By Stan Goodenough
“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbathrest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. ‘You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.’” (Leviticus 23:24-25)
The blowing of the ram’s horn is associated with the ushering in of the biblical festivals of Israel, in particular, the period preceding the fall holidays.
The shofar is a ram’s horn, connected with God’s provision to Abraham of a ram for sacrifice, in place of his own son, Isaac. This portion of scripture is read on Rosh HaShana (the Feast of Trumpets or the biblical New Year). A steer horn is never used, as that would be reminiscent of the golden calf made by the children of Israel in the desert.
In the Bible, the blowing of the shofar was first heard when God called Moses to the summit of Mt. Sinai to receive the tablets of the law. And, it will be sounded at the end of days to usher the ingathering of the exile of Israel into their land.
The sounding of the Shofar:
- Symbolizes freedom and liberty,
- Proclaims the anniversary of the creation of the world,
- Is a reminder of the giving of the 10 commandments at Mt. Sinai, and
- is a sound that is guaranteed to chase Satan away.
In the Bible, the ram’s horn was blown:
- At The Coronation Of A King
- As A Call To War
- To Induce Fear In The Enemy
- As A Sound Of Victory, And
- For Announcing And Ushering In The Sabbath And Festivals.
Remember, the walls of Jericho gave way at the sounding of the shofar.
In modern times, the blowing of the shofar is connected with the Jewish month of Elul, a period of repentance. The ram’s horn is sounded to inspire the people to amend their lives. On Rosh HaShana, it is blown some 100 times, and on Yom Kippur, it is blown only once at the end of the 24-hour fast. In modern Israel, the shofar is sounded every Friday afternoon as the Sabbath approaches.
From biblical description, there are three different sounds blown:
TIKIYAH – A Single Blast SHEPHARIM – 3 Parts TRUAH – 9 Short Blasts
The shofar is usually blown in a combination of all three sounds, three times each to be certain that the commandment to sound the shofar is correctly made.
Many people believe the Messiah will arrive at the sounding of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah one year.
A customary food enjoyed as part of the Rosh HaShanah celebration is apple dipped in honey. As they pass this sweet snack around they bless one another with the words, “shana tova v’metukah,” “have a happy and sweet new year.”
© Israel My Beloved