The year is 1933. Rav Kook , the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel (then referred to as Palestine) delivers a sermon in the Old City of Jerusalem on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Hitler’s grip on Germany was tightening which was a cause for great concern. At the same time Jewish presence in Israel was growing rapidly in Israel. The juxtaposition of these events seemed to point at an impending redemption.

In Jewish prayers, when the End of Days is spoken about a great Shofar is mentioned, “a great Shofar of our liberation”. The question is asked what the character of this Shofar and why is it large?

It is relayed that three types of Shofarot can be blown on Rosh Hashanah to fulfill the commandment of sounding the Shofar. Ideally, a ram’s horn should be used. If there is not one available, then any type of Kosher animal’s horn may be used, barring a cow. Lastly, if no Kosher horns are available, a non-Kosher one may be used but a blessing will not be recited over it.

Rav Kook explained how these three options are a reflection of the three possible Shofarot of redemption which will bring the Jewish people home to Israel.

Preferably, the ideal Shofar of redemption is one through which the Jewish people return to Israel because of lofty motivations- out of a desire to become closer to G-d and to achieve a higher level of holiness. This parallels the rams’ horn and the selfless act of Abraham in binding his beloved only son, Isaac. Sages such as Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi, Rabbi Ovadia of Bartenura, disciples of the Ba’al Shem Tov and of the Vilna Gaon are all perfect examples of this type of return to the Land through spiritual awakening.

A lower level of redemption is the one that brings Jews back through a longing for the land of their forefathers, wanting to live as a free people, provide their children with a Jewish education and so forth. This is also a “Kosher” option and can be blessed over but is not as lofty as the first type.

Rav Kook, when speaking about the third option burst into tears. This is when the Jewish people are forced back to Israel through anti-Semitism in the lands they are dwelling in. The Jews, tormented and persecuted have no option but to seek a safe haven in Israel. The unclean Shofarot become uplifted into Shofarot that herald in the Redemption.

It is our greatest hope to merit to be redeemed through the holiest of all three Shofarot; the one that is most suitable for a holy nation. Each day, we should fervently await the call that will bring about the full redemption.

Adapted from

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