What should we think about during Chodesh Elul when we hear the shofar?
When you hear the shofar being blown there are many things to think about; not one thing. First of all you have to think היתקע שופר בעיר ועם לא יחרדו — Could it be that they blow a shofar in the city and the people are not afraid?! You have to be afraid right away! You have to be afraid; eimas hadin – fear of the judgement. It’s very important. The day is coming and you have to be afraid; you must be afraid.
Now, being afraid however has to have some practical results. You’re saying in slichos all the time something that you never do. נחפשה דרכינו ונחקורה – We will search out our ways. Do you search your ways? You never do it! Did you sit down for five minutes once in your life and search out your ways? Never! Oh, but he’s saying slichos; “nachpisa diracheinu v’nachkora.” Mmmmuh mmmmuh. He’s mumbling the words. What a pity.
So the shofar says, “Start searching your ways!” At least five minutes. Five minutes by the way is a very small time to give to make an inventory on your business. A business man who makes a five minute inventory will go broke. He needs much more than five minutes. But at least five minutes! At least you shouldn’t be a shakran. The whole world is deceiving Hashem. בפיו ובשפתיו כיבדוני – With his mouth and his lips he honors Me; he says “I will search out my ways,” ולבו רחק ממני – but his heart is far away from Me. He doesn’t think about it at all. It’s a terrible thing.
So when you hear the shofar, think about your ways. Why is it that people, frum people, live their whole life in sin. He’s trying to kill his wife by saying mean words to her and she wants to shorten his life by saying mean words to him. They don’t want to do it chas v’shalom, but that’s what they’re doing – they’re hurting each other. A whole life of ona’as devarim. Each time you say it it’s a terrible sin. A terrible sin to say mean words to each other. And it’s being done in so many houses! Nachpisah! If you search you’ll find. It’s terrible what’s going on in the houses. People hurt each other’s feelings tremendously. And don’t think it doesn’t have an effect on that person’s health. It affects the health; sure it does. And therefore there’s no lack of things to discover. Once you search, you’ll find. Oh yes, there’s plenty to find.
Another thought when you hear the shofar; the shofar has to remind you that b’chol yom v’yom bas kol yotzeis mei’har Sinai; every day a voice comes out from Har Sinai to remind you to learn Torah. The shofar blast reminds you of the shofar that we heard on Har Sinai. That’s one if the remazim of the shofar. Are you learning Torah? Are you interested in learning Torah? Are you reviewing what you learned? Even the daf yomi is not enough. It’s better than nothing but are you learning and trying to become a lamdan? It’s very important. Everyone can become a lamdan if he wants to. And Hashem requires that of you. He demands of you that you should become a lamdan.
Also, when you hear the shofar you should think, “We are recognizing Hashem as our King with the shofar blast.” אשרי העם יודעי תרועה. When you hear the shofar blow, you know that it means that the king is coming. It should remind you that Hashem is the melech ha’olam. You should think about that when they blow the shofar. Hashem is the melech ha’olam. He owns the world. He owns the street. He owns your house. He owns everything that you have. He owns the stars. He’s the Melech. He’s the owner of the world; it’s so important to feel that nothing is ours really – it’s only temporarily loaned to us for a short time. כי גרים ותושבים אתם עמדי. We’re only visitors here for a short time. He is the owner; He is the Landlord. It’s always important to think about that.
And therefore there are many lessons of the shofar, very many lessons. But whatever it is we should make use of it and not merely let it blow for nothing.
TAPE # E-124