Behaalotcha: The Trumpets

What do the trumpets accomplish more than prayer?

HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l

Judaism HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
INN:Toras Avigdor

And when you go to war in your land against the adversary that oppresses you, and you shall sound with trumpets and you shall be remembered before Hashem your G-d.... And in the day of your joy... And you shall blow with the trumpets. .. (10:9-10)

What do the trumpets accomplish more than prayer?

The difference is in the amount of noise.

When a loud sound is used to express prayer, it causes a greater impression. Either for entreaty or for expression of gratitude, the excitement caused by the loud sound stimulates the hearts and also the thoughts of the hearers. Only for these purposes is enthusiasm justified: to cry out to Hashem in joy and thanksgiving, and to cry out to Hashem for help in time of need.

Thus, when Moshe descended from Sinai bearing the First Tablets, when the noise of the celebrants of the Golden Calf was heard, he said; “‘This is not the sound of outcry of power (i.e. gratitude to Hashem for victoryover the enemy) nor the sound of outcry of weakness (i.e. entreaty to Hashem for help against the enemy); it is (merely) a sound of (meaningless) outcry”(Shmos 32:18).

It is a waste of men’s natural resources to become excited or enthusiastic over anything which does not pertain to Hashem.

But in Hashem’s service, we sound the trumpets and all musical instruments (Tehillim 150:3-5), the Angels praise Him with a voice of great tumult (Yeshaiah 6:4;Yecheskeel 1:24), and all of Nature thunders to proclaim His greatness (Tehillim 93; 3-4).

We call out to Hashem in distress and in joy.
This, therefore, is the function of the Shofar of Rosh Hashanah, and thus, "Happy is the nation that knows the (message of the) T'ruah” (ibid. 89:16.)

Although the sound of distress (Truah) is not the same as the sound of thanksgiving (T’kiah),  both are for the purpose of reminding men of the King.

When "I find distress and sorrow. And I call out in the name of Hashem"(Tehillim 116:3-4); "I raise up a cup of salvations and I call out in the name of Hashem” (ibid. 116; 13). We call out to Hashem in distress and in joy.

If we utilise our salvations to call out to Him in our joy, He may not need to remind us of Him by sending distress upon us. Thus, men usually have the choice: do you call out to Hashem sufficiently in your happiness, or do you wait until distress arrives to cause you to remember to call out to Him.

(Journeyinto Greatness)