This may seem a little bit counterintuitive at first. If the month of Elul¹ is an awakening process culminating in Rosh Hashana [the Jewish celebration of the New Year], wouldn’t it make sense to blow more blasts of the Shofar [ram’s horn] on Erev Yom Teru’ah [the evening before “the day of shouting and horn blowing,” i.e., New Year’s Eve]? Chazal’s² [(our Jewish sages’)] famous answer is even more counterintuitive—“to fool the satan,” they wrote. By not blowing shofar on Erev Rosh Hashana [New Year’s Eve], we theoretically put the Yetzer Hara [the Evil Inclination] “at ease,” so that it won’t be ready to prosecute when it counts on the Day of Judgement.
For anyone with an even mildly skeptical bone in his body, this is a difficult answer to swallow, even on the most simplistic levels. Straightforward, even childish questions, begin to emerge — how could the Satan forget every year when Rosh Hashana is? Hasn’t he been around for long enough not to be fooled by this trick anymore? Even on a slightly more intellectual level, maybe we shouldn’t even be afraid of the satan –– if we go into Rosh Hashana feeling confident enough to tell Hashem [the LORD Adonai] that we are worthy of life, then we certainly shouldn’t have a problem inviting the prosecutor to the party!
Rav Binyamin Kwalwasser, the mashigach ruchani [religious supervisor] of Yeshivat Lev Hatorah [religious school] and a rebbe [religious teacher] of mine, offers a deeper insight into this idea of “fooling the prosecutor.” When speaking about the Satan, we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill red entity with horns and a spiked tail, but rather the Yetzer Hara [Evil Inclination] inside of us.
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Author: Tzvi Silver
Keywords: Adversary, Angel of darkness, Body of death, Christ tempted, Christ's temptation, Christ's temptation in the wilderness, Deliver us from evil, Devil, Devil and Jesus, Devil tempts Jesus, diabolos, Evil angel, Evil Inclination, Evil nature, Evil one, Good angel, Good nature, Hara Yetser, Ha-ra Yetser, Hara Yetzer, Ha-ra Yetzer, Hara Yezer, Ha-ra Yezer, Intentional misspelling, Intentionally misspelled, Jesus' temptation, Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, Jesus tempted, Jesus tempted by Satan, Jesus tempted by the devil, Jesus tempted in the wilderness, Jesus's temptation, Jot, Jot and tittle, Jots, Man's sinful nature, Mispelled word, Mispelling, Misspelling, Misspelled word, Origin of sin, Personification of evilPersonification of sin, Sin personified, Personification, Satan, Satan and Jesus, Satan tempts Christ, Satan tempts Jesus, Seducer, Sexual temptation, Sin, Sin in the flesh, Sin within, Sinful nature, Snatcher, Temptation, Temptation from within, Temptation in the wilderness, Tempted in the wilderness, Tempted of Satan, Tempted of the devil, Tempted sexually, Tempted to do evil, Tempts Christ, Tempts Jesus, The devil tempts Christ, The devil tempts Jesus, The Evil Inclination, The Evil One, Tittle, Two jots, Two yodhs, Two yods, Wicked one, Wilderness temptation, Wretched man, Yatsar, Yetsarim, Yetser ha ra, Yetser ha tov, Yetser ra, Yetser tov, Yetzer, Yetzer ha ra, Yetzer ha tov, Yetzer Hara, Yetzer ra, Yetzer tov, Yezer ha ra, Yezer ha tov, Yezer Hara, Yezer tov, Yod, Yodh, Shofar, Day of Judgment, Day of Judgement, Fooling Satan, Rosh Hashana, Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanna, Rosh Hashannah, Rosh Ha shana, Rosh ha shanah, Rosh ha shannah
Bible reference(s): Genesis 2:7, Genesis 4:7, Genesis 8:21, Deuteronomy 10:16, Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-7, Psalms 51:10, Proverbs 25:21, Isaiah 5:18, Isaiah 14:4-19, Isaiah 57:14, Ezekiel 28:11-17, Ezekiel 36:26, Joel 2:20, Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 6:13, Mark 1:13, Luke 11:4, Luke 4:2-13, John 8:44, John 13:2, Acts 5:3, Romans 7:17-24, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 12:7, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Galatians 1:4, Ephesians 4:27, Ephesians 6:11, Ephesians 6:16, 1 Thessalonians 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:26, Hebrews 2:14, James 4:7, 1 John 2:13-14, 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:10, 1 John 3:12, 1 John 5:18-19, Matthew 5:18, Revelation 20:10, Leviticus 23:24, Numbers 29:1, Ezekiel 40:1
Source: “Fooling the Satan inside of Us,” The Times of Israel: The Blogs, September 30, 2015.
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