What is a shofar?


A shofar is a horn that is polished and has openings at the top and bottom. Traditionally a shofar is made from a ram’s horn and is used for Jewish religious purposes and come in a variety of sizes. The blowing of the shofar is incorporated with synagogue services during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. A shofar can not ever be made of a cow horn or calf horn because this goes against the worship of the Golden Calf which is condemned in the Torah. A shofar also can not be made from any animals considered un-kosher because the shofar is used primarily for Jewish ceremonies.

Any person of the Jewish faith may become a shofar blower. A shofar blower is called a Tokea, meaning “blaster.” A Tokea usually quickly learns that it takes less effort top blow the shofar by vibrating the lips and blowing on the side of the mouth. Blowing a shofar is similar to blowing a trumpet and be quite a job on certain days of observance, for example, the shofar is blown 100 times to signify the new year on Rosh Hashanah. On the day of Sabbath, the shofar is not used to prevent the Tokea from bringing the shofar different places which would constitute work. And if Rosh Hashanah falls on the day of Sabbath the religious observance with the shofar will take place the next day.

Good care must be taken of the shofar to avoid damage because a damaged shofar will not produce the proper sound, especially if there are holes in it other than the two intended ones. The shofar can become warped from moisture caused from people blowing in it.

Jewish people are supposed to be inspired or made aware that spiritual matters are to take place when the sound of the shofar is heard.

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