Prayer Essentials

For the week ending 14 February 2015 / 25 Shevat 5775

The Shemoneh Esrei - Tenth Blessing: Part 2

by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

“Sound the Great Shofar for our freedom.”

It is well known that hearing the shofar arouses fear within a person, bringing him to teshuva (repentance), as in the verse (Amos 3:6), “If the shofar will be blown in the city, will the people not be fearful?” The Rambam writes in connection to the shofar blowing, “Awaken, awaken, sleepers from your sleep; arouse slumberers from your slumber — and examine your deeds and repent, and remember your Creator.”

According to the above we can perhaps begin to understand the awesome power felt when G-d sounds the “great shofar”, as the prophet proclaims, “It will be on that day that a great shofar will be blown (by G-d), and those lost in the land of Assyria, and those cast away in the land of Egypt will return (together) and bow before G-d at the holy mountain in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27:13).

In fact, already today, we are witnessing a spiritual awakening around the world. Jews everywhere are returning to some sort of religious practice, each in his own way. Some are deciding, after a life estranged from Torah observance, to reconnect with the Sabbath, a Divine gift for G-d’s treasured people. Others, in search of meaning and purpose, are turning to the Torah which provides the timeless answers they are looking for. In addition, people are inspired to take on the observance of the mitzvot, connecting with ancient rituals steeped in Jewish mysticism.

The Jewish People are already on their way to redemption. With each mitzvah, each good deed, we extinguish the dark night. The dawn of a new era is upon us, just ahead, no longer in the far-off distance. The time has come to “wake up” as we finally greet the righteous Mashiach. Amen.

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