Jewish Holidays Fall Challenge – Day 4: Shofar
Welcome to the FOURTH day of the 31-Day Jewish Fall Holiday Challenge! Today we’ll learn about the shofar, a unique ritual item that is important to the Jewish High Holy Days.
Note: This post was prepared prior to Shabbat and shared automatically as a part of a consecutive 31-sequence. If it appears on Shabbat, but you prefer to read it after Shabbat, that’s ok! You can catch up, and you lose nothing in the Challenge.
(If you haven’t officially joined the Challenge, I suggest you CLICK HERE to do so, so that you can get your Holiday Guide and enter to win your Starter Jewish Library.)
What is a shofar?
The shofar is a kind of trumpet – more accurately, a bugle because there are no keys to make different notes – that is made out of the horn of an animal of the Bovidae family (but not cows). These horns have a layer of keratin on the outside that allows one to core out whats inside and make a bugle with the outer layer.
Fun fact: A shofar doesn’t have to be from an animal that was harvested according to kosher laws (or even, necessarily, from a kosher animal!) because…well, have you ever tried eating a shofar?
Shofars are for tooting, not for tasting.
It is a mitzvah to hear a shofar blown every day of the month of Elul (the month immediately preceding Rosh Hashanah) except Shabbat. We also hear it one hundred times during the typical Rosh Hashanah morning service. We blow it one final time at sundown following Yom Kippur, to signify the end of the holiday.
What questions do you have about the shofar? Please let me know in the comments below!
Next time, we’ll discuss the custom of synagogues’ selling tickets for High Holy Day services. This is a controversial topic. But I want you to understand why synagogues do this, how it supports attendees’ holy experience, and how you can participate in the services regardless of your budget or disinclination to “pay to pray.”
I can’t wait to see what questions you have about that and what we can learn together!
But first, to get the full benefit of this learning project, make sure you…