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    Shofar on Yom Kippur – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Does the shofar at the end of Yom Kippur come from the Torah?

    AlphonseLévy_ShofarA. No. Nor does the shofar during the month of Ellul.

    But the shofar that ends Yom Kippur links up with Torah verses. Lev. 25:8 says, “On the tenth day of the seventh month you shall make a proclamation with the ram’s horn”.

    This proclamation is the announcement of the jubilee year, when slaves are set free and debts are rescinded.

    The spiritual link with Yom Kippur is that after an intense period of confession and resolve, we are set free from our sins and the traces of our unfulfilled obligations are eradicated.

    It should also be noted that in Num. 10:1-10 the shofar is the signal for battle. This too has its symbolic link with Yom Kippur. It carries us into another dimension. The past is effaced with all its stains; the future is opened before us, with our commitment to fight for God and His will for His world throughout the year ahead.

    Another view recalls the promise that the shofar will herald the coming of the messianic redemption, and hence provides a link with the custom in many congregations of ending Yom Kippur with the shout, L’shanah Haba’ah BiY’rushalayim – “Next Year in Jerusalem!”

    These words, customary also at the conclusion of the Seder on Pesach, express the fervent hope that ours will be the generation to see Jerusalem enshrined as the spiritual focus of mankind.

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