The Shofar in the Bible

Pomegranates-Painted-Genuine-Ram-s-Horn-Shofar-Lily-Art_smallThe shofar is the powerful instrument made from a ram’s horn mentioned throughout the Bible, as well as in the Talmud and in Rabbinic literature.

Perhaps the strongest expression of the supernatural, enchanting nature of the shofar was its role at Mt. Sinai when Moses ascended to receive the Ten Commandments:

…..And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.…And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because G-d descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly…And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.” (Exodus 29, 16-19)

Another well known reference is in the Book of Joshua, when the walls of Jericho came crashing down after the blowing the shofars:

Then G-d said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men…..Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns* in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse…”

In addition, the shofar is frequently mentioned along with the trumpets on events of festivals and worship, military purposes and for coronations, like in the story of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:10). After the destruction of the Second Temple the shofar was relegated to its ritual role on Rosh Hashanah (and Yom Kippur), when we use it to coronate G-d as king over the entire universe, and to wake up our soul to the important task of repentance (teshuvah):

Again G-d spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month (Tishrei) on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.” (Leviticus 23:24)

Where can you get your own genuine shofar to personally connect to this amazing Jewish tradition? Right here.

Comments