Parashas Behaalosecha

In this week’s parashah, Hashem tells Moshe to make trumpets, which are to be sounded on various occasions. The Torah describes how the trumpets are to be used to assemble the entire Jewish People or their leaders. The Torah then continues (Bamidbar 10:9-10):
When you go to war in your Land against an oppressor who harasses you, you shall sound a series of short blasts with the trumpets, and you shall be recalled before Hashem your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. And on your days of rejoicing, your festivals, and your new moons, you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over your peace offerings, and they shall be a remembrance for you before your God; I am Hashem, your God.
The Maggid elaborates on these uses of the trumpets.
The trumpet blasts on days of rejoicing, and, likewise, the shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah, play a dual role in arousing fear. On earth, the blasts jolt our evil inclination and lead us to abandon sin; in heaven, the blasts confound the adversarial angel and lead him to abandon his accusations against us. These two effects are linked. Indeed, as our Sages teach, the evil inclination and the adversarial angel are one and the same (Bava Basra 16a). Thus, when the blasts are sounded, the degree to which we let up from sinning determines the degree to which the adversarial angel lets up from his accusations.
Similarly, the trumpets and the shofar play a dual role in arousing remembrance. They lead us to remember Hashem, and they lead Hashem, so to speak, to remember us. These two effects are linked as well. The way we relate to Hashem determines the way Hashem relates to us. As the Maggid explains elsewhere (in his commentary on Shir HaShirim 3:11), a person’s relationship with Hashem can be compared to his relationship with his own reflection in a mirror. As a person steps toward or away from the mirror, his reflection automatically appears closer to or farther from him. Similarly, as we step toward or away from Hashem, we automatically find Him stepping – so to speak – toward or away from us.
In times of trouble, the trumpets are sounded mainly for the effects they produce in heaven. There is less need for trumpet blasts to strike us with fear and make us remember Hashem, for the afflictions themselves serve this function. Hence, regarding days of distress, the Torah highlights the trumpets’ effect in heaven, saying that they will cause us to be “recalled before Hashem your God.” In times of joy, on the other hand, there is a danger that revelry will lead us to forget Hashem. The trumpets are therefore needed to make us remember Him. Thus, regarding days of rejoicing, the Torah highlghts the trumpets’ effect on us, saying that they “shall be a remembrance for you before your God.” Let us take steps to ensure that we remember Hashem at all times, and thereby merit having Him constantly “remember” us with goodness.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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