The Vilna Gaon was of the opinion that one must rejoice upon hearing the kol of the shofar since it is a time of coronating Hashem as the king. The Ari Hakodesh on the other hand held that one must cry while hearing the sounds of the shofar as a result of teshuva that he is presently experiencing. Both experiences are true and should be undergone as we shall now explain.

The Jewish world has a traditional saying that Chassidim like to relate miraculous stories about their Rebbe because this way they will be Chassidim by a big Rebbe. This is one way to make yourself feel important without the self work and toil. I would like to suggest that the opposite is true as well. By making yourself a big Chasid in avodas Hashem, that will make your Rebbe an even bigger Rebbi since he is now a Rebbe over righteous Chassidim.

The same concept applies to Hashem on Rosh Hashanah. On this first day of the year our avodah is to coronate Hashem as king over His people. If the people who accept Hashem as Melech are qualitative of character and virtuous, are willing to give up their lives for Hashem’s honor, then their acceptance of Hashem as their King gives great honor to Hashem who is supported by such Chassidim. Not so if they compromised and were lax in their service of the king and looked for excuses and heterim to free themselves from their obligations, and constantly failed to heed His directions and mitzvos. In such a case such servants decrease the kovod of the king instead of increasing it. They cause the nations of the world to proclaim what king of king would cherish a nation who detracts from his kovod by disobeying his laws.

This concept is echoed by the incredible Medrash that says that one of the reasons there is a delay of Moshiach’s coming is because if he comes he will be accompanied by a big Chillul Hashem. The gentile nations will exclaim “What! These people are from your Chosen Nation? I worked with him in business and he was a big crook and cheat!”  It is therefore that Hashem is procrastinating bringing him. Can you imagine that Hashem is holding back the geulah because of the future desecration that will come with it.

The blowing of the shofar is a time when one coronates the Melech Haolam. If he really gives some thought to this incredible mitzvah, he will become embarrassed and ashamed of his behavior. Hashem is so good to him in every way every second of the day, yet his own conduct does not reflect the gratitude deserved to be given in return for such chesed and kindness bestowed upon him daily. As the Rambam writes in Hilchos Teshuvah, that the purpose of the shofar is to serve as a wake up call for all those who are spiritually asleep, to awaken them to seriously improve and upgrade their relationship with Hashem. When one recognizes his disloyalty to Hashem who is now granting him with the ultimate kovod to coronate Him as king, he should become broken hearted and spirited after reviewing his inventory of spiritual deposits and withdrawals. This is what the Ari means that when hearing the shofar blasts one should feel remorse over his spiritual assets and their lacking. However, after the broken heart and his teshuvah one should feel the joy of committing to change for the better in order to coronate Hashem with a greater kovod because he is now an upgraded servant. This is what the Gaon means that one should rejoice while listening to the blowing of the Shofar. For after teshuvah the passuk says ולישרי לב שמחה the straightened heart has simcha. One should be so overjoyed that now he can be an ambassador of kovod for the Rebbono Shel Olam.

This idea is alluded to in the last perek of Tehillim. הללוהו בתקע שופר הללוהו בנבל וכנור הללוהו בתף ומחול. The blowing of the shofar is praise to Hashem for with this action one coronates Hashem as the king of kings. This mitzvah involves two emotions, one of teshuvah and the other of simcah. The first which is the emotion concerning teshuvah is described by Dovid Hamelech as  הללוהו בנבל וכנור. The word  נבל means wither and rotten. When the wake up call occurs with the shofar one begins to realize that until now he was living in a deep slumber not recognizing that his lifestyle distant from Hashem was rotting and withering his connection with Hashem. At this recognition he begins the כנור  process of rectification which is teshuvah. The word כנור consists of כור which means a purifying furnace, and the letter נ means kingship (Tehillim 72,17). One feels the remorse over his past and commits to change and rid himself from all his impurities that he absorbed during the past year. Subsequent this process, he rejoices in the fact that he is now dedicated to become an exceptional ambassador to the king of kings and he is ecstatic over his new mission.

These two emotions aroused by the shofar are alluded to by the Torah calling the day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah (Bamidbar 29.1). For the word תרועה has two meanings. One definition is from the root רע  which means to break as found in the paasuk תרועם בשבט ברזל (Tehillim 2,9). The second interpretation is from the same root which means the exact opposite, to connect as found in the passuk ואהבת לרעך כמוך . The shofar possesses the duel task of awakening one to teshuvah which shatters his living of a fantasy life, and then afterwards it fosters a reconnection to Hashem as a Baal Teshuvah and a righteous ambassador representing Hashem’s kingdom.

This is hinted in the passuk עלה אלקים בתרועה  which we say before the Tekias Shofar. That through the teruah of the shofar Hashem is elevated because we became elevated through it and now we have become  greater caliber chassidim of Him.

Rav Simcah Bunim from Peshischa set forth a very wise fundamental for the Yamim Noraim. In the heavenly court they will not ask a person why he sinned. The gates of excuses are always open and one can come up with 101 answers to this question. It could very possibly be that the court will agree with some of his claims. Rather, the one question that they will ask upon which he will not have an answer, is why then did he not do teshuvah especially during the opportune time of Aseres Yemai Teshuvah. This omission is what they are makpid about in shamayim.

We see this from the first sin in the world. When Adam Harishon ate from the Aitz Hadaas the Medrash says (13,3) that prior to Hashem’s chasing Adam from Gan Eden He approached him saying   אפילו עכשו עשה תשובה ואני מקבלךEven now do teshuvah and I will receive you. We see from here that Hashem’s claim against Adam that resulted in his exile from Gan Eden was not the actual transgression of eating from the Aitz Hadaas because for that he had a bogus excuse by blaming his wife. Hashem’s banishment of Adam from Gan Eden came about because he failed to grab the opportunity of teshuvah which Hashem placed in front of him and for this reason alone he was condemned.

These two actions are hinted to in the opening passuk of the parsha. אתם נצבים היום כולכם לפני ה’ אלקיכם the Zohar Hakadosh says that the word היום  refers to the day of Rosh Hashanah. The word נצבים can be translated as covered as we find the root word צב in Bamidbar 7,3. On Rosh Hashanah during the day that is called Yom Teruah the shofar makes us run “for cover” just like Adam and Chava after they sinned (Bereishis 3,8). We too seek hiding from our shame after realizing the deteriorated state of our relationship with the Creator, of which only today we were made cognizant. However, the wordנצבים  also means the opposite of cowering but rather to stand upright and unabashed. This interpretation displays the gleeful acceptance of Hashem’s malchus after experiencing the shame of the teshuvah process. On Rosh Hashanah we experience the two emotions of נצבים through the shofar. That is why we find that the gematriah of the first seven letters of the opening passuk אתם נצבי is equal to בהשופר.