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Mizrachi                                                                       Rabbi Reuven Taragin

W hy do we blow the shofar                  continued looking for opportunities to      G-d not only by heeding His stated
               on Rosh Hashanah? Our        serve. Just like at the beginning of the    word, but by being alert to His ‘silence’
               intuitive answer is that is  parsha, where Avraham looks (note the       and seeing the additional opportunities
reminds us of the Akeidah, Avraham’s        exact same phrase – “Avraham raised         He sends our way.
willingness to sacrifice his son            his eyes and saw”) for guests despite his   Even the rams in our lives – the
Yitzchak. But the shofar is symbolic of     pain and the intense heat.                  challenges, the tests, the curve balls –
a ram’s horn, reminding us of Avraham’s     Interestingly, the Torah tells us that the  are there for our benefit, to help us grow
sacrifice of the ram after G-d told him to  ram was caught in the thicket. What         as individuals and to help us come closer
desist from sacrificing Yitzchak.           difference does it make where the ram       to G-d.
Shouldn’t we be commemorating his           was? Chazal understood this as an           Everything inside and outside of our
willingness to sacrifice his beloved son?   indication that G-d placed the ram there    lives is there because G-d runs the
What’s so hard about sacrificing a ram?     for Avraham to find. They even list the     world.
Isn’t Avraham’s readiness to sacrifice      ram as one of the objects created during    This is the aspect of the Akeidah that
his son at G-d’s behest a far more          the six days of creation, specifically for  we commemorate – and celebrate –
meaningful expression of his acceptance     this purpose.                               with the mitzvah of shofar. Because
of G-d’s Will?                              What does this mean? It means that          completely accepting the yoke of heaven,
I think the answer lies in the difference   G-d wanted Avraham to follow up his         recognizing G-d’s Malchut, his Kingship
between how Avraham arrives at the          willingness to sacrifice Yitzchak with      over the world, means wholly seeing
decision to sacrifice the ram and how he    an actual sacrifice of the ram. Avraham     ourselves as His creations charged with
agrees to sacrifice Yitzchak. The latter    needed no words to infer this. He           the mission of fulfilling His will.
is of course a result of G-d’s express      knew. The fact that he named the place      If we see ourselves this way, we
request. For the former though, there is    “Hashem Yir’eh” (G-d has shown/been         will strive not only to fulfill G-d’s
no command or request. After showing        shown) indicates that Avraham saw the       commandments, but we will be
appreciation for Avraham’s willingness      ram as something G-d had intentionally      constantly aware of the sound of His
to sacrifice Yitzchak and then telling      put there for him.                          silence as well.
him not to “stretch out your hand           And indeed, he only receives the Divine     And that is a totally different level of
against the youth,” G-d is silent. There    blessings as reward for his commitment      living.
is no mention of another sacrifice; no      after sacrificing the ram, not after
mention of a ram.                           showing his readiness to kill his own       Rabbi Reuven Taragin is Educational
So what now?                                son.                                        Director of World Mizrachi and Religious
It’s a dramatic biblical pause.             This is a very powerful idea. G-d directs   Zionists of America–Mizrachi. He is also
The Torah then tells us it was Avraham      us not only through his spoken word         Dean of the Yeshivat HaKotel Overseas
who “raised his eyes and saw,” found, and   (the Torah and Halacha), but also           Program
decided to sacrifice the ram. G-d had       through the events and circumstances
relieved him of his duties, but Avraham     in our lives. It is all part of His Divine
                                            Providence. We are expected to serve

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