Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.’” Leviticus 23:23-25
Yom Teruah is the 5th feast of the LORD and it marks the beginning of the Fall Festivals. In the Torah, it is known as “Yom Teruah”. This day marks the beginning of a new year on the Jewish civil calendar hence the name “Rosh HaShanah” which literally means “The Beginning of the Year”.
The instrument of attention on this feast is the Shofar. On this day, it is sounded 100 times and it is considered to be “a prayer without words”. Not only is it considered a sound of Teshuvah (repentance), but it is known to be a sound that confuses the adversary.
The word “shofar שופר” appears 72 times in the Hebrew scriptures. The first time it appears in the TaNaKh is in Exodus 19:16 where it reads, “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. ” The word for “trumpet” in that scripture is the word “shofar שופר”. That particular shofar is said to be God’s own shofar with which He gathers His children. The phrase “calling to gather” (actually a shepherding term in Hebrew) is described by the Hebrew verbal root “qara קרא” from which we get the word in Hebrew which translates as “convocation” in the opening scripture. That word is “miqra מקרא”. The sounding of the Shofar invokes the presence of The LORD.
In their quest to reach the Promised Land, the Children of Israel led by Joshua (whose name means The LORD saves) went through Jericho and conquered it. They conquered the fortified city with its king and mighty men of valour by going round the walls and sounding the shofar for seven days – a prophetic act: And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Joshua 6:2-5. The word for “trumpet” is “shofar שופר”. The hearing of the sound of the shofar brings victory to the believer, because where the spirit of the LORD is freedom.
The shofar is also an instrument of praise. “With trumpets and the sound of a horn; Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.” Psalm 98:6.
Like all Hebrew nouns, the word “Shofar שופר” is from a verb, and that verbal root is “shaphar שפר” and in its simple form, it means “to be beautiful” or “to make bright”. In Psalm 16:6, it is translated as “good”. At the sounding of the Shofar, everything that pertains to our lives receives the glowing effect of The Most High.
Yom Teruah has two other names according to Jewish tradition: Yom HaZikaron or Day of Remembrance and Yom HaDin or Day of Judgment. As king, God is faithful to remember His covenant promises to His children. As judge, He is righteous and just. As we draw close to Him on this appointed day, we are guaranteed to return from His presence full and whole.
On this appointed day, we dip apples in honey to sweeten each day of the new year He has given us.
May the LORD bless and keep you!