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shofar

Shofars

Since time immemorial, the people of Israel have been blowing shofars for their prayers and celebrations which is the reason why these instruments are very symbolic for the Jews. Aside from their significance in the Judaic faith, shofars are also admired for their intricate craftsmanship and pleasant aesthetics so it isn’t surprising why many collectors are placing these shofars among their most fabulous displays. Whether you’re looking for an excellent gift from the Holy Land or just searching for a unique item that will remind you of Jerusalem, the beautiful and uniquely decorated shofar is definitely your most delightful option.

What are shofars?

A Shofar is a unique and raw-looking instrument used to create amazing sounds by blowing wind into its mouthpiece. The raw appearance of a shofar comes from the fact that these instruments are actually made out of real animal horns. Shofar, in Hebrew literally means “ram’s horn” and horns of rams are the ideal materials for making shofars. However, horns from other animals of the Bovidae family can be used as well, except for cows. A shofar is made by hollowing out the flesh and bone from the animal’s horn leaving just the outermost layer. Horns are then treated so that they can be easily twisted to form a perfect shape which will make it easier for the user to grip and blow the finished horn. For the final touch, artists will then intricately design the horn to create unique and beautiful shofars.

What are shofars used for?

Back in biblical times, shofars were used as a device to gather together all the people of Israel as well as to signal an imminent danger or an impending war. In modern times, people from Israel still continue to blow the shofars during their most religious holidays, and hence the reason why these instruments remain truly important up to this day. Further, it is a special mitzvah or commandment to hear the shofar being blown on Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year. Shofars are also used during the Yom Kippur which is the holiest day in Judaic beliefs as well as during the month of Elul in order to prepare the Jews for the Rosh Hashanah.

Shofars from the Holy Land - Made in Israel

When are shofars blown?

Since it is a special mitzvah to hear the shofar blown on Rosh Hashanah, it has become customary to start hearing the sound of the shofar in the month of Elul which is the month prior to the start of the Jewish New Year. It is very common to hear the shofar blown every day during the whole month of Elul, except on Shabbat and the day before Rosh Hashanah. In times of Rosh Hashanah, shofars are blown as part of synagogue morning service, but they can also be blown anytime from sunup to sundown. Then finally, shofars are blown on the night of Yom Kippur to announce that the day of atonement is over and that the forgiveness of sins has been achieved.

Why are shofars blown?

The top reason why shofars are blown on Rosh Hashanah is to commemorate the creation of the world and celebrate the Lord who has sustained life on earth. It is also blown to serve as a reminder for people to repent of their sins, return to God, and to study the Torah. Today, it would make more sense as a call to embrace the Gospel Message.

Shofar from Israel - The Jerusalem Gift Shop

History of Shofars

The history of the shofar is long and prominent which is the main reason why one cannot help but be mesmerized to see such a powerful instrument. For one, it was mentioned in the book of Exodus that the Torah was given to the people of Israel with the blast of the shofar. And with the help of the shofar, the people of Israel triumphed over the Battle of Jericho. Shofar in biblical times played a crucial role especially during battles as it helped the Israelites send signals effectively just by systematically blowing its horn. Aside from their usage in battles, blowing shofars is also their way to gather the people either for congregation or celebration.

Shofars are not only ritual instruments used in the time of the Jewish holidays, but it is also an amazing work of art. Every shofar is made with intricacy and precision that you will be mesmerized by its creativity. You can view a few of them here.