Monday, September 6, 2010

The Shofar and World Domination

The stars and planets appear to circle around the Earth from the perspective of the human standing on Earth. In truth, the planets are actually encircling (actually the orbits are elliptical)the sun, and the stars only appear to be moving because of the Earth's revolutions; nevertheless it does appear as if everything is circling us. As such, the construct of the "apparent" universe can be described as like an onion. Several concentric orbital circles with our planet in the middle.

The ancients described this "onion" as having nine basic circles. The first circle is that of the moon's orbit, then Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the stars. The last and ninth circle was considered to have no shape and was the "wheel" which was perceived to turn the other wheels below it. Since all of nature was perceived to come from the metaphysical world into the physical one through the realm of the stars, the movement of the ninth wheel was considered to control nature. (Rambam's letter to Marseilles)

Rabbeinu Bachye teaches that from an astrological sense each orbit has a corresponding musical intrument on this planet that expresses its resonance. He mentions that all nine are mentioned in Psalm 150 (the last Hallelukah in Pesukei D'Zimrah). They are (in backwards order since earlier I listed the orbits from closest to most distant and Rabbeinu Bachye understands the order in the Psalm to be from most distant to closest): Resounding trumpets (moon), clanging cymbals (Mercury), flute (Venus), organ (sun), Machol (Mars; no accurate translation is available as most translate this as dancing. Rabbeinu Bachye offers an alternative translation that it is an instrument. I must apologize because in a post quite sometime ago I accidentally translated it as dancing when suggesting a theory based on Rabbeinu Bachye's writings), drum (Jupiter), harp (Saturn), lyre (stars) and shofar (the master wheel). (Rabbeinu Bachye 15:20)

I find it fascinating to see that the shofar is considered to have the same resonance as that of the master wheel which is considered to "control" all of nature and life! On Rosh Hashana our prayers reflect and commemorate the day upon which Adam HaRishon was created. (Rosh Hashana 27a) It is on this day that we find ourselves given this wonderful mitzvah of shofar. It is almost as if Hashem Himself is telling us that He created this world and handed over the keys. We are now the ones to control what happens on the world. We blow the shofar and it is as if we are turning the master wheel. All of nature is affected based on the actions of mankind!!!

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