The Shofar (I)
“Then you shall transmit a blast on the horn; in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, the day of Yom Kippur, you shall have the horn sounded throughout the land…And proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” (Leviticus 25)
The Shofar, a well known symbol of Rosh Hashanah, is one of the earliest instruments used in Jewish music. Usually made from a rams horn, a shofar can also be made from the horns of other animals, including those of a goat or sheep. It is the one musical instrument that has not changed in over 5,000 years.
In Biblical times the shofar was blown to announce an important event, such as the alarm of war or the coming of peace. The Great shofar is said to have been sounded during the greatest event in all Jewish history, the giving of the ten commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai (see Shavuot).
The blowing of the Shofar is the only specific commandment for Rosh Hashanah. Just as trumpeters announced the presence of their mortal king, the Shofar is used by Jews to proclaim the coronation of the King of King.
The rams horn is blown 100 times. It is an appropriate symbol as it reminds Jews everywhere of the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to fulfill G-d’scommand. At the last moment G-d ordered Abraham to exchange Isaac with a sacrificial lamb.
Come Blow our Horn!
Welcome in the High Holy Days by blowing our shofar!
The blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah consists of four sounds sounded in a specific order: tekiah (pronounced t-KEE-uh), shvarim (pronounced (sh-VAW-reem) teruah(pronounced t-ROO-uh) and tekiah gedolah (pronounced geh-DOH-luh). Each lasts approximately three seconds except tekiah gedolah. Tekiah is a straight, unbroken blast, shevarim (which means “broken ones”) is a tekiah broken into three one-second segments, teruah is a staccato division of the tekiah into nine rapid-fire notes, while tekiah gedolah is a triple tekiah, lasting a minimum of three consecutive tekiot, or nine seconds.
(Source: Ask Moses.com)
Video: The Four Traditional Shofar Blasts
More Shofar and other High Holy Day Videos