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Beit Midrash Shabbat and Holidays The Month of Elul

Why Do We Sound the Shofar During Elul?

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Question: Why do we sound the Shofar during Elul?

Answer:

1) After Israel sinned with the golden calf, Moshe spent 40 days pleading for our forgiveness. Then he ascended Har Sinai once again for another 40 days, after which he descended with the 2nd Luchot. This ascent, which began on 1 Elul & lasted until Yom Kippur, was accompanied by shofar blasts. To commemorate this, we blow the shofar during Elul, ending on Yom Kippur, 40 days later, with a final, dramatic shofar-blowing.

2) The soul-stirring shofar blasts are a kind of spiritual wake-up call to inspire us to come closer to G-d, as we read, Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? (Amos 3:6).

3) The shofar, or trumpets, were customarily sounded whenever the Jewish community was called together (e.g. Hakhel, or times of war). Sounding the shofar in Elul, in advance of Rosh Hashana, accentuates the importance of coming together as a People. G-d is more apt to forgive our sins when we pray to Him collectively, rather than individually.
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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