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Introduction | Purchase | Shofar Basics | Shofar History

Shofars through the ages (Shofar History)

“All you people of the world, you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it,
and when the shofar sounds, you will hear it.”
Isaiah 18:3

A craftsman polishing a ram's horn shofar

Polishing a ram's horn shofar. ©Used with permission.

Did You Know?

In the Spanish Diaspora, Jewish shofars were flat and straight with a low pitch. This was because in the past Jews were not permitted to carry or play the shofar and had to hide their horns underneath their clothing. The Shephardic communities have preserved this straight, low pitched rams horn shofar.

The significance of the shofar can be traced back to the very foundations of the Jewish nation. First mentioned when the Israelites gathered at Mt Sinai (Exodus 19:16-19), the shofar has played an important role throughout Biblical history. The walls of Jericho crumbled to the sound of the priests rams' horns shofars (Joshua 6:4) and Jesus' return will be marked with the “sound of the shofar” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

The Jewish shofar (sometimes misspelt as shophar) was sounded at the Jubilee Year and Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24). It was used for military purposes including declaring war (Nehemiah 4:20), to sound an alarm (Ezekiel 33:3) and to announce victory (1 Samuel13:3). The Israelites also used to blow the shofar events and processions (1 Chronicles 15:28) and as an accompaniment in music and festivals (Psalm 98:6)

The shofar was sounded at the coronation of kings (2 Samuel 15:10), including declaring God as King of Kings (Psalm 47:5-6). It is also strongly associated with the voice of God (Exodus 19:16-19 and Zechariah 9:14).

Today, the shofar (also known as a Jewish horn) still plays a significant role in Israel and amongst Jewish communities worldwide. Jews play the shofar to welcome the Shabbat and to announce the new year and new moon. It is central to the celebration of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and is sounded on Yom Kippur to mark the end of fasting. The shofar is often sounded at Jewish weddings and as part of official Israeli government events.

How to use and care for your shofar.

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Ram's Horn Shofars, Yemenite Kudu Shofars, Oryx Shofars and Rams Anointing Horns.

Shofar is often mentioned in the Old Testament Blowing a shofar

Introduction | Purchase | Shofar Basics | Shofar History

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Banners in the Bible

Exodus 17:9-16
Moses said to Joshua, 'Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.'
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.
As long as Moses held out his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.
When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
…Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, 'For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.'

Psalms 60:4
But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.

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