It states in Tehillim, אשרי העם יודעי תרועה – Praised is the nation that knows the shofar blowing (Tehillim 89:16). What is the meaning and significance of this quotation?
אשרי העם יודעי תרועה – Happy is the people that recognizes the sound of the shofar. That’s what it means. And the plain meaning is that this shofar has a number of significances and how fortunate is the person who takes the time to think about them and know them.
One significance is, ותרועת מלך בו – it’s like the trumpet that is sounded when a king takes over. השם מלך! Hashem is the King! On Rosh Hashana, we recognize Hashem is the King. That’s what the shofar says. It’s saying, “Hashem is King.” Melech Haolam! Hashem owns the world. He owns the stars. He owns the streets. He owns your house. He owns everything that you have. The shofar announces that He’s the King. That’s number one.
The shofar also reminds us of the giving of the Torah. וקול שופר חזק מאד. There was a sound of the shofar at the giving of the Torah. So when you hear the shofar, it reminds us of that great event when the Torah was given. It reminds us of our Torah obligations; that’s our service to the King.
The shofar reminds us also of the future shofar. תקע בשופר גדול. Moshiach will come and then a shofar will sound all around the world and all the nations will tremble because their time has come for retribution and Hakodosh Boruch Hu will redeem His people. And that’s the shofar of Moshiach, when the whole world will recognize that Hashem Melech!
And so, אשרי העם יודעי תרועה – happy is the people who recognize the teruah and they know what it signifies. So if you listen to the shofar, first you have in mind, הנני מוכן ומזומן לקיים מצוות עשה של תקיעת שופר or shmias shofar; I’m having in mind to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the shofar. But then think, this is a sound that signifies Hashem is King. Very important! And also it signifies the giving of the Torah and the coming of Moshiach.
TAPE # 136 (August 1976)