The Alter Rebbe writes in his Siddur in the “Seder HaTekiot": "After the Torah reading (Kriat HaTorah) one prepares oneself for the blowing of the shofar and says this chapter (kapital) (Psalms: Mizmor 47) seven times”
Simply, the Alter Rebbe is saying two separate things:
1) “prepare oneself for the blowing of the shofar”
2) “say this chapter seven times”
[and this is especially so, since the source for these two things is in two different places.
For the source of: “prepare oneself for the blowing of the shofar” is in Pri Eitz Chaim and Mishnat Chassidim and these two places do not mention saying Mizmor 47;
And the source for saying Mizmor 47 is in Siddur Arizal. But there, there is no mention at all
(even though the Kavanot (mystical devotions) are brought there)
about the preparation for Tekiot Shofar - "After the Torah reading one prepares oneself for the blowing of the shofar”]
Also, one must examine, why does the Alter Rebbe state plainly: “prepare oneself for the blowing of the shofar” without explaining how to prepare?
In Pri Eitz Chaim and Mishnat Chassidim it continues: (“prepare oneself etc. for the blowing of the shofar”) to awaken the Zeir Anpin (the emotive faculties of the soul) etc.” And it specifies the general kavanah (According to Sod – the esoteric, mystical part of Torah) of Tekiot Shofar.
From this it is understood that the preparation (“prepare oneself”) is connected to the kavanah of Tekiot Shofar, that one has to prepare oneself in such a way that through the blowing of the shofar and one’s Kavanot, Zeir Anpin is awakened, etc.
And if the reason that the Alter Rebbe omitted Tekiot Shofar in the Siddur, is like his general custom of not stating the kavanot of the Arizal in his Siddur, because they are not of a general nature for everyone - then he also should not have brought the wording of Pri Eitz Chaim and Mishnat Chassidim (regarding) “prepare oneself “;
(on the other hand) if he felt that Tekiot Shofar is special and that the kavanot of Tekiot Shofar are applicable to everyone, he should have stated the kavanot (at least , generally) exactly (as written) (Like we find in the Haggadah of Pesach, where the Alter Rebbe states the kavanot of spilling the wine when saying the Plagues etc)
2. My grandfather in his Sefer “Shar HaKollel” (on the Siddur of the Alter Rebbe) explains that the Alter Rebbe’s statement: “prepare oneself for the blowing of the shofar” – “the preparation is [this itself] that one should say this Mizmor seven times” [meaning that the “and” (of “and he says”) is an “and” that is an explanation (of the previous statement) .
For the reason for saying this Mizmor is because through (saying) it one transforms the character of Judgment to the character of Mercy (as is explained there in the Siddur of the Arizal, and is based on the words of the Midrash). And this is the effect of Tekiat Shofar, as explained in Pri Eitz Chaim, that through Tekiat Shofar, one “elevates and rectifies the judgments and severities of the name Elokim (G-d’s name signifying judgment)”. Thus, the saying of this Mizmor, seven times is one of the kavanot of Tekiat Shofar.
And one could add an explanation in this, by prefacing a general aspect in conjunction with the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur. For even though, he established the Nusach HaTefilah (the "text" of the prayers) according to the kavanot of the Arizal, so that it should be exact according to Kabalah, (in addition to being punctuationally and grammatically correct (al pi HaDikduk vehalashon)), nevertheless, he did not place in his Siddur that actual kavanot, because they are not of a general nature (as above)
In general this implies that the aspect of kavanot is only suited to special individuals (who know how to intend these kavanot).
But it’s more apparent to say that, that which the Alter Rebbe established the text (nusach) of the prayers (which is a text that is equal for everyone) according to the kavanot of the Arizal, is because that, through actually praying with this nusach,
(Even by those that do not know about the aspect of kavanot)
one actually draws down the effluences etc that are in the kavanot of the Arizal.
And the Alter Rebbe arranged the text of the prayers according to the kavanot of the Arizal, specifically for this reason, so that every Jew should be connected to the aspects of these kavanot.
And one could say that this is like what the Alter Rebbe writes in his laws of Talmud Torah (Torah study) concerning studying the mystical parts of Torah (sod), that: “every soul needs for its rectification to study Pardes (The Four Levels of Torah Interpretation) etc. (one) needs to reincarnate until one understands and comprehends all that his soul is able to understand of the knowledge of Torah, both in the exoteric laws (Pishtei Halachot) as well as the hints (remazim) and derashot (homilies) and esoterics (sodot) “
Thus, each soul must study the esoteric parts of Torah - .
And similar to this, and perhaps even more so, is the aspect of kavanot in prayer according to Sod, which is suitable for every person. But most people (who do not know how to actually intend the kavanot) are suited only to the “effect”. For by praying with this nusach, these aspects are produced.
And the words of the Rebbe Rayatz are known that: “It is known and accepted . . that those whose knowledge is not sufficient to intend because of a lack of knowledge (in these matters) etc., that it is sufficient for them to intend a general kavana: that their prayer should be heard before Him, may He be blessed, inclusive of all the kavanot that are explained in the books of kabala”
And similar to this, is the aspect of the kavanot of Tekiat Shofar,for they are suited to everyone. But the effect of these aspects – for the majority (who do not know how to intend all the kavanot) is produced through saying Mizmor 47 in Psalms seven times.
3. Yet, it is difficult to explain the Alter Rebbe’s intent this way. Because:
1) The simple wording “prepare oneself. . and say” implies that they are two separate things.
And more importantly:
2) Since according to the above (statement) there is no other preparation besides saying Mizmor 47 in Psalms seven times – he should only have stated the main point regarding actual practice: “say this chapter (kapital) seven times”. Why does he need to preface, with words from another source: “prepare oneself”?
And even if one would say, that this wording stresses that by saying the Mizmor, that that the kavanot of Tekiat Shofar are effected (as above) – what purpose does this emphasis serve in a Siddur that is equal for all people? We do not find in other places in the Siddur that the Alter Rebbe hints how the kavanot are effected – he just established the nusach of the prayer in accordance with it.
It is logical to say, that intent of the Alter Rebbe’s plain wording: “prepare oneself”, is not that it refers to the preparation connected with the kavanot of Tekiat Shofar of Pri Eitz Chaim and Mishnat Chassidim (which are not placed in the Siddur). But, rather, like the simple words (imply), that the person blowing the Shofar (Baal Tokeiah) must prepare himself for Tekiat Shofar. And this is also citied in the Mateh Ephraim concerning the custom to do a “full preparation” (Hachana Rabbah) for Tekiat Shofar. And the Alter Rebbe does not specify any particular kavana, since this is not equal for all persons. For there are many ways that one can awaken a person and prepare him for Tekiat Shofar (see Mateh Ephraim where many of them are cited), and each person according to his level, must prepare himself for Tekiat Shofar.
4. But this still does not answer the question – Why only here, by Tekiat Shofar, does the Alter Rebbe write that one has to prepare oneself for fulfilling the Mitzvah? For the complete fulfillment of every Mitzvah properly is when there is proper kavana (For Mitzvot without kavana are like a body without a soul). Nevertheless, we do not find that the Alter Rebbe wrote in the siddur, for other Mitzvot (like Tztitzit, Tefilin, Lulav and others), that one has to prepare oneself before performing the Mitzvah.
Seemingly, one could explain that it is like the Rambam states that: “Although the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is a Divine decree, nevertheless, there is a hint in doing so. It is as if it tells us: Sleepers, arise from your slumber, and those who are dozing, awake from your lethargy. Review your actions, repent your sins etc”.
For one could scrutinize, why does Rambam cite the words of an Agadah (Midrash) in the sefer HaYad (Mishneh Torah) which is a book of laws? It is apparent, seemingly, that this”hint” concerns Halacha. For Tekiat Shofar is not just a physical Mitzvah (hearing the sound of the Shofar) but it also a Mitzvah of the heart. The sound of the Shofar must awaken a person to do Teshuva, and without this, one is missing the essential fulfillment of the Mitzvah. [[And this is like (but not exactly) the words of the Bach, which are known, regarding Tztitzit, Tefilin and Sukah, that the fulfillment of these Mitzvot is dependent upon their kavana (intent)]. And for this reason, the Alter Rebbe writes that one must prepares oneself for Tekiat Shofar, because without this one is lacking in the essential fulfillment of the Mitzvah.
But it is difficult to explain it so. For we do not find in the Halachic books, that without kavana and awakening, one is missing the fulfillment of Tekiat Shofar. And even according to Rambam it is difficult to explain so. For, if that is the case, Rambam should have brought this point in the laws of Shofar. Yet since he brings it in the laws of Teshuva, and not in the laws of Shofar, this proves that this “hint” is not a part of the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Tekiat Shofar.
5. One could explain by prefacing a general puzzlement in the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur:
In the kabala books it is written that before each Mitzvah, one needs to say: "Leshaim Yichud Kudshah brich Hu uShechintei" (for the sake of the union of the Holy One Blessed Be He with His Shechinah). And in many siddurim this text is stated before fulfilling many Mitzvot. Yet in this, we find a baffling thing in the Alter Rebbe’s siddur. For he did not establish saying "Leshaim Yichud” before fulfilling each Mitzvah (as we see by the Mitzvot that are brought in his siddur). Yet, on the other hand, he did establish saying it before (the prayer Boruch SheOmar.
And it is explained, that: “We say ‘Leshaim Yichud’ before the (morning) prayer and this applies, the whole day, when fulfilling Mitzvot”
But this requires explanation: If this (saying ‘Leshaim Yichud’) is a conduct that is equal to all people, why did he not establish saying it before performing each Mitzvah. And if it is not a conduct that is equal to all people, why did he establish saying it before Boruch SheOmar?
One could, therefore, say according to what was mentioned previously (par.2) that, in essence, the Alter Rebbe holds that the aspect of kavanot (even) according to Sod is suited for all persons. But this is only regarding the “effect”. For each soul was given the power to effect the aspect and effluences that are explained in the kavanot of the Mitzvot, even though t he act of the kavanot is not something which is equal to all.
Accordingly, one could also say, that the Alter Rebbe holds that one must say “Leshaim Yichud’ at least once a day, in order to effect the " Yichud Kudshah brich Hu uShechintei" ( union of the Holy One Blessed Be He with His Shechinah) in fulfilling each Mitzvah throughout the entire day. For even though it is not something which is equal to all, to say “Leshaim Yichud’ when fulfilling each specific Mitzvah throughout the entire day, it is, nevertheless, within each person’s ability to intend this (at least, according to each person’s level) at the time of prayer. And his saying and intending this at the beginning of the day is an ongoing activity (peula nimshechet) for all the things that are done during the day, as above. Therefore, he established saying it in the morning prayers, and even there, at the beginning of the prayers before Boruch SheOmar
6. According to this preface, one can also explain the Alter Rebbe’s viewpoint regarding the kavanot of Tekiat Shofar:
That which the Alter Rebbe states that one must prepare oneself to Tekiat Shofar and that it is not sufficient just hearing the Shofar sounds, is understandable. Because in the siddur of the Alter Rebbe that he established according to Sod, the aspect of preparation and the kavana of Mitzvot is very pertinent. But since this is a siddur that is equal for all people, therefore, even in this aspect, the Alter Rebbe took the path that is equal for all people, and did not obligate the aspect of preparation before each Mitzvah, but (did so) only for Tekiat Shofar.
And just as regarding every day, the Alter Rebbe established saying “Leshaim Yichud’ once, in the beginning of the day, that effects the entire day, as above, a similarity exists for the entire year. For with this general mitzvah of Tekiat Shofar, at the beginning of the year, one requires preparation. And through this, it effects the entire year.
For it is explained in many places, that Tekiat Shofar is a general mitzvah that affects man’s divine service throughout the entire year. For Rosh Hashanah id called “rosh” (head of the year and not beginning of the year) because it is like the head which directs the entire body. So too, the Avodah of man during the time of Rosh Hashanah affects his service during the entire year. And in Rosh Hashanah itself, “the Mitzvah of the day is with the Shofar” which is the main Mitzvah and (Avodah) of Rosh Hashanah. Therefore, even though the aspect of kavana and preparation in each Mitzvah is not something that that is equal for all people. Nevertheless, for Tekiat Shofar, which is at the level of “Rosh” for the entire year, there must be an outward display of preparation by all Jews.
Accordingly, one can explain, at a deeper level, the wording of the Alter Rebbe: “one prepares oneself for the blowing of the shofar” without specifying what the preparation is – For this is not only because it is dependent upon each person according to his level ( as above par.3), but, rather, because it is fitting to the subject of the Avodah of Tekiat Shofar, which is the first Avodah, as being the “rosh”, for man’s divine service for the entire year. And the subject of that “beginning” (reishit) is – accepting the yoke of G-d's heavenly sovereignty, an all-inclusive acceptance of the yoke. In other words, the day’s service is not just to accept good intentions to better oneself in specific matters in Torah, Avodah and in Gemillat Chassadim, but it is giving oneself over inclusively to G-d from the depth of the soul.
And this is why the Alter Rebbe wrote “prepare oneself to Tekiat Shofar” yet did write any specific preparation, for this is the entire subject of Tekiat Shofar – a general inclusive preparation for serving G-d throughout the entire year, above particulars.
(mSichat Shabbat Parshat Haazinu 5731)