…"a memorial of 'terua' [a blast of the ram's horn]" (Lev. 23:24)

And by way of the Truth, [the mystic teachings of the Kabbala], terua is that which has stood by our fathers and us, as it is said, "Happy is the people that know the terua" (Ps. 89:15), similar in meaning to that which it is written, "terua [the alarm of] war," (Jer. 4:19) for The Eternal is a man of war. If so, "…it shall be a day of terua unto you" should mean that the day that is set aside for terua [i.e., i.e. that the world is judged according to the attribute of judgment but it] will be to our relief [for we will be remembered in mercy]. Similarly, "a memorial of terua, a holy convocation" (Lev. 23:24) means that there will be a remembrance [of mercy] in the terua [the quavering sound which alludes to the attribute of judgment], and therefore it is a "holy convocation".

It is a day of judgment in mercy…

It was not necessary for Scripture to mention the shofar [i.e. that "it shall be a day of shofar unto you"], for the shofar is already alluded to in the word "day", [since the word "shofar" is symbolic of mercy, it is already hinted at in the word "day" which likewise symbolizes mercy], and the terua is on [that "day"], and thus it is a day of judgment in mercy, not a terua [i.e. alarm] of war.

It is for this reason that Scripture mentioned only the terua [but did not mention the tekiot, the accompanying plain sounds], because it is already a tradition received by our Rabbis which all Israel have seen [done] as far back as Moses our teacher, that each terua (quavering sound) has one plain accompanying sound before it and one after it. And why should Scripture mention the terua, and not mention the tekiot at all, neither in connection with the New Year nor the Day of Atonement [of the Jubilee year]?

But it is because the tekia [the plain accompanying sound] is the memorial, and it is the shofar [all alluding to the attribute of mercy], and the terua is as its name indicates [i.e. a reference to the attribute of judgment]. And because it [the terua] is wholly surrounded by mercy - an accompanying plain sound before it and one after it - therefore He said of those "who know the terua" that through righteousness they will be exalted, "for You are the glory of their strength."

Thus it is clear that everything depends upon repentance, but on the New Year He is concerned entirely with the attribute of justice and conducts His world [by that attribute], and on the Day of Atonement He is concerned entirely with the attribute of mercy. It is this that is expressed in the saying of the Rabbis [with reference to these solemn days]: "The King sits upon the throne of judgment etc." Thus the New Year is a day of judgment in mercy, and the Day of Atonement is a day of mercy in judgment.

[Adapted from Rabbi Dr. Charles Chavel's annotated translation.]