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Malchiyout, zichronot, shofarot

Another set of meanings for the shofar can be seen in the structure of the special prayers inserted into the amidah for Rosh Hashanah: These are collections of Biblical verses known as Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot. Each set contains ten verses relating to (respectively) Godís kinship, memory, and the shofar blasts..

The Malichiyot compilation coronates God and acknowledges his rule over us. It establishes a relationship Ė one in which we are subservient to Him, but a relationship nonetheless.

The second set of verses, Zichronot, illustrates God remembering his covenants, acknowledging the plight of his people.

Finally, for the Shofarot section, there are verses of shofar blowing: in the context of joyful worship and celebration; at the time of the giving of the Torah at Sinai; and the blasts which will signal the final messianic Day of Judgment.

Rosh Hashanah

Book of life, day of judgment

Yom Kippur

Separately, these sections provide varied shofar sounds. Together, they signify three different forms of communication with God.

The first is the shofar as the trumpet of coronation. God is King. Long live the Bring on the trumpeters. There is something above us, there is an order we acknowledge, and the shofar proclaims that acknowledgment.

The second set of verses say something else about God: That interaction is possible. We approach him neither as a remote emperor nor as an abstract philosophical concept, but as an entity with whom we, as a people, are in an intimate relationship. He has made promises and can be called to account. The shofar we blow after these verses is a cry to the God of this relationship Ė a reminder to Him, and perhaps us, of our promises to each other.

The final set of verses, about the shofar, speak for the relationship itself. We can relate to God and communicate through prayer. with prayer, of communication. It is a relationship we believe has been direct, at the time of Revelation, and that we are promised will be direct again, at the ultimate Redemption. These shofar blasts are not "about" anything; they are pure communication, an expression of emotion and connection that it canít be contained by words, only by the tremulous cries of the ramís horn.


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