The Day of Trumpets

Yael Eckstein  |  September 27, 2022

Man blowing a shofar for Rosh Hashanah

On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets. — Numbers 29:1

Today, my family will join Jews around the world in celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. As this is a non-working holiday, this devotion has been prepared in advance for you.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time of both joy and seriousness. We dress up in our festive clothing, usually brand-new clothing purchased in honor of the festival. We make great big meals to enjoy with family and friends. We rejoice in the honor of the day.

Now, the Bible simply refers to this day as “the day of trumpets,” referring to the shofar, the ram’s horn, that we blow as part of the worship of the day. But according to the rabbis, Rosh Hashanah is the day of Creation and the day of God’s judgment on the world. Our tradition also teaches that it is the day of the coronation of the King, the day when we reaffirm that it is God, and God alone, who sits on the throne of majesty.

The truth is that this connection between the shofar, and God’s Creation, kingship, and judgment is right there in the Bible. We read:

With trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
     shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the LORD,
    for He comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity”
(Psalm 98:6-9).

The Day of Trumpets

Kingship, creation, and judgment. That is what the sound of the shofar declares to us. According to the great 12th-century rabbi, Moses Maimonides, the shofar is like an alarm clock or a siren. It’s supposed to wake us up from the slumber of our lives.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the details of day-to-day life that we lose sight of the big picture and of what matters most. So when we hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, we are drawn in by this ancient biblical sound. We are transported through time to thoughts of God and His purposes for the world.

The “Day of trumpets” is truly a day to think about the big picture — the biggest picture there is — and rededicate ourselves to God’s kingship over all humanity.

Your Turn:

Take some prayer time to think about God’s majesty and plan for the entire world. Remind yourself that no matter how the world looks today, God is on the throne.