10 Reasons Why The Shofar Is Blown On Rosh Hashanah
We’re familiar with the sights, tastes, and sounds of Rosh Hashanah—the sweet sensation of honey on our tongues, the rhythmic swaying of the congregation in prayer, the cry of the shofar piercing the air. But have we ever stopped to think about the messages behind the deeds of the day?
While every commandment is essentially supra-rational – performed solely because it is the will and command of the Creator – our sages have found meaning and messages behind the commandments we fulfill. Let’s take a look at 11 reasons given for blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
1. The Return of the King
On Rosh Hashanah, the anniversary of creation, G‑d renews the creative energy that sustains our world. Once more, He is crowned as King of the universe. Just as trumpets are sounded at a coronation, the shofar announces G‑d’s continued kingship.
2. The Great Alarm Clock
On Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Ten Days of Repentance, we awake from our spiritual slumber. The shofar is like an alarm that calls on us to examine our deeds and correct our ways, as we return to G‑d.
3. The Reminder
The shofar was blown at Mt. Sinai when the Torah was given. On Rosh Hashanah, we blow the shofar to remind us to rededicate ourselves to Torah study and to remind G‑d of our original commitment and sincerity.
4. The Voice
The shofar reminds us of the voice of the prophets, who like the blast of the shofar called upon us to correct our ways, follow G‑d’s commandments, and act properly with others.
5. The Tears
The shofar’s cry reminds us of the cries and tears shed for the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, galvanizing us to bring the Messiah (Moshiach) and hasten the rebuilding of the Temple.
6. The Sacrifice
The shofar, made of a ram’s horn, reminds us of the binding of Isaac and the ram G‑d provided as a sacrifice in his place. By blowing the shofar, we remember the faith of the Patriarchs and our own capacity for self-sacrifice.
7. The Awe
The shofar fills us with awe and humility as we contemplate the true infinitude of G‑d, how He fills all space and time.
8. The Introspection
The shofar will be blown on the Day of Judgment when the Messiah (Moshiach) comes. We thus blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to remind us to examine our deeds and contemplate how we can improve them.
9. The Celebration
The shofar blast will signal the return of the Jewish people when Moshiach comes. We blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to remind us of G‑d’s salvation in our own lives.
10. The Unity
The shofar blast when Moshiach comes will herald a time of universal understanding and recognition of G‑d’s unity. We blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to remind us of G‑d’s unity.
Where is the Shofar Mentioned in the Bible?
The shofar is mentioned frequently in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and rabbinic literature. In the first instance, in Exodus 19, the blast of a shofar emanating from the thick cloud on Mount Sinai makes the Israelites tremble in awe. The shofar was used to announce the new moon and the Jubilee year.
How to Choose the Perfect Shofar?
Shofars: made from kudu or ram’s horn, natural with a textured body, or polished and refined, are always in the center of Jewish life.
Dark brown or beautiful light brown color strokes, plain, hand-painted or adorned with silver plates, the Shofar comes in various styles and designs.
There are so many shofar styles to choose from and there is a lot of pressure to make the right decision as to which to buy. Whether you’re searching for a wedding or holiday gift, or shopping for yourself. The Shofar is a key piece in the Jewish home and for family traditions. Therefore, we have sorted things out for you and created this special Shofar guide:
The most classic and safe option if you are gift shopping. The first reference to ram was in the book of Genesis, associated with the Akedah, the binding of Isaac. Today, it is blown for us to remember Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son before God. The ram’s horn shofar comes in polished, half-polished, and natural styles, as well as hand-painted and silver adorned. Most classic ram’s horn shofars have a dark brown and half-polished body.
An excellent and unforgettable Rosh Hashanah gift
Made according to Yemenite traditions, the kudu’s horn shofar is most remarkable in its elongated and curvy body. Made from the horns of an African antelope, the kudu shofar produces a strong brass sound, making it perfect for Rosh Hashanah and marking the end of Yom Kippur.
This polished kudu shofar is outstanding in brown tones and elongated body. Its sound will resonate in the congregation, reminding all that the year is past and a new one is beginning and the importance of keeping God’s mitzvot (commandments).
It is believed that in the Temple in Jerusalem, on fast days the principal ceremony was conducted with trumpets and shofars on the sides, made from ram’s horn and ornamented with silver.
Another wonderful design is silver ornaments on the shofar’s body. We can certainly see this wonderful silver menorah design and ornament on the ram’s horn shofar being a part of anythe ceremony.
Kudu shofars also come with silver ornaments and make for an outstanding decorative piece for a traditional Jewish home. This polished Yemenite kudu shofar is embellished with silver ornaments of menorah and grapevines
Our line of 3D shofars come in different motifs, e.g. Jerusalem, Old City, Judah, Evengalistic and more.
Whether you are searching for a wedding gift or holidays gift, or interested in replacing your shofar with a better and improved model for the holidays to come, remember this: first decide the purpose of the shofar and affect you wish it to have on your loved ones as they admire it in your living room or as you welcome Rosh Hashanah.
Includes Oryx, Ram & Kudu Shofars
When is the Shofar Blown?
The Torah refers to Rosh Hashanah as the “day of the [shofar] blast.” Since Rosh Hashanah is two days long, we need to hear the shofar blown during the daytime hours of both of those days—unless the first day falls on Shabbat, in which case we blow the shofar only on the second day.
Although the shofar may be blown until sunset, the traditional time for shofar blowing is during morning services, after the Torah has been read, before the Musaf prayer (additional service recited on Shabbat and holidays). It is customary to blow the shofar several more times during the Musaf service.
Shofars for Kids
Children intuitively know that the Shofar is an integral expression of Jewish identity. So, of course, they want to own a Shofar, to learn to blow it and imitate the sounds they hear in the Synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. A Shofar makes a beautiful Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah or Chanukah gift. It forms a connection with the past and strengthens children’s ties with their precious heritage.
Blowing a Shofar is a bit like blowing a bugle. Unlike woodwind instruments, the Shofar, like the bugle, has no reed. The sound depends on how you purse your lips, and on the acoustic qualities of the mouthpiece and the horn.
How can you make a sound? – Make your lips vibrate just as you would for blowing a trumpet or bugle. If you don’t know how to do this, simply close your lips together as hard as you can and blow through them, until you get a vibrating sound (like a “raspberry” sound that children make).
Many experts use the side of their mouth to blow the Shofar, in order to get the right sound. You will need to adjust your lips so the sound resonates properly depending on the physical construction of the particular Shofar. Once you have found a resonance point, the sound can be wonderful.
What are the Ritual Shofar Sounds?
These sounds or calls are made with the Shofar for Jewish ritual use:
- T’key-ah – A long blast beginning in musical mid-range and finishing as a high note.
- Shvarim – Three staccato blasts. The duration of all three together is the length of a T’key-ah.
- True-ah – A long ululating “wailing” sound. There are two main variants of the True-ah. One tradition uses nine separate short calls, in rapid sequence. The other is a single long call with nine wavering ululations.
- T’key-ah Gdolah (Big Long T’key-ah) – is a T’key-ah that you continue as long as you can. It comes at the end of the series of calls. T’key-ah Gdolah is usually the last Shofar call. It is a very long blast, used usually to announce the end of the holy day of Yom Kippur. Some Shofar blowers can hold a T’key-ah Gdolah for a minute or more. This dramatic call is the mark of a good Tokeiah (expert blower) and requires a lot of practice to develop your wind.
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SHANA TOVA Y’ALL