The Shofar and its Biblical Purpose

The Shofar (שופר‎) is a Jewish instrument most often made from ram horn, or Kudu horn, though it can also be made from the horn of a sheep or goat. It makes a trumpet-like sound and is traditionally blown on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Talmud tells us that the horns of all kosher animals are to be used in making a Kosher Shofar. It is my experience that the best sounding shofars are the Shofar from Israel.

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Sounding of the Shofar

The Shofar is often used as an instrument of spiritual warfare -For example, the Torah states, “When you go to war in your land against an adversary who is oppressing you, you are to sound an alarm with Shofars; then you will be remembered before the LORD your God and you will be saved from your enemies”, -(Numbers 10:9). 

There has been a movement lately to sound the Shofar at evening. Many are being led to blow the shofar each day at sunset and pray until this plague has been lifted from the world. They are quoting the scripture from Numbers 10:9 and sounding the Shofar.

A Call To Worship

When you hear the Shofar, it is beckoning you to come before Adonai to worship. It instills in you a deep sense of the Lord. Praise the Lord and Blow the Shofar as a call to worship as it is written in the Book of Psalms:

“Shout for joy to Adonai, all the earth!
Break forth, sing for joy, sing praises!
Sing praises to Adonai with the lyre,
with the lyre and melodious music!
With trumpets and the sound of the Shofar,
shout for joy before the king, Adonai!”, –(Psalm 98:4-6).

Symbolism of the Shofar

There are many symbolic meanings associated with the Shofar and one of the best known has to do with the Akeidah, when Adonai asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Recounting the story from Genesis 22:1-24 when Abraham raising the knife to slay his son, only to have Adonai stay his hand and bring his attention to a ram in a nearby thicket caught by its horns. Abraham sacrificed the ram instead. Because of this story, some midrashim claim that whenever the Shofar is blown, Adonai will remember Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son and will, therefore, forgive those who hear the Shofar’s blasts. In this way, just as the Shofar blasts remind us to turn our hearts towards repentance, they also remind Adonai to forgive us for our trespasses.

The Breath of Life

The Shofar is also associated with the idea of crowning Adonai as King on Rosh Hashanah. The breath used by the Tokea to make the sounds of the Shofar are also associated with the Breath of Life, which Adonai first breathed into Adam upon the creation of humanity. This is also known as the Charisnumah. The direct co-relation of the Tokea, the sounding of the Shofar, is to be understood that this sound resonates with the Charisnumah, the Breath of Life. This is why it has been said that the sound of the Shofar goes deep within your soul. Some even say that the sound awakens your soul and brings you closer to Adonai.

Historical Use of the Shofar

In terms of its Jewish history, the Shofar is often mentioned in the Tanakh, the Torah, Talmud and in rabbinic literature. It was used to announce the start of holidays, in processions, a call to worship, and even to mark the start of a war. Its historical relevance in the life of a devout believer is prominent. Today the Shofar is widely used by Jewish people, Christians and Messianic Believers. It is a powerful tool in the hands of any believer, worshipper or devout follower of Adonai. Try one today and see how this instrument touches your soul!  

 

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