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Shofar Shofar-16-Zachi-Evenor.jpg
Shofar Frank-oil-shofar (14088680963).jpg
Blowing the shofar Blowing The Shofar on Rosh Hashanah (4974050267).jpg
Blowing the shofar

A shofar (pron. /ʃˈfɑːr/ , from Hebrew :  Loudspeaker.svg שׁוֹפָר  , pronounced  [ʃoˈfaʁ] ) is an ancient musical horn typically made of a ram's horn, used for Jewish religious purposes. Like the modern bugle, the shofar lacks pitch-altering devices, with all pitch control done by varying the player's embouchure. The shofar is blown in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and at the very end of Yom Kippur, and is also blown every weekday morning in the month of Elul running up to Rosh Hashanah. [1] Shofars come in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on the choice of animal and level of finish.

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Horn (instrument) instrument

A horn is any of a family of musical instruments made of a tube, usually made of metal and often curved in various ways, with one narrow end into which the musician blows, and a wide end from which sound emerges. In horns, unlike some other brass instruments such as the trumpet, the bore gradually increases in width through most of its length—that is to say, it is conical rather than cylindrical. In jazz and popular-music contexts, the word may be used loosely to refer to any wind instrument, and a section of brass or woodwind instruments, or a mixture of the two, is called a horn section in these contexts.


Bible and rabbinic literature

Shofar (by Alphonse Levy [fr
] Caption says: "To a good year" AlphonseLevy Shofar.jpg
Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy  [ fr ] Caption says: "To a good year"

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.

Hebrew Bible Canonical collection of Hebrew scripture

The Hebrew Bible, also called the Tanakh or Mikra, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scripture, the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, except for some Biblical Aramaic passages in the books of Daniel and Ezra. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT) and it consists of 24 books, while the translations divide essentially the same material into 39 books for the Protestant Bible, and into 46 books for the Catholic Bible.

Talmud Holy Book of Rabbinic Judaism

The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (halakha) and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the centerpiece of Jewish cultural life and was foundational to "all Jewish thought and aspirations", serving also as "the guide for the daily life" of Jews.

Rabbinic literature collective term for Classic Jewish literature, written by, or attributed to the rabbis who lived prior to the 6th century

Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal. This more specific sense of "Rabbinic literature"—referring to the Talmudim, Midrash, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts—is how the term is generally intended when used in contemporary academic writing. On the other hand, the terms meforshim and parshanim (commentaries/commentators) almost always refer to later, post-Talmudic writers of rabbinic glosses on Biblical and Talmudic texts.

The shofar was used to announce the new moon [2] and the Jubilee year. [3] The first day of the seventh month (Tishrei) is termed "a memorial of blowing", [4] or "a day of blowing", [5] the shofar. They were used for signifying the start of a war. [6] Later, they were also employed in processions [7] as musical accompaniment, [8] and eventually were inserted into the temple orchestra by David. [9] Note that the "trumpets" described in Numbers 10 are a different instrument, described by the Hebrew word for 'trumpet' (Hebrew : חצוצרה, romanized: ḥaṣoṣrah), not shofar (Hebrew : שופר).

The Jubilee is the year at the end of seven cycles of shmita, and, according to Biblical regulations, had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the Land of Israel; rabbinic literature mentioning a dispute between the Sages and Rabbi Yehuda over whether it was the 49th year, or whether it was the following (50th) year. The Jubilee deals largely with land, property, and property rights. According to Leviticus, slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven, and the mercies of God would particularly manifest. Leviticus 25:8–13 states:

You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field. In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property. (WEB)

Tishrei month of the Hebrew calendar

Tishrei ; from Akkadian tašrītu "Beginning", from šurrû "To begin") is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian. It is an autumn month of 30 days. Tishrei usually occurs in September–October on the Gregorian calendar.

David Rey de Carmel..

David is described in the Hebrew Bible as the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah after Saul and Ishbaal (Ish-bosheth).

The Torah describes the first day of the seventh month (the first of Tishrei, or Rosh Hashanah) as a zikron teruˁah (Hebrew : זכרון תרועה, lit.  'memorial of blowing'; Lev. 23:24) and as a yom teruˁah (Hebrew : יום תרועה, lit.  'day of blowing'; Num. 29). This was interpreted by the Jewish sages as referring to the blowing of the shofar.

Torah First five books of the Hebrew Bible

Torah has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch) of the 24 books of the Tanakh, and it is usually printed with the rabbinic commentaries. It can mean the continued narrative from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh (Chronicles), and it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice, whether derived from biblical texts or later rabbinic writings. Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the origin of Jewish peoplehood: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of moral and religious obligations and civil laws.

Literal translation, direct translation, or word-for-word translation is the rendering of text from one language to another one word at a time with or without conveying the sense of the original whole.

In the Temple in Jerusalem, the shofar was sometimes used together with the trumpet. On New Year's Day the principal ceremony was conducted with the shofar, which instrument was placed in the center with a trumpet on either side; it was the horn of a wild goat and straight in shape, being ornamented with gold at the mouthpiece. On fast days the principal ceremony was conducted with the trumpets in the center and with a shofar on either side. On those occasions the shofarot were rams' horns curved in shape and ornamented with silver at the mouthpieces. On Yom Kippur of the jubilee year the ceremony was performed with the shofar as on New Year's Day.

Temple in Jerusalem one of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. These successive temples stood at this location and functioned as a site of ancient Israelite and later Jewish worship. It is also called the Holy Temple.

Trumpet musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family

A trumpet is a brass instrument commonly used in classical and jazz ensembles. The trumpet group contains the instruments with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpet-like instruments have historically been used as signaling devices in battle or hunting, with examples dating back to at least 1500 BC; they began to be used as musical instruments only in the late 14th or early 15th century. Trumpets are used in art music styles, for instance in orchestras, concert bands, and jazz ensembles, as well as in popular music. They are played by blowing air through nearly-closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound that starts a standing wave vibration in the air column inside the instrument. Since the late 15th century they have primarily been constructed of brass tubing, usually bent twice into a rounded rectangular shape.

Wild goat species of mammal

The wild goat is a wild goat species, inhabiting forests, shrublands and rocky areas ranging from Turkey and the Caucasus in the west to Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east. It has been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996 and is threatened by destruction and degradation of habitat.

On Rosh Hashanah and other full holidays (Day of Atonement, Sukkot, Passover and the Feast of Weeks) a single priest perfected two sacrifices in honor of the full holiday. On Rosh Hashanah, something special occurred during the special sacrifice. Arguably two Shofar sounders played the long notes and one trumpet player played the short note. Accordingly, Rosh Hashanah is called Yom Teruah (the day of the blast). Otherwise, the trumpets had "top billing". Rosh Hashanah 27a, supports this claim: "Said Raba or it may have been R. Joshua B. Levi: What is the scriptural warrant for this? – Because it is written, 'With trumpets and the sound of the Shofar shout ye before the King in the Temple, we require trumpets and the sound of the Shofar; elsewhere not.'" [10]

Sukkot Jewish Holiday, Harvest Festival, Festival of Booths

Sukkot, commonly translated as Festival of Tabernacles also known as Chag HaAsif, the Festival of Ingathering, is a biblical Jewish holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month, Tishrei. During the existence of the Jerusalem Temple, it was one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals on which the Israelites were commanded to perform a pilgrimage to the Temple.

Passover Jewish holiday celebrating the Israelites liberation from slavery in Egypt

Passover, also called Pesach, is a major, biblically derived Jewish holiday. Jews celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. According to standard biblical chronology, this event would have taken place at about 1300 BCE.

Indeed, on Yom Kippur, the Shofar was sounded to announce the Jubilee Year (every 50 years, Jews were granted forgiveness, debts were forgiven, indentured Israelites were granted freedom, and the fields "shall become owned by the priests". Shofar first indicated in Yovel (Jubilee Year—Lev. 25:8–13). Indeed, in Rosh Hashanah 33b, the sages ask why the Shofar sounded in Jubilee year. Rosh Hashanah 29a indicates that in ordinary years both Shofars and trumpets are sounded, but in the Jubilee Year only the Shofar blasts. The Rabbi's created the practice of the Shofar's sounding every Yom Kippur rather than just on the Jubilee Year (once in 50 years).

Otherwise, for all other special days, the Shofar is sounded shorter and two special silver Trumpets announced the sacrifice. When the trumpets sound the signal, all the people who were within the sacrifice prostrate themselves, stretching out flat, face down and on the ground.

The shofar was blown in the times of Joshua to help him capture Jericho. As they surrounded the walls, the shofar was blown and the Jews were able to capture the city. The shofar was commonly taken out to war so the troops would know when a battle would begin. The person who would blow the shofar would call out to the troops from atop a hill. All of the troops were able to hear the call of the shofar from their position because of its distinct sound.[ citation needed ]

Post-Biblical times

Old Jerusalem Yochanan ben Zakkai synagogue--A flask of oil and a shofar for the anointing of the eagerly-awaited Mashiach. Old Jerusalem Yochanan ben Zakai Synagogue Oil and Shofar for the Messiah.jpg
Old Jerusalem Yochanan ben Zakkai synagogue—A flask of oil and a shofar for the anointing of the eagerly-awaited Mashiach.

At the inception of the diaspora, during the short-lived ban on playing musical instruments, the shofar was enhanced in its use, as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the temple. The declaration of the ban's source was in fact set to music itself as the lamentation "Al Naharoth Bavel" within a few centuries of the ban. (A full orchestra played in the temple. The ban was so that this would not be taken for granted, hence the wording of the ban, "if I forget thee O Jerusalem, over my chiefest joy...".) The shofar continues to announce the Jewish year, [12] and the sighting of the new moon, [13] to introduce Shabbat, [14] to carry out the commandment to sound it on Rosh Hashanah, and to mark the end of the day of fasting on Yom Kippur, once the services have been completed in the evening. [15] Secular uses have been discarded (see a notable exception in a section further down). [16]

The shofar is primarily associated with Rosh Hashanah; indeed, Rosh Hashanah is called Yom Teruah (or Yom T'ruah 'day of the shofar blast'). In the Mishnah (book of early rabbinic laws derived from the Torah), a discussion centers on the primacy of the shofar in the time before the destruction of the second temple (70 CE). Indeed, the shofar was the center of the ceremony, with two silver trumpets playing a lesser role. On other solemn holidays, fasts, and new moon celebrations, two silver trumpets were featured, with one shofar playing a lesser role. The shofar is also associated with the jubilee year in which, every fifty years, Jewish law provided for the release of all slaves, land, and debts. The sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah announced the jubilee year, and the sound of the shofar on Yom Kippur proclaimed the actual release of financial encumbrances.

The halakha (Jewish law) rules that the shofar may not be sounded on Shabbat, due to the potential that the ba'al tekiah (shofar sounder) may inadvertently carry it, which is in a class of forbidden Shabbat work. [17] In ancient Israel, the shofar was sounded on Shabbat in the temple located in Jerusalem. After the temple's destruction, the sounding of the shofar on Shabbat was restricted to the place where the great Sanhedrin (Jewish legislature and court from 400 BCE to 100 CE) was located. However, when the Sanhedrin ceased to exist, the sounding of the shofar on Shabbat was discontinued. [18]

According to rabbinic literature, the shofar says, "Awake, sleepers from your sleep, and slumberers arise from your slumber!" [19]


Jewish "Slichot" prayer service with shofar during the Days of Repentance preceding Yom Kippur at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, 2008. Flickr - Government Press Office (GPO) - "Slichot" Prayer (2).jpg
Jewish "Slichot" prayer service with shofar during the Days of Repentance preceding Yom Kippur at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, 2008.

The Sages indicated that the mitzvah was to hear the sounds of the shofar. They went so far as to consider a shofar blown into a pit or cave and to decide whether a person who hears the original sound or the echo has fulfilled the mitzvah. Mishnah (Rosh Hashanah 27b). The Shulchan Aruch sums up that if the hearer hears the reverberation, the mitzvah is not valid. However, if the listener perceives the direct sounds, he fulfils the mitzvah. [20] Thus, most modern halakhic authorities hold that hearing a shofar on the radio or the Internet would not be valid to satisfy the mitzvah because "electronically reproduced sounds do not suffice for mitzvot that require hearing a specific natural sound.... However, one should consult a competent rabbi if an unusually pressing situation arises, as some authorities believe that performing mitzvot through electronically reproduced sound is preferable to not performing them at all." [21]

According to Jewish law women and minors are exempt from the commandment of hearing the shofar blown (as is the case with any positive, time-bound commandment), but they are encouraged to attend the ceremony.

If the ba'al tekiah (shofar sounder) blows with the intention that all who hear will perform the mitzvah, then anyone listening—even someone passing by—who intends to hear the Shofar can perform the mitzvah because the community blower blows for everybody. If the listener stands still, it is presumed he intends to hear. [22] If one hears the blast but with no intention of fulfilling the mitzvah, then the mitzvah has not been fulfilled.


Yemenite Jew blowing the shofar, late 1930's Shofar for the Sabbath from the Matson Collection, ca. 1934-39 (LOC).jpg
Yemenite Jew blowing the shofar, late 1930's

The expert who blows (or "blasts" or "sounds") the shofar is termed the ba'al tokeah or ba'al tekiah (lit. "master of the blast"). Being a ba'al tekiah is an honor. Every male Jew is eligible for this sacred office, providing he is acceptable to the congregation. The one who blows the shofar on Rosh Hashanah should be learned in the Torah and shall be God-fearing.

The Shulchan Aruch discusses who is fit to blow the shofar on behalf of a congregation:

Shape and material

Choice of animal

According to the Talmud, a shofar may be made from the horn of any animal from the Bovidae family except that of a cow, [24] although a ram is preferable. [25] Bovidae horns are made of a layer of keratin (the same material as human toenails and fingernails) around a core of bone, with a layer of cartilage in between, which can be removed to leave the hollow keratin horn. An antler, on the other hand, is made of solid bone, so an antler cannot be used as a shofar because it cannot be hollowed out.

There is no requirement for ritual slaughter (shechita), and theoretically, the horn can come from a non-kosher animal because under most, but not all, interpretations of Jewish law the shofar is not required to be muttar be-fikha ('permissible in your mouth'); the mitzvah is hearing the shofar, not eating the animal it came from. [26] The shofar falls into the category of tashmishei mitzvah – objects used to perform a mitzvah that do not themselves have inherent holiness. [27] Moreover, because horn is always inedible, it is considered afra be-alma ('mere dust') and not an unkosher substance. [28]

The Elef Hamagen (586:5) delineates the order of preference: 1) curved ram; 2) curved other sheep; 3) curved other animal; 4) straight—ram or otherwise; 5) non-kosher animal; 6) cow. The first four categories are used with a bracha (blessing), the fifth without a bracha, and the last, not at all. [29]


In practice two species are generally used: the Ashkenazi and Sefardi shofar is made from the horn of a domestic ram, while a Yemeni shofar is made from the horn of a kudu. A Moroccan shofar is flat, with a single, broad curve. A crack or hole in the shofar affecting the sound renders it unfit for ceremonial use. A shofar may not be painted in colors, but it may be carved with artistic designs (Shulkhan Arukh, Orach Chayim, 586, 17). Shofars (especially the Sephardi shofars) are sometimes plated with silver across part of their length for display purposes, although this invalidates them for use in religious practices.

The horn is flattened and shaped by the application of heat, which softens it. A hole is made from the tip of the horn to the natural hollow inside. It is played much like a European brass instrument, with the player blowing through the hole, causing the air column inside to vibrate. Sephardi shofars usually have a carved mouthpiece resembling that of a European trumpet or French horn, but smaller. Ashkenazi shofars do not.

Because the hollow of the shofar is irregular in shape, the harmonics obtained when playing the instrument can vary: rather than a pure perfect fifth, intervals as narrow as a fourth, or as wide as a sixth may be produced.


Foundations in Talmud and Torah

The tekiah (תקיעה) and teruah (תרועה) sounds mentioned in the Tanakh were respectively bass and treble.[ speculation? ] The tekiah (or t'kiah or t'qiah) was a plain, deep sound, ending abruptly; the teruah (or t'ruah), a trill between two tekiahs. These two sounds, constituting a single unit of shofar sounding, were rendered three times during a service added specially for Rosh HaShanah: first in honor of God's kingship (malchiyot or malchuyot)); next to recall the Binding of Isaac, in order to cause the congregation to be remembered before God (zichronot); and a third time to comply with the precept regarding the shofar (shofrot).[ citation needed ]

The word teruah (a broken sound) appears three times in the Bible in the context of the shofar, from which the Talmud [30] derives the rule that three such sounds must be made. In addition, other verses connect the word tekiah (an unbroken sound) to teruah twice, thus leading the Talmud to rule that each teruah must be preceded and followed by a tekiah, leading to a total of nine blasts (tekiah-teruah-tekiah three times).

Over time doubts arose as to the correct sound of the teruah. The Talmud is uncertain whether it means a moaning/groaning or a staccato beat sound. [30] A system of three sounds was therefore devised to account for all the possibilities:

The doubt as to the nature of the Biblical teruah, whether it was simply a broken moan (shevarim), a staccato (teruah) or both (shevarim-teruah), necessitates three near-repetitions to make sure of securing the correct sound. The sequence of the shofar blowing is thus:

  1. Tekiah, shevarim-teruah, tekiah
  2. Tekiah, shevarim, tekiah
  3. Tekiah, teruah, and then a final blast of tekiah gedolah, which means "big tekiah", held as long as possible.

This series is also known by its acronyms: TaShRaT, TaShaT, TaRaT, respectively.

When blowing the shevarim-teruah, the tekiah is lengthened to be slightly longer than the duration of the shevarim and the teruah together. [32] [33]

Some opinions require trebling the series, based on the mention of teruah three times in connection with the seventh month (Lev. xxiii, xxv; Num. xxix), and also on the above-mentioned division of the service into malchiyot, zichronot, and shofarot.

To fulfill all of the opinions and criteria above, a total of thirty blasts are sounded, the minimum number required today:

Alternatively, although fewer opinions are satisfied, some communities sound a single series of tashrat-tashat-tarat without trebling. This may also fulfill the required total of thirty blasts, if tekiah is counted as one note, shevarim three, and teruah nine. [34]

Regardless, all halachic authorities [35] teach that one should follow one's community's custom.

Modern practice

Shofar sound for Rosh Hashana, Ashkenaz version

It is customary to hear 100 or 101 sounds in the synagogue, although the minimum requirement is to hear 30 sounds.

The shofar is sounded just before, during and after the Musaf prayer on Rosh Hashanah. For the sounding just before Musaf, after the Torah reading, relevant verses from the Bible are recited, followed by two blessings: one on the Biblical commandment of "hearing the sound of the shofar" and the blessing of Shehecheyanu. After that, thirty shofar blasts are sounded. In the Musaf prayer itself, the shofar is sounded three times during the silent prayer, and then again three times during the leader's repetition. For each of these soundings, ten appropriate selections from the Bible are recited, followed by a benediction, followed finally by a series of ten shofar blasts. After leader's repetition of the Musaf prayer is completed, a final series of ten (or eleven, depending on the community's custom) shofar blasts are sounded, yielding a total of 100 or 101 blasts. (Some communities do not blow the shofar during the silent Musaf prayer, instead blowing the 30 blasts after the leader's repetition.) After the service is over, it is customary to blow another series of thirty blasts "to confuse the Satan".

According to the Sephardic tradition, a full 101 blasts are sounded, corresponding to the 100 cries of the mother of Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army who did not return home after being killed by Yael (Judges 5:28). One cry is added to symbolize the legitimate love of a mother mourning her son. [36] [37]

Use in modern times


The shofar is used mainly on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is blown in synagogues to mark the end of the fast at Yom Kippur, and blown at four particular occasions in the prayers on Rosh Hashanah. Because of its inherent ties to the Days of Repentance and the inspiration that comes along with hearing its piercing blasts, the shofar is also blown after morning services for the entire month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth of the Jewish ecclesiastical year. It is not blown on the last day of month, however, to mark the difference between the voluntary blasts of the month and the mandatory blasts of the holiday. Shofar blasts are also used during penitential rituals such as Yom Kippur Katan and optional prayer services called during times of communal distress. The exact modes of sounding can vary from location to location.

In an effort to improve the skills of shofar blowers, an International Day of Shofar Study is observed on Rosh Chodesh Elul, the start of the month preceding Rosh Hashanah. [38]

National liberation

During the Ottoman and the British rule of Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to sound the shofar at the Western Wall. After the Six-Day War, Rabbi Shlomo Goren famously approached the Wall and sounded the shofar. This fact inspired Naomi Shemer to add an additional line to her song "Jerusalem of Gold", saying, "a shofar calls out from the Temple Mount in the Old City." [39]

Non-religious musical usage

A musician blows the shofar during a performance by Shlomo Bar, 2009. PikiWiki Israel 4104 Shlomo Bar.JPG
A musician blows the shofar during a performance by Shlomo Bar, 2009.

In pop music, the shofar is used by the Israeli Oriental metal band Salem in their adaptation of "Al Taster" (Psalm 27). The late trumpeter Lester Bowie played a shofar with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In the film version of the musical Godspell , the first act opens with cast member David Haskell blowing the shofar. In his performances, Israeli composer and singer Shlomo Gronich uses the shofar to produce a very wide range of notes. [40] Since 1988 Rome-based American composer Alvin Curran's project Shofar features the shofar as a virtuoso solo instrument and in combination with sets of natural and electronic sounds. Madonna used a shofar played by Yitzhak Sinwani on the Confessions Tour and the album Confessions on a Dance Floor for the song "Isaac", based on Im Nin'alu. In 2003, The Howard Stern Show featured a contest called "Blow the Shofar", which asked callers to correctly identify popular songs played on the shofar. The shofar is sometimes used in Western classical music. Edward Elgar's oratorio The Apostles includes the sound of a shofar, although other instruments, such as the flugelhorn, are usually used instead.

The shofar has been used in a number of films, both as a sound effect and as part of musical underscores. Elmer Bernstein incorporated the shofar into several cues for his score for Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments ; one of the shofar calls recorded by Bernstein was later reused by the sound editors for Return of the Jedi for the Ewoks' horn calls. Jerry Goldsmith's scores to the films Alien and Planet of the Apes also incorporate the shofar in their orchestration.

Celebration and protest

The Shofar has been sounded as a sign of victory and celebration. Jewish elders were photographed blowing multiple shofars after hearing that the Nazis surrendered on May 8, 1945. The shofar has played a major role in the pro-Israel movement and often played in the Salute to Israel Parade and other pro-Israel demonstrations.

See also


  1. "Jewish prayer-book". Cambridge Digital Library. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  2. Psalm 81:3 (4)
  3. Leviticus 25:9
  4. Leviticus 23:24
  5. Numbers 29:1
  6. Joshua 6:4; Judges 3:27; 7:16, 20; 1 Samuel. 8:3
  7. 2 Samuel 6:15; 1 Chronicles 15:28
  8. Psalm 98:6; compare Psalm 47:5
  9. Psalm 150:3
  10. Sidney B. Hoenig, "Origins of the Rosh Hashanah Liturgy", The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 57, The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Volume of the Jewish Quarterly Review (1967), pp. 312–331. • Published by University of Pennsylvania Press. Accessed 31 December 2009
  11. It has been said that when the mashiach comes, the Sephardic community will be ready to anoint him and blow the shofar to announce his arrival. Legend has it there is a tunnel from under the Yohanan Ben Zakkai synagogue that leads directly to the Temple Mount.
  12. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:2
  13. Arakhin 11a–b; Shabbos 35
  14. Shabbos 35
  15. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 133:26
  16. Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, Heritage of Music, New York: UAHC, 1972, pp. 44–45.
  17. Rosh Hashanah 29b
  18. Kieval, The High Holy Days, p. 114
  19. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance 3:4, via – "Anticipation and Consummation: a Perspective on the Shofar" (PDF).
  20. Mishnah Berurah 587:1–3
  21. "Fulfilling Mitzvot Through Electronic Hearing Devices", Chaim Jachter and Ezra Frazer, Gray Matter volume 2 pp. 237–244. ISBN   1-933143-10-X
  22. Mishnah Berurah 590:9
  23. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 589:1–6
  24. Rosh Hashanah, 26a
  25. Mishnah Berurah 586:1
  26. Navon, Mois (2001). "The Ḥillazon and the Principle of "Muttar be-Fikha"" (PDF). The Torah u-Madda Journal. 10/2001: 142–162. Retrieved 15 June 2016.see pages 147-148 ff.
  27. Megillah 26b
  28. Avot 67b
  29. Elef Hamagen, Rabbi Shemarya Hakreti, edited by Aharon Erand, Jerusalem: Mekitzei Nirdamim, 2003
  30. 1 2 Rosh Hashanah 34a
  31. Mishnah Berurah 590:13
  32. Mishnah Berurah 590:14
  33. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:13
  34. "Shofar-Call to Action". Chabad. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  35. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:17, et seq.
  36. Kitov, Eliyahu. "One Hundred Sounds". Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  37. Arthur L. Finkle, Shofar: History, Technique and Jewish Law, (Saarbrücken, Germany: Hadassah Word Press, 2015)
  38. International Day of Shofar Study
  39. Jerusalem of Gold Archived 29 November 1999 at the Wayback Machine accessed 9 December 2008
  40. The Abraham Fund Initiatives: Press Clips - Crossing the Middle Eastern Tightrope Archived 9 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine

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Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or Yamim Tovim, are holidays observed in Judaism and by Jews throughout the Hebrew calendar. They include religious, cultural and national elements, derived from three sources: Biblical mitzvot ("commandments"); rabbinic mandates; Jewish history and the history of the State of Israel.

Yom Kippur Primary holy day in Judaism, tenth day of the year

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<i>Mishnah Berurah</i> Book written by the Rabbi Israel Meir Kegan

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Elul month of the Hebrew calendar

Elul is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar.

Havdalah Jewish religious ceremony

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Tenth of Tevet, the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, is a fast day in Judaism. It is one of the minor fasts observed from before dawn to nightfall. The fasting is in mourning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia—an event that began on that date and ultimately culminated in the destruction of Solomon's Temple and the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah.

Kiddush, literally, "sanctification," is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Additionally, the word refers to a small repast held on Shabbat or festival mornings after the prayer services and before the meal.

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Mussaf is an additional service that is recited on Shabbat, Yom Tov, Chol Hamoed, and Rosh Chodesh. The service, which is traditionally combined with the Shacharit in synagogues, is considered to be additional to the regular services of Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv. In contemporary Hebrew, the word may also signify a newspaper supplement.

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Shofar blowing

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Further reading