“On the third day, as morning dawned, there was thunder and lightning and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the Shofar.”
The shofar is a horn or trumpet made from a ram’s horn. In Biblical times, the role of the shofar was to announce both religious and public events. It was blown to call people together. It was sounded at the new moon and at solemn feasts. It was blown to warn of trouble or to announce peace and reassure the safety of the city. It was sounded at the conquest of Jericho.
A shofar-blower is required to be a man of singular piety and purity of conduct. In Hebrew, he is known as the Baal tekiah.
Why is the shofar blown during the High Holidays?
It is commonly believed that Rosh Hashanah evolved from Yom Teruah, Day of Blowing the Shofar.
The sounds of the shofar:
- one long blast is a tekiah
- three short blasts is a shevarim
- nine short blasts or staccato blasts is a teru’ah
The shofar is never adorned with material or decoration although it may be carved. It is typically 10 to 12 inches in length and curved. The shofar may only be purchased from a reliable dealer that can supply a certificate of Kashrut.
“The sound of the Shofar grew louder and louder. As Moses spoke, God answered him in thunder. “