The Triumph of Israel and the Sobbing of their Enemies
הרב אהרן פרידמן
The hundred notes – the result of forgetting
The basis for the blowing of a hundred notes (literally "voices") with the shofar arises from forgetting the sound of the Teruah, as the Rambam writes in Hilchot Shofar (ch.3 halacha 2):
The Teruah which is spoken of in the Torah – we are uncertain of it because of the long years and multitude of diasporas, and we don't know how this is: is it the howl which women cry out when they are lamenting, or the sigh which one repeatedly sighs when his heart is worried over some great thing, or both of them together – the sigh and the howl which naturally comes after it – are called the Teruah, since one who is worried first sighs and afterwards howls. Therefore we do them all.
How painful and humiliating it is - that at the very moment that Israel desire to crown the King of Kings over them, they don't know how to do it, and because of this they sound a Tekiyah and Teruah, and again Tekiyah and Teruah, and they do this a third time until they complete a hundred notes. So the multitude of shofar blasts testifies to the multitude of diasporas and the length of the exile, and the fact that we forgot the way to crown HaShem over His world.
The diasporas diminish the kingdom of Heaven
And plausibly, it is not by chance that the multitude of diasporas and the length of their duration caused the forgetting of the Teruah. The bondage of Israel, the nation of HaShem, is in reality a deep blow to the existence of HaShem's sovereignty in the world. We learned in Midrash Tehillim:
HaShem has ruled, the nations will be distressed. Rabbi Yehuda said in the name of Rabbi Shmuel: As long as Israel are in the galut, the kingdom of Heaven is incomplete and the nations sit in tranquility. But when Israel are redeemed, the kingdom of Heaven is complete and the nations of the world are distressed – this is (the manifestation of) HaShem has ruled, the nations will be distressed (Midrash Tehillim Buber, ch. 99).
Looking into the abovementioned Psalm reveals that our Rabbis explained the plain meaning of the verses, as Psalms 98 and 99 seem to be connected to each other.
In Psalm 98 we read:
A Psalm: Sing a new song to HaShem for He has done wonders. His right hand and holy arm have brought Him victory. HaShem made His salvation known, before the eyes of the nations He revealed His righteousness. He remembered His kindness and faith to the house of Israel, all the ends of the earth saw the salvation of our Lord. Shout in joy to HaShem all the earth, open up, sing and harmonize. Symphonize to HaShem with a harp – with a harp and a singing voice. With trumpets and the voice of the shofar make music before the King HaShem. The sea and its contents will roar like thunder, (as will) the earth and its inhabitants. The rivers will clap their hands, together the mountains will sing. Before HaShem who will come to judge the earth (He will) judge the world with righteousness and the nations with justice.
And immediately afterwards, in Psalm 99 it says:
HaShem has ruled, the nations will be distressed, (before) Him who dwells between the cherubim may the earth totter. HaShem in Zion is great and elevated above all the nations. They will recognize Your great and awesome name, it is holy.
In Psalm 98 we learn that HaShem redeems Israel before all the nations, because He remembers His kindness and faithfulness to His beloved nation. Additionally we learn that the sounding of the shofar to announce His kingdom echoes in the ears of the ends of the earth, that HaShem is coming to judge them for their evil deeds . At the beginning of Psalm 99 we hear of the fear and trembling of the nations before the kingdom of HaShem which is rooted in Zion, and from there is His greatness upon all the nations of the world who acknowledge that G-d alone is great, awesome and holy.
Therefore we say: the redemption of Israel from the hands of their enemies is what leads to the clear proclamation 'HaShem has ruled' and this sovereignty is manifested in the world in Israel's sovereignty, as it continues: 'HaShem in Zion is great and elevated above all the nations'.
To the contrary – when, G-d forbid, the enemies of Israel rule over them, the kingdom of HaShem is not revealed. And not only this, but the slavery causes Am Israel to forget the proper way to crown HaShem over them.
Malchuyot, zichronot and shofarot
This understanding, that the kingdom of HaShem depends upon the redemption of Israel, explains the order of the blessings malchuyot, zichronot and shofarot. The blessing malchuyot is connected to the holiness of the day [According to Rabbi Akiva in Rosh HaShana 32a], and therefore it opens with 'You chose us from all the nations', continues with 'our father, our king reveal the glory of Your kingdom upon us speedily… and gather in our scattered', and ends with the appeal that 'all which have breath in their nostrils' will say: HaShem the Lord of Israel is king."
The blessing zichronot also relates to the redemption of Israel, and we beseech thus: 'remember us with a good memory before You… remember for us, HaShem our Lord, the covenant and the kindness and the oath… and in Your great goodness may Your anger subside from Your nation, Your city and Your inheritance… as it is written: 'and I remembered them the covenant of their forefathers whom I took out from the land of Egypt'.
And also in the blessing "shofarot" we pray for the ingathering of the exiles and the redemption: "Blow a great shofar for our freedom and raise the flag to gather in our exiled… and bring them to Zion Your city with joy."
We cannot discuss HaShem's kingdom without speaking of Israel's chosenness, His remembering them and gathering them in from the four corners of the earth – to the land of Zion and Yerushalayim.
Regarding the distress of Sisra's mother and the hundred notes
At the conclusion of Shirat Dvora appears a description of Sisra's mother waiting for her son by the window, and she wails as she is waiting for him. The sages say in the Midrash that the number of shofar blasts corresponds to the number of sobs which Sisra's mother sobbed at that time. At first glance this seems strange: from where do we know that Sisra's mother cried a hundred sobs, and what is the connection between her crying and our blowing of the shofar?
In light of what we learned, it appears that the sages wanted to teach us something great.
The hundred "voices" which we blow today result, as we mentioned, from forgetting the Torah, which is the result of the long bondage and diasporas. We could have been sorrowful every year anew about the fact that the proper way to crown HaShem over us has been forgotten by us. We could have felt lost, that we don't know our Creator's desire.
Our sages teach us in their Midrash, that even though the bondage caused forgetfulness, in the end, the honor of Heaven is greatened by the multitude of teruot. We blast teruah, and blast again and again before HaShem. Therefore, it is exactly the wickedness of the nations, which attempts to obscure the manifestation of HaShem's kingdom, which indirectly causes the increase in the glory of Heaven.
The downfall of Sisra revealed a new dimension of HaShem's kingship. His very own might and strength, which at first were directed against Am Israel, in the end were enlisted to show Israel and the entire world HaShem's greatness and might.
It stands to reason that this idea is imbedded in the last verse of Shirat Dvora:
So may all Your enemies perish HaShem, and (may) those who love Him be like the coming out of the sun in its might (Shofetim 5:31).
Dvora prays that just as Sisra perished, so will all of HaShem's enemies be destroyed, and she compared those love G-d to the sun when it emerges from the darkness. The sun which continues to shine does not resemble the sun which emerges from the darkness. The sun which appears at once from behind the clouds, or that which shines from the horizon at dawn, by its appearance expresses power, which is distinct by virtue of the contrast to the very darkness and concealment which preceded it. In this way even the enemies of HaShem contribute, indirectly, to the strengthening of the glory of the kingship of the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
 And from here it appears that our rabbis leaned from here that on the day of Rosh HaShana, in addition to the judgement of each person of Israel, there is also the judgement between Israel and the nations of the world [Vayikra Rabbah Parsha 30, on the verse 'and you shall take on the first day'] as the 'judgement' which is mentioned in Psalm 98 is the judgement of the wicked of the nations for their evilness toward Israel.
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