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Elul: Hearing vs. Blowing - Do You Hear The Shofar?
"Ashrei Ha'Am Yodei Teruah", the medrash explains that Bnei Yisroel is fortunate that they know how to appease Hashem with the Shofar and earn favorable judgment. Reb Yisroel Yaakov Fisher in the Even Yisroel (Rosh Hashana Drush 5) asks, if this is true than how is it that two people standing next to each other in Shul can hear the same Shofar yet one has a good year and one not?
He answers that the mitzva of Shofar is hearing it not blowing it. That is why the bracha is "LIshmo'a Kol Shofar". Hearing he explains does not mean simply having the sound penetrate you ear drums rather hearing the call of the Shofar to do teshuva like the Rambam says the Shofar tells us WAKE UP! "Uru Yisheinim MiShenaschem" the sound of the Shofar must penetrate your heart.. The Shevarim means to break, as in break your heart with remorse for the way you chose to lead your life. The sounds of our broken hearts shake the Kisei HaKavod and causes the Din to change to Rachamim but only if we hear the sounds of the Shofar. Therefore two people standing in together in Shul can hear two completely different Shofars and have totally different kind of year.
With this idea he explains the words of Shemoneh Esrei "Ki Ata Shoei'a Kol Shofar... V'Ein Domeh Lach". Only you Hashem can hear each person's Shofar since there is no one like you who can listen to each person's heart.
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