What is a Shofar?
As the use of the shofar dates back thousands of years ago, the shofar has become a prominent symbol in Jewish heritage.
The shofar as a rule is made of a ram’s horn taken from a male sheep or other kosher animals (not a must) and can come in different sizes and shapes. The preference to make a shofar of a horn is a symbolic tribute to the biblical story telling of Isaac’s binding. As the book of Genesis tells us, Abraham, who was first asked by God to kill his son as a sign of his unconditional faith, in the end sacrifices a ram instead.
In ancient times the shofar was used to draw warriors into battle. The Teruah sound of the shofar was meant to inspire warriors and assist them to get into a “battle state if mind”. Nowadays, the shofar blowing is prominent in Jewish high holidays as a part of the religious ceremony. There Talmud and Torah has various debates of how a shofar should be blown, what emotion should they express etc.
Ram’s Horn shofars are available in Israel but the large Yemenite shofar horns are usually imported to Israel from the Maghreb countries and South Africa and are being treated in a special process under rabbinical supervision. Yemenite Jews usually make a Yemenite shofar from the horns of Kudu, a type of a large antelope.
The preparation of a kosher shofar is done under strict rabbinical supervision: many horns are disqualified for various flaw such as cracks along the horn which might imperfect the shofar’s sound.
Once a flawless horn is identified, the shofar horn is polished properly and adjusted by an expert so that the shofar may produce the precise sounds. At the end of the process the shofar is once again thoroughly examined before its use.