Shofar: Symbol of Tishrei

The shofar is not only a symbol we all associate with Tishrei, but it’s also a symbol of Judaism.  Many of us only think about the shofar at the High Holy days, but in ancient times it was used regularly in religious rites.

Blow the shofar at the new moon, at the full moon for our feast-day.

Psalm 81:3

In Psalms, we see the order to blow the shofar at both the new moon, Rosh Chodesh, and the full moon feast days. Historically the shofar would have been used to call us to prayer and attention for a myriad of reasons and events. 

The shofar was also the sound of G-d/dess’ voice we hear at Sinai.  

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Is it any wonder that this ancient relic is one we still treasure today?  When considering the shofar, also remember that it is a sign of our history as a nation of shepherds.  I’m exploring purchasing my first shofar, and finding that I not only want one that is beautiful and playable — but also that I know comes from an animal that is not just kosher, but was also raised with respect and given a good life.  I also want it to be local.  Why should I import a shofar from a foreign country, when there are so many sheep right here?

In Tishrei, consider the shofar as more than something you just hear at synagogue.  Explore the history, symbolism, elemental aspects, and potential spiritual uses.  Here are some great resources for exploring the Shofar:

  • Hearing Shofar – Michael Chusid’s compendium of the Shofar, which is his core spiritual practice.
  • Telshemesh: The Ram, The Goat, and the Shofar

Adapted from a post originally written for Peeling a Pomegranate, 2012