its original state is a weapon of war.
An animal uses its horn to defend itself from predators or to demonstrate its strength over another animals or creature. Life can often feel like one is at war, feeling the need to prove their existence to the rest of the world, ascertain one’s position in society, and fend off anyone that comes to threaten it.
In thinking about the year ahead a person may consider how they can further differentiate themselves from others, stand out, be stronger, bigger, flashier, better.
The Torah teaches us that one must take this “divergent, warring mentality” and flip it around, realise that life is not about being bigger and better, and that the stress, anxiety and agitation that such an outlook on life may bring, is neither healthy or sustainable. What steps does one need to take in order to tap into this state of serenity?
The Torah teaches us that two frequencies exist in the world. A frequency of the material, physical world, and a frequency of the spiritual and inner world.
When one defines themselves by a material frequency, they are immediately confounded by separation and differentiation. Matter is essentially separate.
When a person tunes into a spiritual frequency, they tap into a deeper part of self, which is not restricted or defined by what makes it different from its surroundings, in essence, the soul is a part of Hashem, and thus a ubiquitous entity.
We blow three distinct sounds from the shofar. The first, the Tekiah, a clear, distinct sound, that represents the inner, spiritual self, a place of tranquillity and clarity, of unity and love. The second, the Shevarim, a broken, cry-like sound, that represents the emotion of feeling reunited.
Joseph broke into tears when reunited with his father, a feeling of coming back to one’s father, this is the same emotional spiritual catharsis a person should experience on Rosh Hashana, when they reunite with their deeper selves.
The final sound, the Teruah, seven short alarm-like sounds, that represent an enlightened, awoken state of existence. A resolve to establish the soul and one’s connection to Hashem as their primary state of being.
When a person feels unified internally, their external self follows, we culminate this process, by visiting a body of water by Tashlich, which uniquely resembles a homogenous, unified body of matter, something which resembles a newly found state of existence, one of harmony and connection between what is generally separate.
Once a person goes through this process of self-discovery and reunification, the Raash Hashana (the noise of the year) transforms into, the Rosh Hashana, (the head of the year), a person can access a more serene state of existence, where a divergent warring mentality represented by the horn of an animal is flipped around and transformed into a musical instrument.