The Prince and the Shofar by Rabbi Yosef Katzman
The New Year 5780 in the Hebrew numerical is written as ה’תש”פ.
My take on this numerical acronym is הי’ תהא שנת פה, this should be the year of the mouth.
Why did I choose this acronym over many other possibilities?
It’s in the meaning of the sounding of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
The holy Baal-Shem-Tov explains the Shofar this way:
A King once had a child and he wanted the Prince to get away from the sheltered life in the palace, so he sent him out with a lot of money and an entourage of assistants to go see the world and learn all the cultures and wisdom of the world, he wanted the Prince to be wise and knowledgeable.
Having all the money in the world at his disposal, the Prince traveled to the furthest corners away from his father’s palace, he came to places where they never ever heard of his father the King, he mingled with the people and learned their ways, and slowly but surely he rid himself from all the assistants, and he splurged all his money on self-pleasures and indulgences, and he connected with the lowest elements to become one like them.
The Prince completely forgot his origins and where he came from, he forgot his father the King, he forgot the glory of the palace, he forgot the etiquette and culture of royalty, and he even forgot the language of home and country and civilization.
Being in a desperate state, the prince suddenly remembered his roots, he remembered where he came from, he remembered the good old days and the comforts of home sweet home, and he decided to make the long journey back home to his father the King and to the palace.
Someway, somehow, the prince made it to the capital-city where his father held court, he made his way to the palace, and he expected to go right in, after all he is the prince!
But there were guards stationed at the palace gate, they had no idea who this derelict is, they saw a tramp dressed in rags who is trying to get into the palace, and of course their job was to keep him out.
He tried to tell them that he was the long lost prince, but nobody understood a word of what he was saying, he spoke a foreign language that nobody ever heard of, and his pleas and hand gesticulations were completely ineffective to get anybody’s attention to listen to him, to find out his true identity.
When the prince realized that there’s no hope, he started to sound off his voice on top of his lungs, he was crying and sobbing without uttering a word, until the sound of the voice reached the ears of the King, and the father recognized the voice of his only Prince.
The father immediately ordered that this crying person should be allowed into the palace, and when they saw each other they fell on each other crying and embracing like only a father and son can.
Says the Baal-Shem-Tov, this is the cry that we sound off when we blow the Shofar.
The children of G-d embark on a journey every year, we get bogged down with day-to-day trials and tribulations, and at times we may lose our way, to the point of becoming completely separated from our father the King.
We forget our father the King, we forget the love and the warmth of the palace, we forget our purpose and mission, we get lost in affairs and behavior not befitting that of a Prince, the only son of the Supreme King.
Until one day we remember!
We take a month of contemplation and introspection to take stock of who we truly are, we remember the King, our father, we remember the palace, we remember the mission that we squandered, and we slowly create a yearning to come back home, but sadly we don’t look anything like the prince, and we don’t even talk the language, and nobody will listen to us to allow us back into the Palace.
That’s why on Rosh Hashanah we cry out in a plain voice, we blow the Shofar tu, tu, tu, just voicing a sound without any words, and the King hears his Prince’s voice and He gets overcome with love to His Prince who is crying out without emitting a word; father oh father, please save me!
And G-d our father and King, embraces the long lost Prince, and takes him into His Palace, the true home of the Prince, and makes him warm, and gives him sustenance and good life, to continue a productive life, in happiness and joy with mission and purpose.
So as we welcome the New Year, remember that whatever we think of ourselves and our status, in the end of the day G-d is our father, and on Rosh Hashanah, when we sound off the Shofar, He will hear His Prince’s voice, and He will welcome us with open arms, hugs and kisses, and He will deliver for us and our loved ones, a Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year, 5780.
But let’s not omit the acronym of ה’תש”פ = הי’ תהא שנת פדותינו, may this be the year of our redemption with Moshiach, in the year, 5780.
Have a Princely Shabbos and a Happy New Year,
Gut Shabbos and Gut Yomtov