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Voices: Intimidation

“The rumble (voice) of Your thunder rolled like a wheel, Lightning bolts lit the world, the earth trembles and roared (Psalms 77:19).” “You caused this awesome sound to ‘roll’ across the waters like a spinning wheel, causing panic and confusion in the Egyptian camp (Rashi).”


The intimidation of the wicked is the true purpose of thunder. The Talmud (Berachot 59a) teaches that thunder was created in order to humble the arrogant sinner by exposing his own frailty and insignificance (Maharsha). Therefore, upon hearing thunder, we utter the blessing, “Whose power and might fill the world.”

When we hear the Voice of the Shofar, we should recall experiences when we were shocked and frightened by a sudden, loud sound, and respond to the Shofar with the same sense of fear and intimidation so that we can then experience humility.

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