In this way, it is not only our minds and hearts that are involved. We stand in awe, our whole body intent on the call of the shofar. We watch the congregation and listen to the various blasts of the ram's horn, which make an impression on our entire being.
This is the sound – or series of sounds – that decrees the sovereignty throughout the world of the King of Kings.
Together with the long, drawn out sound of the tekiah, we listen to the sound of the teru'ah. This is a tone that rises and falls, reminiscent of siren that warns of impending danger. It calls us to make a spiritual accounting.
By nature, man becomes addicted to habit. There is a distinct advantage in this tendency. Should we be required, each day anew, to decide on our schedule and our routine of activity for the next twenty-four hours, we would soon be exhausted by the strain. Habit and routine are time and energy savers. They help us avoid making decisions again each day. We prefer to rely on the tried and tested, because this way we exempt ourselves from the burden of weighing all the options available to us choosing one of them. It is more convenient to avoid surprises and the unknown and untested.
However, a person who becomes addicted to a given routine runs a risk of acquiring negative habits before he is even aware of what went wrong. A one-time failing can become an established habit; once it is part of our routine, we tell ourselves: "That's how things are; what can I do about it?"
This attitude of "That's life" leads an individual to feel that he need not answer for his shortcoming; it's just a "fact of life" rather than a personal responsibility. This is one of the main weapons in the arsenal of the yetzer horo, the evil inclination, and he uses it to trip man up or prevent him from making spiritual progress.
The sounding of the shofar comes to arouse us from the lethargy induced by habit. It comes to provide a minute of truth, of sincere refection: Where do I stand? What is happening in my life? Where am I Headed?"
A few seconds of honest thought can be enough to bring about a revolution, a personal transformation, if a person is prepared to acknowledge his situation as it truly is.
This is one of the purposes of the sounding of the shofar each Rosh Hashanah. It gives us an interval to reflect that enables us to start our new year with both feet planted firmly on a foundation of truth.