Today is the 80th Yartzeit of Rav Kook Zt’l. I thought it would be appropriate to share some words of wisdom he shared in his Drasha on Rosh Hashanah in Beis Knesses HaChurva in 1933.

We find that the Tefillah for the Geula is accompanied with the Tefillah of  תקע בשופר גדול לחרותינו or והיה ביום ההוא יתקע בשופר גדול. What is the idea behind the Shofar HaGadol? Why specifically do we daven for the blowing of a big Shofar as opposed to a regular one?

Rav Kook explains that we can understand the Shofar of Mashiach by understanding the main 3 halachos regarding the Shofar of Rosh Hashanah:

  1. The Mitzvah to blow Shofar is on the Shofar of a ram.
  2. If one does not have a rams horn, any other kosher animal horn is kosher.
  3. A horn of an animal used for Avoda Zara or of a non-kosher animal is Passul and you may not make a bracha on it, but if you use it, you are יוצא.

The function of the Shofar of Mashiach is to awaken us and push us to do the ‘רצון ה, thereby bringing the full Geula. This re-awakening comes through the Tekia which will call everyone and cause everyone to gather en-masse to Yerushalayim.

Rav Kook in his beautiful and inimitable fashion explains that there it was common during certain periods of history and today it is more rare, that there was a determination sourced in קדושה to do the ‘רצון ה out of a strong faith in Hashem and his Torah. This holy determination of Klal yisrael to do the ‘רצון ה will bring about a  complete Geula – this is the Shofar Hagadol.

However, Rav Kook continued, there are those who have the determination to bring the Geula closer, but not for purely altruistic reasons. They do not do it for reasons of Kedusha, rather they do it as it is a natural human thing that they want to do and they want to create their own rulership over eretz yisrael and ultimately to be free just like all other peoples. This determination which is more of a natural determination, and not one with its roots in Kedusha is parallel to the middle Shofar, which is Kosher, but only Bdieved.

However, there is a third level as well to the Shofar of Mashiach which is also parallel to the Shofar of Rosh hashanah, this is the Small Shofar. The Shofar that is passul that we only use when we cannot find anything else.

If there is no determination from קדושה to do the Ratzon Hashem and to bring forth the Geula, and even the natural desire to live in Kavod and not under the rule of others is extinct, we cannot blow a kosher Shofar for the Geula. Rav Kook explains and according to some sources he burst into tears, the enemies of Klal Yisrael come and blow the Shofar in our ears, they force us to listen to the call of their Shofar and give us no rest. The small Shofar from a non Kosher animal will turn into the Shofar of Mashiach. It will be Amalek and Hitler who will blow the Shofar that will awaken us to do teshuva and bring on the complete Geula.

If one does not hear the first Shofar and even the second Shofar he doesn’t want to hear, as his ears are stuffed up, he will hear by force the Impure Shofar of Mashiach. Rav Kook explains that he will be יוצא ידי חובתו with this Shofar, but he may not make a bracha on it, as one does not make a bracha on a קללה.

Rav Kook concluded that we should daven that Hashem should not bring us again to hear the Shofar forcibly , and we should not even yearn for the Shofar Beinuni, of the middle type, rather we daven תקע בשופר גדול לחרותינו that the Shofar of the Geula should be one which comes form the deepest and most holy part of Klal Yisrael and we should then have the complete and proper Geula.

I would like to add that every day of Elul as we hear the Shofar, let us meditate and daven that we should be on the level of Kedusha and that we will merit the Geula with the Shofar HaGadol.