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SHOFAR

The sound of the Shofar distinguishes and identifies the Rosh Hashanah and the Yom Kippur from the other holidays of the Jewish calendar. Sounds of the Shofar interpreted as a call to repentance. There was a custom to blow the Shofar every day during the month preceding the New Year. The voice of Shofar is very special in nature, unlike the sound of other musical instruments. In ancient times the Shofar was used as a signaling tool for the convening of the people and the proclamation of the important events, as well as during the war.

Shofar is made from the horn of any kosher animal except the bovine (cow) family. To make a Shofar, the horn is first 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. Some Shofars may be carved with artistic designs or be encrusted with gold or silver although this invalidates them for use in religious practices.
The sound of the Shofar is magnificent! It doesn't even take over the soul, it breaks into your soul, inspires fear and trembling in the hearts of everybody who hears it. The Prophet asks: “Can a Shofar be blown in a city, and the people not tremble (Amos 3:6)"
Shofar, writes the Rambam, has its hidden message that is calling out: “Awake, ye sleepers, and ponder your deeds; remember your Creator and go back to him in penitence. Be not of those who miss realities in their pursuit of shadows and waste their years in seeking after vain things which cannot profit or deliver. Look well to your souls and consider your acts; forsake each of you his evil ways and thoughts, and return to God so that He may have mercy upon you.”[ Rabbi Dr. J.H. Hertz, Forward to Soncino Sefer Mo’ed, 1938, www.come-and-hear.com/talmud/moed_h.html, July 27, 2007.]


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