From the Rabbi:
There is a story told in the book Or Yesharim about the Baal Shem Tov who was preparing to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. He asked Rav Zev Kitzes, who would be calling out the shofar notes, to study the secret spiritual meanings of the shofar blasts. Rav Zev studied and wrote everything down on a piece of paper so that he could refer to his notes when necessary. However, when it was time to blow the shofar, Rav Zev noticed that he lost the paper and couldn’t remember any of the hidden meanings. Crying and broken hearted, Rav Zev called out the shofar blasts without any special thoughts in mind. After the shofar blowing, the Baal Shem Tov said, “In a king’s palace there are hundreds of rooms and on the door of each room is a different lock that requires a special key to open it. But there is a master key, an axe, which can open all of the locks.”
“So it is with the shofar. There are many gates in Heaven and many rooms within each gate. The different sounds of the shofar and their secret meanings are the keys to open each one of those gates. But there is a master key that can open them all. That is a broken heart. When a person sincerely breaks their heart before God, their prayers can enter through all of the gates and into all of the rooms of the celestial palace of God.”
According to Onkelos, if you listen carefully, the shofar’s Truah note sounds like a cry, and this teaches us that it is good to express our feelings and cry the way that the shofar does, exposing our broken hearts and showing that we are sincere in our prayers. Indeed, the Kotzker Rebbe says there's nothing more whole than a broken heart.
This year, may we be blessed to open our hearts in prayer, song, and connection, and truly attain wholeness and blessing this coming 5784.