With Rosh Hashanah passed and Yom Kippur quickly approaching, we may come to forget one of the primary goals of the Teshuva and repentance of these days: to bring the Mashiach and build the Bait Hamikdash. We must never forget that the ultimate goal is not just to survive the year to come, but to make it a year full of Torah and Mitzvot so that next year will be spent not in Shul, but in the Bait Hamikdash. With that in mind, we must now see how one of the main aspects of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Shofar blasts, would change if blown in the Mikdash.
The Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 26b) says that in the Mikdash on Rosh Hashanah, we blow the Shofar together with 2 חצצרות, trumpets. The Gemara asks, however, that תרי קולי לא משתמט , one cannot distinguish one sound from many, so how can one be יוצא hearing the Shofar if he cannot distinguish the sound from the accompanying ones? The Gemara answers that the Shofar sound was blown longer so that at the end all one would hear was the Shofar sound.
The Gemara (ibid.) also tells us that on Yom Kippur of the יובל year, the Shofar was sounded in the Sanhedrin, which was in the Mikdash, freeing all the slaves. Rav Soloveitchik, cited in the אגרות הגר"ז, asks why do we not blow the חצצרות on Yom Kippur duringיובל also? He answers that on Rosh Hashanah, the Shofar sound is a תפילה (see Rashi ibid.), and the חצצרות, whose תפילה nature is shown by the fact that we blow them when we go to war, are only blown when their תפילה accompanies the תפילה of the שופר, which only exists on Rosh Hashanah.
However, if the חצצרות sound was not just a trumpet sound but a תפילה as well, then one might think we need to be able to be able to hear them to be יוצא. Even if you suggest that the Mitzva is a Mitzva to blow (מצות תקיעה), not a Mitzva to hear (מצות שמיעה), you still need to hear the sound to be יוצא the blowing through שומע כעונה. There are three possible answers to this question. Assuming that all you need is שומע כעונה, then it may be that you need not hear the actual קול, but rather you just need to know exactly when the קול was made, to synchronize the שמיעה with the עונה. We see a similar concept by Rav Zvi Pesach Frank zt”l’s response on the question of hearing the Megila over the phone/microphone. He says that since the Mitzva is to read the Megila, and we are only able to fulfill the Mitzva through שומע כעונה, then all you need is a simultaneous reproduction of the Megila reading to synchronize the שמיעה with the עונה, which the phone/microphone provides. Another answer could be that the Mitzva to hear the חצצרות is just to hear them together with the Shofar, which is obviously fulfilled. The third answer could be that the Mitzva of the חצצרות is just a Mitzva on the Congregation, not on the person, so every individual need not hear the חצצרות sound by itself.
May all of Klal Yisrael have a גמר חתימה טובה, and may we hope that by this time next year we will be practicing these Halachot in the Mikdash.
This article was adapted from a Shiur given by Rabbi Reichman at TABC on September 13, 2001. The three answers presented were offered by Rabbi Reichman and Josh Aron, this author, and Zevi Goldberg.