L’shanah Tovah

Sing aloud until G-d our Strength; blow the shofar unto the G-d of Jacob” [Psalms 81:2][1].Happy New Year


Why does the Psalmist ask that it be blown only to the G-d of Jacob and not the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? The Shofar is blown to Rosh Hashanah so that G-d will judge the land with mercy and acquit them. The Psalmists realizes that only the descendants of Jacob are all holy. Only of the descendants of Jacob does it say, “No one sees iniquity in Jacob[2].” When Balaam spoke that blessing over Bnei Israel, he was not indicating that we are perfect. Just as the Rosh Chodesh indicates a renewing of the moon, so to the blowing of the shofar is to be a renewing of our way of living. It gives us a new hope and a new start. We are being redeemed from sin and death. Balaam singled out Jacob because Abraham fathered Ishmael and the sons of Keturah, and Isaac fathered Esau and his princes.


Jacob experienced a dream where a ladder extended into Heaven and angels traveled up and down its length. When he awoke from the dream, he anointed the area and declared, “Mah nora hamakom hazeh! Ein zeh ki im beit Elohim vezeh shaar hashamayim,” or, “How fearful is this place! This surely is the House of G-d and the Door to the Heavens.” He was the only one of the three patriarchs to speak of the place where the Temple was destined to stand as The House of G-d. Abraham called it “Behar,” for he said, “In the mount where the L-rd is seen[3].” Isaac called it “Sadeh,” for he said, “See the smell of my son is the smell of the field[4].” However, Jacob called it “Beit[5],” before anything was built upon it! 

[1] See Midrash Tanchuma Vayeira 13-17,

[2] Numbers 23:21

[3] Genesis 22:14

[4] Genesis 27:27

[5] Genesis 28:17

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