How did the Jewish ram's-horn trumpet get its name?
Because you can hear it from sho-far away.
There is a Jewish custom to start blowing the Shofar from the beginning of the month of Elul, so that the blower can practice his blowing. Seemingly, this is an odd reason. Either one knows how to blow or one doesn’t. If he knows, then he doesn’t need to practice. If he doesn’t know, he needs to learn, not practice!
Obviously, there is more to this custom that needs to be explored.
At the end of Yom Kippur, at the final prayer called “Neilah,” we blow one long blast from the Shofar. This blast is a preview of the blow that will herald the coming of Moshiach. This blast symbolizes the simple voice of the soul, beyond description. Blowing the shofar on Rosh Chodesh Elul gets the ball rolling for us to reach, on Yom Kippur, that level of pure and simple connection to G-d, emerging straight from our soul, with no barriers.
This year, Rosh Chodesh is on Shabbat, and thus, we do not blow the Shofar. And there’s no need for it. Through the holiness of Shabbat, we access the essence of our souls. And being that this Shabbat is the preparation for the final shofar blast, let’s make the most out of it and do all we can to usher in the era of Moshiach now!
Candle lighting time is at 7:20 PM.