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Shofar as Tz’akah – Zichronot

From an unedited transcript of a shiur: The next form is tzaakah; tzaakah means to cry out – a primal scream. But let’s go back to the Ramban, the Ramban we mentioned before that says that originally they would blow


sound for malchios, and one for shofar, and one sound for zichronos. The Ramban concludes that mishum (because) of the following verse ki tavo bemilchamah beartzechem (if your enemies come to battle you in your land) ve’al ha’tzar hatzorer etchem (or if there’s an enemy who’s coming afflict you) you must blast your trumpets and your shofrot in fear. And the Ramban says that is why you blow shofar on Rosh Hashanah, since you blow shofar on a fast day, since you blow shofar on a day when you are in trouble – on a yom tzaarah therefore you have to blow shofar on Rosh Hashanah.

That means that what is the Ramban describing, what type of cry is the Ramban…first of all he’s describing Rosh Hashanah as a yom tzaarah (a day of suffering) a day of pain, which is one thing, but he’s saying this is not a prayer – because what’s that blast when you’re in trouble and your enemy is closing in on you and you do not know what to do and you blast – it is a scream! It is a cry for help – tzaakah.

That is why the berachah is shomeah kol shofar, hear the sound of the shofar, that is why on the first day of Rosh Hashanah the reading is Sarah. Everyone says the reason we read the story about Sarah giving birth is because when did she conceive, it was on Rosh Hashanah, but Yosef was released from prison on Rosh Hashanah, why do we not read the story of Yosef being released from prison on Rosh Hashanah? Why do we choose Sarah? Because everything about that story is voice.

Hashem says to Avraham, everything that Sarah says to you – shema bekolah (listen to her voice), say shema (listen to her) what bekolah (her voice)? It says vayishmah Hashem el kol – kol ha’naar (G-d listen to the voice of the child) ba’asher hu sham (as that child was there )– kol ha’naar what was the name of the boy with the voice yishmael (G-d will hear) and what is the symbol always of the Kohen Gadol, the generic name for the Kohen Gadol, a high priest in the Talmud, Yishmael.

Tzaakah is crying out when I do not know what to ask for, I do not what is the right thing here, I am at a total loss for words, it is a spiritual chapter eleven, in other words I do not know – help me!! It is not just that you are asking G-d to help you out, it is total submission to G-d because you are saying to G-d I do not even know what to ask for.

So not only am I crying out to you, to give me what I need, I’m asking you to tell me what I need and then to give it to me.

You are literally putting yourself at the mercy of  G-d. That is why Chazal, our sages, when they describe Avraham’s reaction when he heard that he had to sacrifice his son, it says that he put his hands on his head and he cried out “I do not know what to do!!”

What is this image of someone putting their hands on their head and crying out? What is that? It is despair, listen to a Gemara in Menachos about Yirmiyahu, when Yirmiyahu, Jeremiah, heard that G-d was going to destroy the temple and exile the Jews from Israel and Jerusalem – miyad hiniach yadav al rosho (he placed his hands on his head) vehaya tzoek (and he began to scream), this is not prayer, it is total helplessness – it is mapped out in the Talmud like that.


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