The Gemarah in Masechet Rosh Hashanah asks why do we blow the shofar twice: once after the reading of the Torah and once during the Musaf prayer. The answer is quite astounding. We do this in order to confuse Satan. This answer leaves us with even more questions. Who is this Satan? Why is it important to confuse him (or it or her)? Since we have been blowing the shofar like this for so many years why didn’t Satan catch on after all this time? Join Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman as he explores the identity of Satan and answers to some of these questions.
The Satan: Lesson
One of the most mystifying passages in the Talmud is in the tractate Rosh Hashanah (16a-b). The Gemarah asks why do we blow the shofar twice during the Rosh Hashanah prayer service. The Gemarah answers that we do this “to confound Satan.”
This answer does address the initial question but it leaves us with even more question. How do we “confound Satan”? Who is this Satan? Does he have any sort of intelligence? If he does not then what sort of Satan is he? And if he does does possess intelligence then why is he confounded every year by the same prayer service?
So today we will see how the Maharal of Prague ( and others) explain this passage from the Gemarah.
Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.