Even though the blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah is simply derived from the Torah, it hints at a deeper message, as if to say: "Wake up, you sleepers, from your sleep, stir yourselves, you slumberers, from your slumber! Examine your conduct, turn back in teshuvah, and remember your Creator!" This is directed at those who forget the truth because of the vanities of the times, who waste all of their years in error, by pursuing vanity and idleness, which are of neither benefit nor of salvation. So care for your souls, improve your ways and your tendencies, let each one of you abandon your evil path and your impure thoughts!
It is, therefore, necessary for every person to see themselves throughout the whole year as if they were evenly balanced between innocence and guilt, and to look upon the entire world as if it were evenly balanced between innocence and guilt; And thus, if one were to commit just one sin, one would tip the balance and bring the whole world to the side of guilt, and be the cause of its destruction; but if one were to perform one mitzvah, behold, one would tip the balance for onesself and for the whole world to the side of merit, and bring about one's own salvation and liberation, and everyone else's - as it is said: "But the righteous is an everlasting foundation" (Prov. 10. 25), this is the one by whose righteousness tipped the whole world to virtue and saved it.
Because of this, it became the custom of the whole of Israel to increase in giving tzedakah, in good deeds and in the performance of mitzvot during the days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, over and above what they do during the whole year. It also became a universal custom to rise early during those ten days, to deliver in the synagogues prayers of supplication and submission till the dawn of the day.