A Blessed Reminder; A Kindled Hope
Guest Contributor Seth Postel
"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation"
Why do the festivals in the seventh month merit the blowing of trumpets (see also Leviticus 25:9)? The text doesn't say. But there are a few clues. First, the number "7" is typically highlighted with special emphasis in the Torah. The first verse of the Hebrew Bible has seven words in Hebrew (Genesis 1:1). God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2), a verse incidentally that has 14 words in Hebrew! It makes sense that the seventh month, therefore, the month with three different special events (The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles), would commence with the blast of an alarm. Second, though the wind instrument is not actually identified in Leviticus 23:24 (the Hebrew just says "a reminder by a blast"), Leviticus 25:9 identifies the "shofar" as the choice instrument of the seventh month. Of interest, the only other day in the Torah marked with the blowing of a shofar is Israel's spectacular encounter with God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16, 19; 20:18). It would seem that the blowing of the shofar in the seventh month is intended to remind Israel (and God) of the day when we first met one another on a mountain. The sound of the shofar, however, not only brings the past to our remembrance. It also kindles in us the blessed hope of that future day, when Israel and God will meet once again on another mountain! "In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives" (Zechariah 14:4). And how fitting that all the nations of the world will celebrate the victory of this future day in the seventh month. "Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths" (Zechariah 14:16).