• Rabbi Moshe Rothchild

Shofar So Good

This is a typical Yemenite Shofar

The Shofar is an instrument that is made from an animal's horn, but unlike other horns, the shofar has no mouthpiece.

The Shofar is one of the earliest instruments used in Jewish music, and is traditionally played during the month of Elul, which is the last month in the Hebrew calendar, and during the first ten days of the Hebrew year (the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur).

A person should hear at least 100 blasts from the Shofar on each day of Rosh Hashanah. The blowing of the Shofar is the only specific commandment for Rosh Hashanah.

A Kosher Shofar

The Shofar is preferably made of a bent Ram's horn, but it can also be made from the horns of other Kosher animals, including those of a goat or sheep.

Sounds of the Shofar

There are three sounds made with the shofar:

Tekiah - One long blast with a clear toneShevarim - Three shorter blastsTeruah - A series of quick blasts (nine or more)Tekiah Gedolah - a single unbroken blast, held as long as possible

The significance of the Shofar

The sound of the shofar arouses our souls to repentance. We blow the shofar to show that we accept God as our king, as it says in Tehillim (Psalms) 98:6, "With trumpets and the sound of the Shofar make a call out before the King, God".

In Biblical times the shofar was blown to announce an important event, such as the alarm of war, to announce the New Moon or to announce holidays.

The blast of a Shofar emanating from the thick cloud on Mount Sinai made the Israelites tremble in awe (Exodus) 19:16, "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there was thunder and lightning, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the Shofar extremely loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled." Thus when we hear the Shofar we are reminded to strengthen our commitment to the Bible.

The Torah describes the first day of the seventh month (Rosh Hashanah) as a zikron teruah (memorial of blowing) and as a yom teru'ah (day of blowing). This is understood to be referring to the sounding the shofar.

The Shofar also reminds us of the ram God brought to Abraham just as he tied down his son Isaac in preparation for the ultimate sacrifice.

End Times

“And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 27:13)

The shofar is also the instrument that will herald the arrival of the Messiah and the ingathering of the exiles.

There are numerous verses about the shofar in the Tanach (Hebrew Bible). I would encourage you to go look them up for yourself.


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