The Footsteps of Moshiach

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“After the first set of Shofar blasts, a second set is sounded – in order to confuse the Soton.” Rosh HaShanah 16b

On Rosh HaShanah we are obligated to hear the Shofar. To fulfill the Torah requirement, thirty sounds are sufficient. Yet, Chazal (our sages) instituted an extra series, adding many more blasts. Tosfos explains why: The Soton counts the sounds, and after the required amount is reached, he begins to wonder. Why are they continuing to blow? It must be a different sounding of the Shofar. It must be the Shofar that is sounded when Mosiach is being heralded. The Soton is fully aware that when Mosiach arrives, he is no longer needed, and will be destroyed, so this premonition fills him with fear. He is so overwhelmed by dread, that he can no longer bring complaints against the Jewish people.

Why would the Soton fall for this?

This Gemmerah is very difficult to understand. The Mesillas Yehashrim describes the Soton as a warrior learned in deceit. He is a wise and calculating moloch (angel) laying in wait to ensnare, man in sin. If so, how can the Soton fall for such an obvious trick? Doesn’t he realize that the same thing happened last year? Doesn’t he remember that the Jewish nation sounded the shofar and continued blowing, and Mosiach didn’t come? Why is the Soton overcome by fear?

The answer to this question can be understood from a different perspective.

Something hidden deep beneath the surface

When Albert Einstein was 5 years old and he was home sick in bed, an event was to occur that shaped the rest of his life. His father brought him a compass. He later described being so excited as he examined its strange powers that “he trembled and grew cold.” The fact that the magnetic needle behaved as if influenced by some hidden force rather than through the familiar mechanical method involving touch or contact produced a sense of wonder that motivated him throughout his life. As he later said, “Something deeply hidden, had to be behind things” (Einstein, His Life and Universe).

Albert Einstein at a tender young age understood that there are powerful forces that run this world. He later went on to define and harness those incredible forces, and change mankind’s reality.

In a similar sense the Soton is well aware of forces that HASHEM has created. The Soton understands the power of a single mitzvah. He is acutely aware of the potency of tshuvah. And he understands that which we don’t: that if the Jewish nation would just reach up in one earnest pull to HASHEM, this long and bitter exile would come to a crashing halt. Life as we know it would cease to be, we would enter an ear of joy and happiness, peace and posterity, where every person would see HASHEM.

One of the reasons that we find it hard to await for Mosiach’s arrival, is because the concept is so distant, so foreign. After all of these years he hasn’t come, after all of the trials that we as a nation have been through he hasn’t redeemed us, what right do we have to assume that he’ll come now?

The Soton sees things clearly

That is the answer to the question: the Yetzer Ha’rah doesn’t have a Yetzer Ha’rah. The Soton isn’t bound within a body, so he isn’t blinded by physicality. As a result he sees with total clarity, and he understands things that we don’t. He perceives the power given to man, and he recognizes how close Moshiach is. In fact, he can’t believe that Mosiach isn’t here. After all of these years, after all of these troubles and trials. How is it possible that he hasn’t come?

And so the Soton waits, waits with fear and trepidation, maybe this is the moment. Maybe this is the time when the Jewish nation will recognize its power.  And so when he hears the shofar blast he is filled with fear, not because he is foolish, but because he understands far better than we how close Mosiach is. He hears the footsteps of Mosiach.
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