Shofar Sounding at Jewish Weddings
Arthur L. Finkle
When someone sent an e-mail asking me to sound the shofar at her wedding, I responding, “Are you serious!” She was.
The facts were that she was an Israeli from Herzliya (suburb of north of Tel Aviv) who was marrying in June 2011. She heard the shofar sound at a wedding in the Tel Aviv area, where one-third of Israel’s population resides. Secular in upbringing, when she heard the low primordial, atavistic tonality of the Yemenite shofar, she was transfixed. From that point on, she desired a shofar sounding at her own wedding.
In the meantime, I visited Israel and asked if shofar sounding at a wedding was customary. Surprised that it was, I asked exactly what the shofar was to do and when.
With this knowledge gleaned from the Israeli’s, we met a month before the special occasion with her intended husband, an American who practices law in the sites and in Israel. We decided the shofar to be sounded:
- At the beginning of the ceremony to proclaim the blessed event
- At the aisle procession of the intended bride
- After the glass is broken to end the ritual
At the day of the wedding, I coordinated everything (cues) from the wedding coordinator and the officiating Rabbi.
At the beginning, on the Yemenite shofar, I sound a tekiah – to get everyone attention that the wedding ritual was to begin. (It worked.)
I, myself, shed a tear when the shevarim announced the kallah (bethrothed).
After the cup was broken, I sounded a tekiah gedolah (short as requested).
A wedding is a festive occasion. The happy couple was appreciative. The guests (70 of them) treated me that a rock star. They took my picture with the majestic shofar (although they did not ask for my signature).
There is nothing on the Code of Jewish Law, as amended by the Mishnah Berurah that mandates a shofar at a wedding. However, music is not forbidden.
I have found no mention of shofar sounding at Jewish wedding, after extensive research in Mishnah, Talmud, Rishonim, Acharonim and modern commentators.
However, I can guest what the significance may be, particularly for Israeli’s. When the Wailing Wall was recurred in 1967, the secular Israeli Army secured a shofar sounder to proclaim the Western Wall was now in the hands of those who venerated it. Subsequently, other Israeli events have had the shofar heralding something important.
Why Was the Shofar Historically Sounded?
Biblical references to shofars (Hebrew for trumpets, rams’ horns, coronets, etc. are extensive throughout the Biblical literature. Although there are more than 70 times in the Bible mentioning the shofar and scores more mentioning trumpets sand horns. I submit a small listing indicating its uses:
- The ram’s horn, the shofar, is a reminder of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and God’s provision of a ram as a substitute. (Genesis 22:13) In other words, the shofar is authentically Jewish.
- The LAW (Torah) was given to Israel with the sound of the shofar from heaven. (Exodus 19:19) Again, the shofar a signal that the Jewish people chose to receive the law and are bound by its ethical precepts.
- The shofar was blown at the start of the year of Jubilee on Yom Teruah. (Leviticus 25:9-10). One of the very few Holy Temple rites is the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
- The trumpet (shofar) was blown to announce the beginning of the festival. Numbers (10:10). A signal that something special was \occurring.
- Israel conquered in the battle of Jericho with the blast of the shofars. (Joshua 6:20). The shofar was utilized in war similar to that of a bugle to signal differing military TACTICS. It also was used as psychological warfare (to confuse and this terrify the enemy). Gideon and his army confused and scattered the enemy with the shofar. (Joshua 7:15-22)
- The shofar was blown to signal the assembly of the Israelites during war. (Judges 3:27; 6:34; II Samuel 20:1; Jer. 4:19; 51:27; Neh. 4:20; Amos 3:6).
- Seven shofars were blown before the ark of God. (1Chr. 15:24, 2Sam. 6:15). Signaling awe, relevance and spiritual qualities, the shofar sounding announced the place wherein the Creator resided. Indeed, in Ps 47:5, the shofar serves as a reminder that God is sovereign.
- Shofars were blown as a warning. (Ezekiel 33:3-6, Numbers 10:9, Isaiah 18:3)
- The shofar was used for the coronation of kings. (I Kings 1:34, 39).
- The shofar will be blown at the time of Messiah. (Isaiah 27: 13; Isaiah 27:13; Zech. 9:14.)
Post Biblical Uses of the Shofar
The Rabbi’s left the shofar as the focal point of the religious year (Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Day of the Blast). See Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah, Code of Jewish Law (Simon 129), and the Mishnah Berurah (20th century) 586:1 et seq. Indeed, a full month before, the shofar is sounded at morning services (except of the Sabbath) to remind parishioners that Rosh Hashanah is coming soon and it is the time of repentance.
Sounding Shofar on Yom Kippur
The Mishna Berurah provides in Section 623:12, Neilah Service,
One should blow the Shofar the sounds tekiah, shevarim teruah, tekiah, although there are authorities who say that one should blow one tekiah counts. The Shofar should be sounded after the community prayer has said the kaddish following the Neilah prayer. Some localities have adopted the practice of having the Shofar sounded after the kaddish prayer.
The sounding of the shofar on Yom Kippur refers back to the days of the Holy Temple when every 50 years, a shofar would sound announcing the Jubilee year. During the Jubilee (Yovel) years, all will return to their land, Jewish salves will be manumitted (freed). The shofar is blown at the end of the Neilah service on Yom Kippur.
There is a striking similarity between the shofar sounds of the Jubliee Year and Rosh Hashanah, in terms of their reminders to persons of ownership and people in general to shake their lethargy and on Rosh HaShanah—to remind one of their sins and repentance in order to return to God for salvation. (Rosh HaShanah, 3:5.)
http://shavualshavua.blogspot.com/2010/05/behar-bechukosai-5770.html. Accessed October, 2009.
Another thought is to associate the Jubilee Year with the ideas of freedom, equality, and justice. One commentary links ‘Teruah’ with ’Re’ut,’ or friendship, implying the Jubilee Year institutes the new beginning of quality Among humankind forgiving debts and freeing Jewish slaves. As well as for “all its inhabitants.”
Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof,’ (Lev 25:10, explaining the Jubilee year and also inscribed on the Liberty Bell).
Freedom was proclaimed for servant and master alike (“all of its inhabitants”), reminding us that we can be enslaved by our possessions, and true freedom requires putting material desires into the context of an ethical and compassionate life. The Yovel communicates light of God upon us in order to Return to God (no longer encumbered with mundane affairs). It also returns land returns to its source, providing for a new wholeness.
Accordingly both Yovel and Rosh Hashanah encourage the opportunity to connect – for all humankind.
Accordingly, the linking of Teruah- a primal shofar sounding- and Re’ut, friendship- is so profound. It reminds us that what sets us free is focusing on people, not on objects. Indeed, we can never be fully free to become loving friends if we are oriented more towards ownership of things than service to others.
http://rabbineal.wordpress.com. Accessed October, 2009.
In Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 35b. the commentators mention shofar blasts to announce the Sabbath. Apparently, the shofar sounds were the vehicle ro remind workers to return form the fields to observe the Sabbath. There were a rituals of how many blasts at which hour (disputed as to the exactness in the Talmud). R. Yishmael indicated that: “We blow six shofar blasts on Sabbath eve right before the Sabbath begins.” He comments on three. The first series of shofar blasts tell people in the field to cease all work.
Workers closer to the city must wait for those further away returning together.
At the second blast , stores may remain open with merchandise on removable doors outside until the second blast after which the doors are removed and the stores closed. At the third blast, pots and hot water for the evening meal are taken off the oven and we are prepared for the morning meal.
In Taanis 36a, the question arises as to whether a shofar can be carried on the Sabbath. However, this question is a non-starter because the shofar is sounded PRIOR to the Sabbath.
It should be noted that social history points to the shofar’s sounding for prayers in the Pale of the Settlement and prior. An artifact may well be the “Shul Knocker” attached to each house to be activated by the town shamas (Town Crier) to remind residents that services will shortly begin. The “Shul Knocker” interestingly is shaped as a shofar. See http://www.hearingshofar.com/
Bamidbar 1:9 provides tht fasts are instituted when threaqts to the community, genenrally lack of rain. This obligaton, however, only applied in the Temple Era. However, the Rabbi’s instituted a special ceremony at which the shofar is sounded when the community is in peril. (Pri Megadim, quoted in Mishnah Berurah 576:1).
As was taught in the Baylonian Talmud Ta’anit 15a and 16a-b, the procedure for a fast day called because of severe drought involved bringing the ark out of the synagogue and into the public thoroughfare. The elders of the town would speak. The prayer service included the usual 18 blessings of the amidah prayer with an additional six blessing inserted. The Mishnah continues with the social history that, Rabbi Halafta (Scholar of the first and second centuries ), together with Rabbi Hanina ben Tradyon, (second century) and Eleazar ben PeraṬa I, established ritualistic rules to adapt to the destruction of the Holy Temple and to assert the role of prayer as a substitute for Temple sacrifices.
They instituted the 18 Blessing prayer (amidah) and ended the service with a series of shofar blasts. The Mishnah concludes, however, that when the Sages heard that this had been done by Rabbi Halafta and Rabbi Hanina ben Tradyon, they objected, arguing that this procedure was only appropriate for use in the Temple.
The commentators continued this argument but circumscribed it within the context of the specific shofar sounds.
The R’ID (Lemberg, 1861–69) said that the problem stemmed from their blowing the shofar outside of the Holy Temple, trumpets sounded in times of need.
The Rambam (1135-1204) explains that in the Temple the shofar was sounded between each of the additional blessings, while outside the Temple it was only supposed to be blown at the very end of the service.
The Ge’onim (625-1100) argue that the problem was the way the shofar was sounded. In the Temple the tradition was to blow a series of varying sounds – Teki’ah-Teru’ah-Teki’ah – while outside of the mikdash a Teki’ah – a single, simple blast – was appropriate.
(See http://www.steinsaltz.org/learning.php?pg= Daf_Yomi&articleId=517)
Is Shofar Sounding Appropriate at a Wedding?
After taking part in a wedding ceremony and seeing the quests’ reactions in this solemn, bitter-sweet, tender and loving ceremony, I claim that shofar sounding at a wedding is appropriate. The sounds signal that something special is going to occur. It signals reverence, majesty, noble and royal.
And it is authentically Jewish.
Shavuot and Shofar
Shavuot completes the cycle of the 3-Pilgrammage Festivals (Succot and Pesach are the others). (Chagigah 7a). All pilgrimage festivals are on the same footing as each other. (Sabbath 131a)
The Feast of Weeks is called Pentecost or Assembly. (Talmud – Mas. Rosh HaShana 6b; Talmud – Mas. Mo’ed Katan 20a)
The Special Preparations for This Holiday
The special preparations for this holiday falling 7-weeks after Passover (Lev 23:17), are the two leavened loaves of bread (Shabbath 131a). Yet their preparation does not override the Sabbath ( Beitzah 20b)
There were special sacrifices for the Feast of Weeks:
• A second young bullock thou shalt take for a sin-offering:1 Now, if this comes to teach that there are two [sacrifices], surely it has already been said, (Zevachim 89b)
• The two lambs offered at the Feast of Weeks; cf. Lev. XXIII, 19. These lambs are also permissible as well as the two loaves mentioned previously. (Menachot 13b)
• The thank-offering consisted of an animal-offering and a bread-offering of forty cakes, ten cakes of each of the four different kinds specified; v. Lev. VII, 12, 13. The entire thank-offering had to be consumed on the same day of offering until midnight.
• A special waving peace-offering offered on the Feast of Weeks and accompanied by a bread-offering of two loaves (Lev. 23:17-19. This peace-offering and the loaves had to be eaten on the same day of offering. (Menachot 15a)
Two loaves of leavened bread were offered on Shavuoth, as a communal offering. The unground wheat was first rubbed by the priests…
The two loaves were kneaded and baked separately. They were rectangular in shape, measuring seven handbreadths long and four wide. The loaves were fashioned so that there would be a hornlike protrusion on each of the four corners.
The priests would carry the two loaves and the other offerings up to the altar. They would be accompanied by Levites blasting trumpets and playing flutes.
• The first fruits according to R. Eliezer b. Jacob. first fruits require waving;
• Twin Loaves Waves with Trumpets, Flute and Song
o When the time for the wine libation arrived and the twin loaves were offered, the Levite choir began its music-the singers, trumpeters and musicians. Indeed, the special holiday commandment for this day calls for the blowing of trumpets: “And on the days of your joy, and on your festivals… you shall sound off with trumpets” (Numbers 10:10). Additionally, the festival of Shavuot is included as one of the 12 days of the year in which the flute is played before the altar, even if it falls out on the Sabbath (Maimonides, Laws of Temple Vessels 3:2,5,6).
After the destruction of the Holy Temple, the Rabbi’s decreed that, in lieu of the sacrifices, the Hallel (Ps 113-118) be individually prayed. (Arachin 10a)
Arakhin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three states that the Priests sounded the shofar never less than twenty-one blasts in the sanctuary and never more than forty-eight.
In addition, the shofar sounded during the twin loaves wave offering special for Shavuot. In addition, the special holiday commandment for this day called for the blowing of trumpets: “And on the days of your joy, and on your festivals… you shall sound off with trumpets” (Numbers 10:10).
The Horns of the Altar
Horns on an altar are ancient in the Middle East. Obbink, however, finds Israelite altars unique. Abraham calls his altar Jahwe jir’e (Gen. 22) ; Jacob calls his altar El ‘elohe yisra’el (Gen. 33 20), and Moses calls his, Jahwe nissi (Ex. 17). These are not names for altars. Rather, they are for sanctuaries. Gen. 28 is tells that Jacob took the stone that he had put for his pillow and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it: similarly Gen. 35 . In ancient Israel they were called altars when they were attached to the altar. In both cases the altar is a bethel, and the bethel is an altar. Such was the ancient Semitic tradition. (H. Th. Obbink, The Horns of the Altar in the Semitic World, Especially in Jahwis, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Mar., 1937), pp. 43-49. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3259629. Accessed: 05/29/2011
Initially using the Midrash Tadshe (ch. XI) (The Midrash Tadshe focuses on symbols and it plays much on groups of numbers. Section 2 contains a symbolization of the Tabernacle, the central idea of the midrash is the theory of three worlds—earth, man, and the Tabernacle), Samuel Belkin describes the rationale behind the use of the horns combined with the altar. Belkin explores further by using translations to the Greek texts of Philo, to the Armenian translation of Philo’s Questions and Answers on Genesis and Exodus, to the Mishnah, to the Talmud and Midrash, to Midrash Psalms and to the Mekilta (midrash to Exodus extending Jewish Law). He finds that these horns are of clean animals, whether these are brought as sacrifices or not, have horns and cleft hoofs. Once again, why did the Holy One, blessed be He, decree that horns be made for the altar? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, sought to teach us, that if we offered sacrifices to Him in righteousness, He would repel, destroy and subject their enemies and would not permit them to harm them (the Israelites). For it is written: ‘And all the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up’ (Ps. 75: II). But, if not, (i.e., should the Israelites become iniquitous), He would harass and repel them from before Him, as it is written: ‘And I will make your cities a waste, (and will bring your sanctuaries unto desolation), and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors’ (Lev. 26: 31) ; and it is also said; ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me’ ” (Isa. : II).
Belkin claims that Philo finds the Tadshe to be a Hellenistic Midrash derived from or based upon the main structure of Philo.
Accordingly, those which are to be offered as sacrifices are the following three (kinds): the sheep, the ox, and the goat.
But besides these there are seven other (kinds permitted) for food: gazelle, deer, wild goat, buffalo, white-rumped antelope, oryx, and giraffe; each of these has horns. For He wishes to specify those (animals to be used) for food, for even though they are not to be offered as sacrifices, still they are similar to those which are to be sacrificed.
Secondly, the horns (of the altar) incline and face toward the four sides of the world, toward the east, toward the west toward the south, and toward the Dipper, for it is proper that those who are in all parts (of the world) should all bring their first-fruits and new (offerings) to this one altar, and sacrifice victims to God, the Father of the world. In the third place, (this is said) symbolically, for in place of defensive weapons He has given a crop of horns to animals which grow horns. Just as the (animals) to be sacri¬ficed, (namely) the ram, the ox, and the goat, repel their enemies with their horns, so also did He wish to rebuke the impious who presume to offer sacrifices, by teaching that the divine Logos opposes and repels the enemies of truth, goring every soul as if with horns, and showing up in their nakedness its unclean and unworthy deeds, which a little while before it had been concealing. For these reasons the horns are not to be placed upon (the altar) from outside, but by His command are to be united to the altar itself to extend it, since sacrificial animals have their horns growing out of themselves.”
Samuel Belkin, Some Obscure Traditions Mutually Clarified in Philo and Rabbinic Literature, Source: The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 57, The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Volume of the Jewish Quarterly Review (1967), pp. 80-103. University of Pennsylvania Press, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1453486. Accessed: 05/29/2011
Arthur L. Finkle
The Shofar had several religious roles recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:15; 1 Chronicles 15:28); the announcement of the New Moon (Psalms 81:4); the beginning of the religious New Year (Numbers 29:1); the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 25:9); the procession preparatory to the Feast of Tabernacles (Mishnah, Hullin 1:7); the Havdalah ceremony marking the end of a festival (Mishnah, Hullin 1:7);and other uses mentioned in Hebrew Writings (Mishnah and Talmud) after the fall of the Temple in 70 Common Era (CE).
The Shofar is primarily associated with Rosh HaShanah. Indeed, Rosh HaShanah is called Yom T’ru’ah (the day of the Shofar blast). “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you.” (Numbers 29:1) [ This is 1 Tishrei, which is Rosh HaShanah, the Hebrew New Year.] See also Leviticus 23:24). .
In the Mishnah (book of early Rabbinic laws derived from the Torah), a discussion in Tractate Rosh HaShanah centers around the centrality of the Shofar in the time before the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.O. Those debating never experienced the ceremony itself but their grandfathers may have. Indeed, the Shofar was the center of the ceremony, with two silver trumpets playing a lesser role. On other solemn holidays, fasts, and New Moon celebrations, two silver trumpets were featured, with one Shofar playing a lesser role. The Shofar is also associated with the Jubilee Year in which, every fifty years, Jewish Law provided for the release of all slaves, land, and debts. The sound of the Shofar on Yom Kippur proclaimed the Jubilee Year that provided the actual release of fi¬nancial encumbrances.
The legislation concerning the year of Jubilee is found in Leviticus, xxv, 8-54, and xxvii, 16-24. It contains three main enactments:
• rest of the soil;
• reversion of landed property to its original owner, who had been driven by poverty to sell it; and
• the freeing or manumission of those Israelites who, through poverty or otherwise, had become the slaves of their brethren.
Ten days after Rosh HaShanah, at the Yom Kippur service it reads. “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years.” See Leviticus 16:29, 23:27.
Further, the Scriptures herald: Then shalt thou make proclamation with the blast of the horn on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn throughout all your land. See Lev 25: 9
The new moon offering comes before the Rosh HaShanah offering, because that which is brought the most often has precedence (Yad, Temidim 9:2).
The Israelites and the subsequent Jews celebrated a lunar calendar intercalated so that the seasons are correct. New moons were extremely important. Accordingly, the Shofar was sounded upon the occurrence of the new moon. (Numbers 29:11; Rosh HaShanah 1:1). The Talmud tells us that this custom was discontinued when the Samaritans attempted to disrupt this system of sounding from mountain to mountain announcing the new moon.
Scripture further proclaims the sounding on the appearance of the new moon:
And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations.
Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. See Numbers 10:10.
Finally we have the famous passage in PSALMS 81:3: “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.”
Rediscovering Jewish Christian Heritage
God did not visit Abraham for religious purposes. Moses did not go up on the mountain to get religion, but to meet with and hear from God. Jesus did not come to earth to make us religious but to restore us to relationship with God. It’s all about relationship.
Indeed, Existentialism has captured Christian theology throughout the 20th mid-century. Following in the steps Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger made human existence his since the 1920s, and Karl Jaspers in the 1930s. Human relationships
Enhance humanity by interacting with one another in a spiritual way. The sparks of each soul contributes to a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Jewish Biblical Roots
Others flock to their Jewish biblical roots because they want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the disciples. They celebrate the Jewish holidays that Jesus celebrated and tend to refer the Holy Temple celebrations that were extent in Jesus’ time. They tend to be highly structured that predominates in the American culture. They want a more authentic religion.
ACTS 2:2: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
2:1-4 They [disciples] had prayed more together of late. Would we have the Spirit poured out upon us from on high, let us be all of one accord. And notwithstanding differences of sentiments and interests, as there were among those disciples, let us agree to love one another; for where brethren dwell together in unity, there the Lord commands his blessing. A rushing mighty wind came with great force. This was to signify the powerful influences and working of the Spirit of God upon the minds of men, and thereby upon the world. Thus the convictions of the Spirit make way for his comforts; and the rough blasts of that blessed wind, prepare the soul for its soft and gentle gales. There was an appearance of something like flaming fire, lighting on every one of them, according to John Baptist’s saying concerning Christ;
On Rosh HasShana, the shofar-like blast coming from the Throne of God, calling us to return to the simplicity of the faith as it was originally given to us. It is a call to pursue God out of love, not religion. The gospel of Jesus Christ is anything but religious. It is about relationship.
The gospels, the Psalms or the Prophets bespoke ordinary people living extraordinary lives. They were down-to-earth, hearty and knew how to touch God. They were able, through their daily connection to Him, to change the course of battles, rescue whole nations out of slavery, heal the sick, even raise the dead.
The Resurrection of the Dead even as we wait to hear the trumpet blast of the king, the great shofar of our returning Redeemer, we celebrate the appointed time of the Rosh Hashanah. The annual blast of the shofar during the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows that day when the heavens will be rent by the blast of Messiah’s trumpet. For disciples of the Messiah, Rosh Hashanah is a reminder of that appointed time yet to come when the Master “will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” (Matthew 24:31)
Responding to the Shofar’s Call reveals how this change took place. These Messianic Jewish Christians posit that the Jewish religion of closeness to and love God was hijacked by the Greek philosophers, who have an enormous persuasion on the Earth Church Fathers. Indeed, Ambrose, Chrysostom and Augustine. The philosophizing took the authentic nature of love out of the equation. Instead of relying on outdated, hellenize3d creeds, the Jews continue to question the ways of God and the ways to lead a better life.
What we are involved in is a culture war. The true biblical culture of the believer is Hebraic in nature. There is nothing wrong with demonstrating a biblical culture and yet being comfortable and natural in our own nation’s culture—as long as it is our biblical culture which dominates us and as long as the national cultural characteristics are not harmful to our faith and walk in the Lord.
True Hebraic culture is what Jesus demonstrated. Jesus was perfectly comfortable in His own skin as the holy Son of God and as a Hebrew who was practical and simple. He didn’t theorize and theologize. He didn’t seek after or exalt knowledge. He exalted those with a humble heart who lived out what they believed. He was capable of reaching out to and befriending those who were in a sinful state—a worldly culture— like the tax collectors and “sinners,” without ever becoming like them. http://www.who-is-god-really.org/shofar.html
Footsteps of Jesus and the Disciples
Others flock to their Jewish biblical roots because they want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the disciples. They celebrate THE Jewish holidays that Jesus celebrated and tend to refer the Holy Temple celebrations that existed in Jesus’ brief earthly time.
To a professional trumpet player, the ‘call of the shofar’ signifies:
• Truth (2 Chronicles 15 v.14)
• Repentance (Joel 2 vs. 1 + 15)
• Obedience (Jeremiah 6 v.17)
• A call to worship God (Isaiah 27 v.13, Revelation 1 v.10 )
• The Joy of Trumpets
|Ryan Malone, September 8, 2010, http://www.thetrumpet.com
The sound of the shofar could be joyful blasts heralding a king. In fact, five references of shofar in the Old Testament refer to coronations—namely those on the throne of David. The blast of the seventh trumpet angel heralds the coronation of Jesus Christ to return to the throne of David and assume rulership of all the kingdoms of the Earth! (Revelation 11:15; Isaiah 9:7). What joy that means for God’s people!
This angelic trumpet blast also indicates war. (Revelation 11:18). Jesus, Himself said that, at His Second Coming, “shall all the tribes of the earth mourn …. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet” (Matthew 24:30-31).
Also when the seventh trumpet sounds, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, the dead in Christ will be resurrected! The sound of the trumpet will initiate the first resurrection. John 5:28 says “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” God’s voice is likened to a shofar blast in Exodus 19:16-19 (and in the New Testament: Revelation 1:10; 4:1). Even God’s prophets throughout history were symbolically to use their voices like trumpets (Isaiah 58:1). By lifting their voices like trumpets, God’s prophets were emulating God’s voice! Today, when we trumpet this warning that is a type of God speaking.
Until that point in history, God’s voice will have been trumpeted through His work. But finally, on this day, God will speak—and, just as at Mt. Sinai, it will be an earthshaking event.
A Spiritual Weapon with Revival Power
Shofar is the Hebrew word for a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. Most places in the Old Testament where the English translation is trumpet, the Hebrew word is ‘Shofar’.
We believe that God has given us a revelation that we wish to share with the Body of Messiah. We believe this will add a new dimension to our prayer and spiritual warfare. The Lord has revealed the spiritual dynamic of the use of the Shofar or Ram’s Horn as used by the Israelites in the Old Testament times. We don’t fully under- stand the power of it, why or how it works – but it works !
The Lord led us to the story of Gideon (Judges 7). As is the pattern throughout the book of Judges, the Israelites again turned away from God after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah’s victory over Canaan and were allowed to be attacked by the neighboring Midianites and Amalekites. God chose Gideon, a young man from an otherwise unremarkable clan from the tribe of Manasseh, to free the people of Israel and to condemn their worship of idols. God sent a reluctant Gideon and 300 warriors to battle with a heavily armed enemy of thousands. However, He instructed Gideon to go out with a pitcher and torch in one hand, and a Shofar in the other hand. At the appointed time, the 300 blew their Shofars in unity, which firstly caused restlessness in the enemy’s camp, resulting in their total confusion; turning and killing each other with their swords. We also see in the story of Joshua that he too, won the war by blowing the Shofar. A similar episode occurred at Jericho. The Holy Spirit revealed that, blowing the Shofar brings about some cosmic effect.
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 announce the Return of the Messiah and the Rapture of His Bride. ( 1 Thess 4:16 )
Biblical Blowing of the Shofar.
1 Thess 4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the Shofar of God and the dead in Christ shall rise.”
A Shofar will be blown before the dead rise:
1 Cor 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last Shofar; for the Shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
1 Corinthians 15:52 states: “ . . . in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
The Shofar (trumpet) is the sound of God’s voice.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Revelation 1:10
John Was Heaven Sent by the sound of the Shofar.
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. Revelation 4:1
Seven trumpets (Shofar) are sounded when God judges the earth during the tribulation.
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound the shofar, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. Revelation 8:1-10:7
Acts 2:2 states: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. “ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary comments:
2:1-4 We cannot forget how often, while their Master was with them there were strifes among the disciples which should be the greatest; but now all these strifes were at an end. They had prayed more together of late. Would we have the Spirit poured out upon us from on high, let us be all of one accord. And notwithstanding differences of sentiments and interests, as there were among those disciples, let us agree to love one another; for where brethren dwell together in unity, there the Lord commands his blessing. A rushing mighty wind came with great force. This was to signify the powerful influences and working of the Spirit of God upon the minds of men, and thereby upon the world. Thus the convictions of the Spirit make way for his comforts; and the rough blasts of that blessed wind, prepare the soul for its soft and gentle gales. There was an appearance of something like flaming fire, lighting on every one of them, according to John Baptist’s saying concerning Christ; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. The Spirit, like fire, melts the heart, burns up the dross, and kindles pious and devout affections in the soul; in which, as in the fire on the altar, the spiritual sacrifices are offered up. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than before. They were filled with the graces of the Spirit, and more than ever under his sanctifying influences; more weaned from this world, and better acquainted with the other. They were more filled with the comforts of the Spirit, rejoiced more than ever in the love of Christ and the hope of heaven: in it all their griefs and fears were swallowed up. They were filled with the gifts of the Holy Ghost; they had miraculous powers for the furtherance of the gospel. They spake, not from previous though or meditation, but as the Spirit gave them utterance.
We have taken a journey into Christian theology in which the shofar symbolizes the voice and power of God in His guidance to our present and future. By adhering to the Old Testament, we receive a different perspective of the New Testament, as it was intended.
Water Willow Dance – Hoshana Rabba
Its Christological Significance
Arthur L. Finkle
In reading the tractate Succah, both Palestinian and Babylonian, we come across some fascinating social history regarding the role of the shofar in the ceremonies of the Holy Temple.
We learn that part of the Succot ceremony is celebrated today insofar as dwelling in the sukkah and handling the lulav (palm branch), etrog (related to the lemon and indigenous to Israel), myrtle branch and water willow branch (Arava).
Two important ceremonies, however, were not carried over from the rites of the Holy Temple on Succot: the Aravot Ceremony and the Water Libation Ceremony.
In this article, we will discuss the Water Willow Dance, performed on the seventh day of Succos. This ceremony eventually was transformed by the Rabbi’s into Hoshana Rabba on the same day of Succos.
The Water Libation Ceremony was performed each day of Succos. The rationale teaches the Jewish people to bring water before Him on Succot, petitioning for adequate rains, paramount to the success of an agricultural society. (Succah Bavli 37; and RH 16a). Another interpretation from the Midrash (book of ethical stories and interpretations) is that the lower waters were sad when God separated the waters to upper and lower. Their distress was noted by God that the lower waters would be elevated during this season. (Rabbaynu Bachya to Lev 1:13)
The Water Libation ceremony was an elaborate ritual emitting great joy, in fulfilling of Is. 12:3: ”You shall draw water with joy from the wellsprings of salvation.”
The Rabbi’s in Yerush. Succah 31b (Palestinian) give a social history of the role of the shofar in the Holy Temple, with particular emphasis on Succot. Further, the Rabbis agreed that the Water Libation Ceremony is Scriptural) See Bavli Zevachim 110b)
Aravot (Willoow Branch) Ceremony
The Mishnah (Sukkah 4:5) indicates that the custom was to circle the altar one time on each day of Succos and seven times on the seventh day (similar to Joshua’s circling of Jericho). So too we circle the Bimah one Hoshana each day of Succos and seven Hosannas on the Seventh day.
Jonatan Adler discusses this ceremony as he describes ancient coins which depicted this ceremony. The depiction shows the golden flasgon used to gather the water from the well of Sheloah; a willow branch
“What was the rite of the willow-branch? There was a place below Jerusalem called Motza. The Talmud indicates that Baavli Talmud cites that city to be Kalonia. Because it was tax-exept, the trees were ownerless; thus, there was no taint of theft involved. See Meiri Bavli 45a.
They went down to there, and collected young willow branches, and then came and set them upright along the sides of the altar, with their tops bent over the top of the altar, after which the trumpets made a long blast, a quavering note, and a prolonged blast”. These trumpets were sounded by Kohanim (Priests) See Num. 10:8,9 and Mishnah Succos 5:6.
With reference to what we have learnt, ”’Every day they walked round the altar once, and on that day they went round seven times”‘, your father, citing R. Eleazar, stated: “[This was done] with the lulav (BT Sukkah 43b Soncino translation). This statement was challenged by contemporary sages, who held that the altar was encircled while holding willow-branches, and not the “four species” (ibid.); See also 1. L. Rubenstein:The History of Sukkot in the Second Temple and Rabbinic Periods, Atlanta, 1995, p. 109, who writes: “Most likely the circumambulations were performed with willows – the description says nothing of the lulav but we should not advance solid historical claims where the traditions are silent”. M Sukkah 4: 5, The statement by R. Johanan b. Baroka (M Sukkah 4: 6) regarding the beating of palm fronds should be seen as complementing this tradition (Rubenstein, above, n. 7, p. liS). Jonatan Adler, ,The Temple Willow-Branch Ritual Depicted on Bar Kokhba Denarii, Israel Numismatic Journal, 16 (2007–2008), pp. 129–133
Afred Ederssheom also concurs with the ritual s of this ceremony. Alfred Edersheim, http://philologos.org/__eb-ttms/temple14.htm#Tabernacles
The Mishnah indicates that, to prepare for the Sabbath restriction of carrying, they gathered the branches the day before and placed on the altar. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/etm/etm076.htm
The Yerul. Gemara 23b stated Motza was free from taxes. (The, itself, means exempt from taxes.) These branches were 11 amos high (c. 400 ft.) and placed near the altar. The altar was 9-amos.
The Yersul. Talmud, in Succah 24a describes the ritual. The priests, even those with blemishes, performed the Arava ceremony in the Temple, which required them to circle the altar one time for the first six days of Succos and 7-times on the 7-nth day of Succos, in remembrance of the Joshua’s encirclement of Jericho. (Only priests were allowed into the ante-chamber area.)
Because the priests had to enter the Antechamber adjacent to the altar area, the Rabbi’s ruled that for the Arava ceremony, R. Yehuda indicated that priests with blemishes were allowed because such a regulation was Rabbinic in nature and could be changed by the Rabbi’s.
An interesting note is that the Pharisee maintained that priests could enter the Temple cited in the Tractates, Parah, Kipuurim and Succos. The Sadducees opposed this holding. Yersul. Succah 27a.
It should be also noted that, although most trees in ancient Egypt were not considered holy, the willow tree was the primordial tree on which the sun rested in the shape of a bird at the beginning of the world. The Metternich Stela makes a connection between the tr-tree, apparently the willow, and the benu bird.
It was sacred to Osiris and gave shade to his coffin while his soul rested on it in the guise of the phoenix. In some versions of the myth it was the willow which grew around the coffin protecting it, in others it was the persea.
Trees were possibly less important in the Egyptian religion than in others. But some trees had divine connections, being home, birthplace or resting place of some deities. In the temple at Denderah one inscription proclaims: The names of the sacred trees are jS.t, kbs, tr. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/botany/willow.htm
The Bavli Succah (45a) discusses the mitzvah of “Arava” (willow branches). It states that during the time of the Beit HaMikdash the priests would go down on Succot to a place called Motza that was below Yerushalayim and there they would cut large willow branches. They would then bring the branches to the Beit HaMikdash and lean them against the side of the altar, with the top part leaning over the top of the altar. They would then blow the shofar in the standard fashion, with one broken sound (teru’ah) preceded and followed by a solid sound (teki’ah).
Although the Rabbi’s disagreed over the exact time this ritual began, they concurred that the Prophets instituted this custom. Thus, it was not likely occurring in the Frist Temple but was in the Second Temple.
The Rabbi’s taught that willows of the brook mean of special type of willow as opposed to the zafzafah which grows in the mountains. (Bavli Talmud, Sukkah 34a)
Accordingly, the Rabbi’s decreed the seventh day of Succos as Hoshana Rabba, the day of many Hosannas (petitions for salvation); the time that the Book of Life and Death are finally sealed.
Although trees in Egyptian culture did not have extraordinary significance, it should be noted that the Willow tree in Egypt, a primordial tree on which the sun rested in the shape of a bird at the beginning of the world. The Metternich Stela makes a connection between the tr-tree, apparently the willow, and the benu bird:
It was sacred to Osiris and gave shade to his coffin while his soul rested on it in the guise of the phoenix . In some versions of the myth it was the willow which grew around the coffin protecting it.
Why was a special offering of the water willows brought on the last day of Succos?
The Talmud (Bavli, Rosh Hashana 16a) writes that as the world is judged for water on Succot, we bring a water offering so that the rains for the coming year should be blessed. Water was the lifeblood of the Israeli agricultural society. Petitioning adequate water was a prayer to further one’s livelihood.
Another reason is that the holiday of the harvest moon (on which Succot begins) occurs five days after Yom Kippur in the harvest season. During the harvest season, a person may become haughty and forget God. The Rabbi’s reflect that haughtiness affects not only farmers, of course. The wise may take credit for their knowledge and those of fine character may take credit for their graces. The bottom line is that all we get, whether it be money, wisdom, or respect, comes from God
The Succos 4:5 indicates that the shofar blew three times (tekiah, teruah and tekiah) right before the priests circled the altar. Again the shofar was featured to draw attention to an important festival.
The Rishonim Sages from the 11th through 16th centuries) explain that the reason that this is specifically done on the seventh day of Succos is as follows: Succos is the Day of Judgment for water. This means rain and, in a broader sense, all livelihood. We therefore add special prayers to ask for a good year. The Gemara records a dispute as to whether this is a prophetically ordained custom or not, but we do know that it traces back to the Holy Temple.
Transition of Water Willow Dance to Hoshana Rabba
The name for this holiday probably comes from Psalm 118:25. Hoshana means to save. This is the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It comes one day before Shimini Atzeret. It is usually observed on the 21st day of the Hebrew month Tishri. It is also called “the great Hosanna.”
- This practice in the Temple serves as the basis for our modern custom of Hosannas. As reported by The TUR (14th century German-Spanish Legalist, in Orech Chaim 660), we circle the bema once a day with a Torah being taken to the bema (a practice based on the Yalkut Tehillim) and thus serving as the focal point and in place of the altar. We also bring a Torah to the middle since during the time of the Holy Temple the marchers would recite the name of God while walking, and we have a tradition that the entire Torah is made up of various names of God. According to the Yerushalmi (Palestinian Talmud), our current practice reflects not only what was done during the time of the Temple, but also is meant to mimic the siege and conquering of Jericho in the time of Joshua, when they circled the city once a day for six days and seven times on the final day, causing the walls to come tumbling down (Joshua 6).
R. Joseph Caro (compiler of the Code of Jewish Law, 1565) notes that on Hoshana Rabba (seventh day of Succos), even a person who does not have the four species (palm branch, myrtle, water willow and etrog) should take part in the seven laps around the Torah. His rationale is that since there is a special remembrance of what was done in the Temple – see Succah 41a for more on this concept). The common practice is that a person who does not have the four species never takes part in the walking around the bima.
Rav Feinstein (mid-20th century) also notes that there is a custom to recite the Hosannas after Additional Service where in the Temple there was an additional sacrifice on special days, including the festivals. He gives a simple reason for this order – since one is obligated to read from the Torah and say the additional service, but the Hosannas are simply a custom, it is logical that obligations should precede customs. The Bach (1586-1657 ) offers a second reason. The Mishnah concludes that after the Hosannas on Hoshana Rabba everyone would leave for home while praising the altar. The implication is that the Hosannas were the last thing done in the Holy Temple before people departed, and thus we also make them the end of our services every day before departing for home.
The Order of the Hoshana Rabba Service
The Mogen Avrohom records that the custom was to stay awake on the night of Hoshana Rabba. Commentators indicate that we read the eno9re Torah, Deuteronomy (as a review of the other 4-books) and the Psalms. (The Avudraham; R. Isaac Luria, (Arizal)
The Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) cites a custom brings a Mintage to loosen the bindings of the Lulav so that the water willow is freed.
The congregants circle the Bimah seven times instead of the usual one. In some congregations they blow the Shofar after each circuit.
Hoshana Rabba is the Hebrew name given to the last and greatest day of Hag HaSuccos, the Feast of Tabernacles. Due to the mechanics of the calendar, …
Hoshana Rabba became recognized as an official judgment day in modern Judaism when the Zohar (13th century Kabala) declared it. During the worship service it is common to see congregations march around their worship room seven times (similar to Joshua marching around Jericho). Psalm 118 is chanted and when verse 25 is sung, and after the seventh cycle around the room, the worshipers take the willow branches that they have been carrying and strike the ground with them until the leaves fall off. This is symbolic of the worshiper beating their sins away. Sometimes these palm branches are saved and used to build a fire to burn bread just before Passover.
We have found the rhythm of the Jewish Fall holidays from Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succos as series of vitally important holidays to the pulse of the Israelite in the days of the Holy Temple. Rosh Hashana began the religious year. Yom Kippur was the Day of Atonement not only for individual but also communal sins. Succos was the fall festival of paramount importance in the agricultural society.
We also observed the importance of the shofar. Rosh hashana is the festival of the shofar. Yom Kippur sounds the shofar at the end of the service, originally to announce the Jubilee Year. Succos, to petition God for abundant rains and consequent harvest, the shofar was utilized, particularly for the Water Libation Ceremony and the Water Willow Dance.
We also observed the role the synagogue has replaced the Holy Temple as mean for worship. No longer do we make animal and meal sacrifices. We have kept the intent of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. And we have spiritualized the festival of Succos to one of petition for our agricultural needs, to one of remembrance and thanksgiving. Further, Hoshana Rabba celebrates the closing of the book of accounting.
Dr. Moody believes that the celebration OF Feast of Tabernacles will help bring world peace. In the future Feast of Tabernacles, God will celebrate this feast. Indeed, everyone will celebrate the Succoth during the Messianic Age. (Zechariah 14:16-17).
Isaiah 11 describes this coming age:
- Ferocious animals are at peace with meek lambs.
- The earth is filled with the knowledge of God as waters cover the sea.
- Yeshua, the root of Jesse (Son of David), is a banner for all people.
- Ephraim, those Israelites now scattered in the nations, dwells in peace with Judah, the Jewish people.
- Together, they conquer the enemies of Israel and establish her biblical borders.
In preparation of the Messiah, Dr. Moody instructs hosfollower sto to build a backyard sukkah andwave branches and fruits.
Celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles fulfills Leviticus 23:34-43, and helps prepare for the millennial reign of Messiah on earth! This chapter explains how to celebrate with traditional prayers, menus, and recipes.
Shofar – Signs and Religlious Symbolism
Arthur L. Finkle
What does the sound of the shofar symbolize? There are various interpretations. Let us explore the biblical origins.
Herald the giving and receiving of the Law at Mt. Sinai
Exodus 19:16-19 provides:
“Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.17) And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.18) Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.19) And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.”
Exodus 20:18-20, “Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.19) Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”20) And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.”
The sound of the shofar also brings to God’s remembrance that exalted moment when “a very loud blast of the horn” (Exod. 19:16) was heard at Mount Sinai, and the children of Israel entered into an everlasting covenant with God. On that eventful occasion they responded with the memorable words: “All that the Lord has spoken we will faithfully do!” (Exod. 24:7). This remembrance, too, awakens God’s attribute of mercy on behalf of the children of Israel.
The shofar reminds us of God’s promise of salvation. Indeed, a shofar will then be sounded to announce the establishment of God’s kingship on earth. (Abraham Milgram, , Phil: JPS, 1971.Jewish Publication Society)
Biblical citations foresee the proclamation heralding the Messiah:
“You will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. It will come about also in that day that a great shofar will be blown” (Isaiah 27:13)
Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, Joel 2:1
.” –Matthew 24:29-35
Indeed, the shofar will be sounded in the future:
- At the final ingathering of the exiles of Israel (Is. 27:13)
- To announce God’s miraculous end-time intervention to deliver the people of Israel (Zech 9:14,16)
- To herald the coming Messianic Age (Matt 24:29-31)
- At the Resurrection (I Thess 4:16, 17)
- To announce God’s Judgments (Rev 8-9) and the Day of the Lord (Zeph 1:14-16)
- In connection to the coming of the King Messiah (Rev 11:15-18)
The Shofar is mentioned on occasions of festivals and worship, like on the occasion of bringing up the Holy Ark (2 Samuel 6:15) and in the repentance of Asa and The People (Chronicles B 15:14).
Proclamation of Liberty
Leviticus 25:9-10 proclaims: ‘Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land.10) ‘And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.”
If this particular passage sounds familiar, it is written on the “Liberty Bell”
Super-Human Courage and Strength
Both the Joshua story (Josh. 6:1-20) and the Gideon story (Jdg 6:11) refer top the courage that God provided fearful leaders in leading armies to further the covenant.
In the description of the conquests of Joshua and the People of Israel, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down after blowing the Shofars. And so it is written in the book of Joshua (6, 1-20) about the conquest of Jericho and falling of its walls:
“1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns* in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse…”
An Instrument, Used By God Himself
In various places in the Bible the Shofar is conceived as an instrument, used by God himself:
“Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet…” (Zechariah 9:14).
The sign is given with the Shofar, it is the symbol of God, it is God’s voice.
Signaling and alerting: Ehud and Nehemiah use it to summon their men (Judges 3:27; Nehemiah 4:12-14).
Weapon for frightening the enemy (Judges 7:22)
Announcing victory (Samuel A 13:3)
Announcing rebellion (Samuel B 20:1)
Cease fighting (Samuel B 20:22)
Warning sign about approaching enemy (Jeremiah 4:21; Hosea 5:8; and other)
The prophet is likened to a scout blowing the Shofar to warn the people (Ezekiel 33:1-6).
The scout’s Shofar and the army’s Shofar are joined together in the description of the day of the Lord (Zephaniah 1:16).
It is also written: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great horn shall be blown;” (Isaiah 27:13).
It was customary to blow the Shofar on coronations, like in the story of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:10) and of Jehu (2 Kings 9:13), as well as upon the coronation of God on the entire universe (Psalms 47:6; 68:6)
There is a documented episode in which the sound of the shofar has acted as a curative
Probably for the patient in the room, the shofar, an ancient instrument with years of accumulated cultural and spiritual meaning, sounded like hope. But there’s little space in the modern hospital for displays of faith. When one occurs so dramatically, and so audibly, the effect can be unnerving.
Indeed, Rev. Jim Babarossa had found that the sound o fthe shofar has curative qaualitites. See how is Step By Step World Outreach Ministries work.
Preparations of the Priestly Rituals
In Tamid, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three, the shofar is sounded after every step of the early morning ritual, involving numerous steps (sacrificial cult, blessings of many steps interspersed with the sound of the shofar.
15) At every pause there was a teki’ah and at every teki’ah a bowing down.
Rabbi Shlomo Pliskin analogized the shofar to God’s voice.
Allow me one more leap of exegesis to complete the picture. The Bible describes how God took dust from the earth and breathed into it the breath, or “vapor,” of life, thereby forming a human being – an animal creature with the internal spark of the Divine (Genesis 2:7). The word yovel also means shofar, ram’s horn, into which the human being exhales his vapor in a symbolic commitment to uplift and inspire the animal world, and especially his animal self, with the essential eternity of the Divine. We may live brief lives, akin to vapor. Nevertheless, we have the ability to communicate, to exhale and express our Divine spirit, and thereby influence subsequent generations to achieve redemption. Indeed, as recited at the end of Yom Kippur, “the difference between man and beast is Eternity [ein-sof], for everything lies in the vapor of human, humane expression [hevel].”
Sound of the trumpet compared to a prophet’s voice
Ezekiel 33:2-9 – “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3) ‘when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4) ‘then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5) ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6) ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ 7) “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8) “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9) “Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”
Call People To Repentance
Isaiah 58:1 – “Cry aloud, spare not; 1) Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
Hosea 8:1 – “Set the trumpet to your mouth! 1) He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law.”
Blown to usher in the ark of the Lord (His Presence) as David danced
2 Samuel 6:12-15 – “Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness.13) And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep.14) Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.15) So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.”
1 Chronicles 15:28 – “Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.” (cornet is shofar and trumpets are the silver trumpets in this passage.)
Luke 2: 28-33 describes Gabriel’s announcement to Mary.
And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
The gospel of Mathew describes the sound of the great trumpet heralding the revelation.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from Heaven, and the powers of the Heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the Clouds of Heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a ‘great sound of a trumpet’ (shofar gedolah), and they shall gather together His Elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree (Israel); When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, you know that summer is near: So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the door. Verily I say unto you, This generation that sees this shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:29
Cultures assign many attributes to this ancient, atavistic instrument, the shofar. From the material (war calls, warnings, call to woprship) to the esoteric (Cabbla) to the Messianic, the shofar seems to symbolized human desires. Perhaps even Heavenly ones.
Scary Shofar Sounds Exodus 19:19
Arthur L. Finkle
This past week, we read Exodus 18:1 -20:23). Interestingly, this passage refers to the sound of the shofar. It also puzzles the reader.
Picture that the children of Israel have successfully fled the Egyptian taskmasters. Moses leads these former slaves. God tells him that there are special plans for this special assemblage – 600,000 strong.
19:6 You will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to Me.’ These are the words that you must relate to the Israelites.’
Moses relates God’s words with the elders of the assemblage who say:
19:8 All the people answered as one and said, ‘All that God has spoken, we will do.’
Moses brought the people’s reply back to God.
Thereafter, God promises to assure the Israelites by having them near Mount Sinai so that they too will understand their mission. God tells Moses that the people must ritually purify themselves prior to approaching the mount. (Ex 19:9)
God tells Moses that the people shall make a marker at the base of the mountain beyond which they will not traverse.
Sound of the Trumpet
19:13 But when the trumpet is sounded with a long blast, they will then be allowed to climb the mountain.’
The New International Version (©1984) translates this passage that the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. The issue was is the voice of God the shofar or some other voice?
Indeed, the King James Bible (1611) deciphers that when the voice of the trumpet sounded long and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.
The Douay-Rheims Bible (translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English undertaken by members of the English College, Douai in the service of the Catholic Church. The New Testament was published in Reims (France) in 1582, in one volume with extensive commentary and notes) explains this passage as the sound of the trumpet grew by degrees louder and louder, and was drawn out to a greater length. Then Moses spoke, and God answered him.
As promised, on the third day:
19:16 The third day arrived. There was thunder and lightning in the morning, with a heavy cloud on the mountain, and an extremely loud blast of a ram’s horn. The people in the camp trembled.
Moses led the people out of the camp toward the Divine Presence. They stood transfixed at the foot of the mountain that was trembling with fire and smoke.
Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary (English Presbyterian, originally written in 1706, Matthew Henry’s six volume Complete Commentary provides an exhaustive look at every verse in the Bible) on Verses 16-25 finds that that this terrible judgment, in which Israel heard the voice of the Lord God speaking to them out of the midst of the fire, and lived, Deut. 4:33. Never was there such a sermon preached, before nor since, as this which was here preached to the church in the wilderness. For,
I. The preacher was God himself (v. 18): The Lord descended in fire, and (v. 20), The Lord came down upon Mount Sinai. The shechinah, or glory of the Lord, appeared in the sight of all the people; he shone forth from mount Paran with ten thousands of his saints (Deut. 33:2), that is, attended, as the divine Majesty always is, by a multitude of the holy angels, who were both to grace the solemnity and to assist at it. Hence the law is said to be given by the disposition of angels, Acts 7:53.
II. The pulpit (or throne rather) was Mount Sinai, hung with a thick cloud (v. 16), covered with smoke (v. 18), and made to quake greatly. Now it was that the earth trembled at the presence of the Lord, and the mountains skipped like rams (Ps. 114:4, 7), that Sinai itself, though rough and rocky, melted from before the Lord God of Israel, Jdg. 5:5. Now it was that the mountains saw him, and trembled (Hab. 3:10), and were witnesses against a hard-hearted unmoved people, whom nothing would influence.
III. The congregation was called together by the sound of a trumpet, exceedingly loud (v. 16), and waxing louder and louder, v. 19. This was done by the ministry of the angels, and we read of trumpets sounded by angels, Rev. 8:6. It was the sound of the trumpet that made all the people tremble, as those who knew their own guilt, and who had reason to expect that the sound of this trumpet was to them the alarm of war
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible (Rev. Gill is relatively unread. He preached in the same church as C. H. Spurgeon over one hundred years earlier in c1761. A font of information regarding ancient writings is found among his works.) accented there were thunder, lightning, and a thick cloud upon the mount, wakening and strike awe of the people to what they were to hear and receive, . In addition, these natural rumblings intended to add to the solemnity of the day to signify terror of the legal dispensation, and the wrath and curse that the transgressors the law might expect, even a horrible tempest of divine vengeance. See Hebrews 12:18.
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary (German theologians c 1880) on the Old Testament claimed these natural phenomena were accompanied by a loud trumpet blast, which “blew long and waxed louder and louder” (Exodus 19:16 and Exodus 19:19; see Genesis 8:3). Such as blast the herald’s call, announcing to the people the appearance of the Lord, and summoning them to assemble before Him and listen to His words, as they sounded forth from the fire and cloudy darkness. This blast of the shofar (Exodus 19:19), was used in the service of God (in heaven, 1 Thessalonians 4:16; see Winer’s Grammar) was not the voice of God, but a sound resembling a trumpet blast. Whether this sound was produced by natural means, or, as some of the earlier commentators supposed, by angels, of whom myriads surrounded Jehovah when He came down upon Sinai (Deuteronomy 33:2), it is impossible to decide.
If the sound were produced by angels perhaps this sound is in the spiritual realm below that of God’s but higher than humankind’s.
Then, There was the sound of a ram’s horn, increasing in volume to a great degree. Moses spoke and God replied with a Voice. (EX. 19:19)
Zondervan interprets the natural thunder and lightning, and exceedingly loud trumpet blast (Rev 1:10; 4:1) and a thick cloud (Ex 19-9; 2Ch. 5:14) as an impressive display of cosmic activity. See Ps. 77:18; Heb. 12:18-19; Rev. 4:5; 8:5; 11:19).
Interestingly, Moses’ reaction is noty given. However, in Heb 12:21 his response was “I am trembling with fear.”
Moses climbed the mountain to receive Torah (obligations) to perform whatever God requires. (Ex. 19:20)
Thereafter, God tells Moses that the people must not cross the boundary at the bottom of the mountain, lest they die.
Indeed, Moses replied to God, ‘The people cannot climb Mount Sinai. You already warned them to set a boundary around the mountain and to declare it sacred.’ (Ex. 19:23). God repents and says that only Aaron., Moses’ brother can accompany him beyond the boundary.
At this point there is an inconsistency in the reading. In Ex. 19:13, God says the assemblage can climb mountain to receive the Divine Word. Yet we find later on (Ex 19:23) the that the people cannot traverse the boundary at the base of the mountain, except for Aaron
The issue arises, why did God seemingly change his mind? Did the great blast of the shofar assist in this change of direction? Did God not trust anyone to receive The Word other than Moses and Aaron?
If so, did the shofar sound mean that the Divine Word, although meant to be adhered to by all, could only be given directly to Moses and his brother?
Why Such a Negative Experience?
These passages in Exodus confusedly bring to light the difficulty and discomfort that God exposed the Israelites – with lightning, thunder a, trembling and the blare of the shofar.
When the people experienced these terrors they were shaken. Moses’ ultimately telling them that all of this was precisely God’s Intent, (20:17) “
…Don’t be afraid, for God Has Come to test you and in order for His Fear to be upon your faces, so that you will not sin,” unambiguously states that the association that the people made between the giving of the Torah and a sense of terror and intimidation was fully in accordance with the Divine Plan.
But the most literally terrifying aspect of the giving of the Torah is the awe-inspiring sounds, images, and bodily sensations to which the Jews are exposed during this period. (19:16) “…And there was thunder and lighting and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and the very powerful sound of a Shofar…”(19:18) “And Sinai was completely obscured by smoke…and its smoke was like the smoke of a furnace, and the entire mountain shook exceedingly.” (19:19) “And the sound of the Shofar became ever louder and stronger…” The response of the people to this cacophony of sounds, terrifying sights, and general diastrophism could have easily been predicted: (19:16) “…And the entire people trembled.” (20:15) “…
The great Hassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev taught:
There are those who hear the Shofar on Rosh HaShana, and then continue to hear the Shofar every day of the year. But there are those, on even higher levels, who heard the Shofar at the Revelation at Mt. Sinai, and who continue to hear that Shofar every day of their lives.
What did this mystical master mean? He declared that those who hear the Shofar as a Warning, stirring, a wakeup call, a call to repentance and an alarm will continue to hear this sound throughout the year in terms of possessing the attributes that the Shofar bestirs.
For those hearing the ceaseless sound of the Shofar in a different spiritual dimension have possessed these attributes from the time of Mount Sinai (when God presented revelation and a guide of principles b which to measure your moral life) to today and for evermore.
Indeed, the mystics believe that Rosh Hashanah, the feast of the blasts of the Shofar, takes away some of the light of the world to regenerate souls to achieve powers that they never would have achieved had there not been the shofar blasts.
Jewish Mysticism has been of major historical importance in the development of Western Esoteric traditions since the Renaissance. The phenomenon of “Christian Kabbalah” is a central phenomenon, reciprocally influencing Jewish mysticism in the modern period.
In this system, the heavenly imperative is sensed even though not having a physical presence
Another Chassidic teaching is that, although there are differing sounds from the Shofar, (short staccato sounds and other extended, unbroken sounds), the Torah tells us to do teru’ah on Rosh Hashanah, which by its word, suggests making broken sounds, or sounds that break obstacles.
Yet, with regard to the Great Shofar of the future Redemption, it says “On that day the Great Shofar will be takia,” alluding to the unbroken, drawn-out sound called tekiah. This is a sound of strength and confidence, rather than brokenness. “Tekiah” comes from the word teka, which can mean physical intimacy or coupling. (Bavli Talmud, Yevamos, 54a.) Therefore it’s a sound that “gathers” and unites. http://iyyun.com/teachings/holidays/sounds-of-the-shofar.
Shofar as a Temple Musical Instrument
Arthur L. Finkle
The Shofar is the only musical Jewish musical instrument that survived two millennia in its original form and is still used to the sounding of the Shofar. Rabbi Saadia Gaon (11th century) stated that the sound of the Shofar raised awe and emotion in the hearts and souls of the people. Maimonides interpreted the sounding as reminding humankind of its duties to God. The mystical Zohar holds that the sound of the Shofar awakens the Higher Mercy.
The Shofar is the most-mentioned instrument in the Bible (72 times). It held a special religious and secular role in the life of the Jewish people. Only Priests and Levites (as Levites) were allowed to perform the religious function of sounding the Shofar in the Jewish Commonwealth.
The Shofar is first mentioned in Exodus 19:16 at the theophany on Sinai. It was used to proclaim the Jubilee Year and the proclamation of “freedom throughout the land” (Lev. 25:9–10); this verse is engraved upon the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was to be sounded on Rosh Ha-Shanah, which is designated as “yom teru’ah” (“A day of blowing”; Num. 29:1). It was also used as an accompaniment to other musical instruments (Ps. 98:6), in processionals (Josh. 6:4ff.), as a signal (Josh. 6:12ff., II Sam. 15:10), as a clarion call to war (Judg. 3:27), and in order to induce fear (Amos 3:6).
When used in the Temple, the Shofar was usually sounded in conjunction with the trumpet (hazozrah). The Talmud (RH 27a) states that the trumpet was made of silver while the processed horn of one of the five species of animal—sheep, goat, mountain goat, antelope, and gazelle—was used to fulfill the ritual commandment of the sounding of the Shofar. It further declares (ibid. 26b) that the Shofar should preferably be made of a ram’s or wild goat’s horn, because they are curved. Rabbi Judah states “the Shofar of Rosh Ha-Shanah must be of the horn of a ram, to indicate submission.” Traditionally a ram’s horn is sounded on those days because of its connection with the sacrifice of Isaac (the Akedah), the story of which is the Torah reading for the second day of the festival. Conversely, a cow’s horn may not be used because of the incident of the golden calf (RH 3:2). The Shofar may not be painted, though it can be gilded or carved with artistic designs, so long as the mouthpiece remains natural. A Shofar with a hole in its sidewall or a chip in its mouthpieceIN ITS SIDEWALL is deemed halakhically unfit, though it may be used if no other is available (Sh. Ar., OH 586).
The Shofar had several religious roles recorded in the Tanakh (the Bible), such as the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam. 6:15; Chronicles 15:28); the announcement of a New Moon (Psalms 81:4); the beginning of the religious New Year (Num. 29:1; the Day of Atonement (Lev. 25:9); the procession preparatory to the Feast of Tabernacles (Mishnah Hullin 1:7); the libation ceremony (Mishnah: RH 4:9); and the Havdalah ceremony marking the end of a festival (Mishnah, Hullin 1:7)
In addition, the Shofar had a number of secular roles, such as coronating a king (2Sam, 5:10; 1 Kings 1:34; 2 Kings 1:13) and signaling in times of war to assemble troops to attack, to pursue, and to proclaim victory (Num. 10:9; Judges 6:4; Jeremiah 4:5 and Ezekiel 33:3-6)
After King David supervised the building of the first Temple (1000 BCE), he dedicated holy building as a sanctuary to house the written law (10 commandments) and to practice the sacrificial cult (which was how people in the Middle East worshipped.)
The Sacrificial Ceremony
The Priests consecrated five different sacrificial types preponderantly involving animals or dough. When the Priests stood on top of the ramp holding the parts of sacrifice, placing them into the fire as he carried them up. He then throws the sacrifice into the great fire; he walks over and places it neatly on the burning logs.
Accompanying this ritual were a choral group and a small orchestra. Special lyrics and songs played according the time of the week and the type of sacrifice (the Bible counts 5 different types of sacrifices in Leviticus 1:1).
Leviticus 1-7 gives the most detailed description of Israel’s sacrificial system. Rituals performed after childbirth (Leviticus 12:6-8), for an unclean discharge (Leviticus 15:14-15) or hemorrhage (Leviticus 15:29-30), or after a person who was keeping a Nazirite vow was defiled (Numbers 6:10-11) required a burnt offering, as well as a sin offering..
1. Burnt offering (olah). The burnt offering was offered both in the morning and in the evening, as well as on special days such as the Sabbath, the new moon, and the yearly feasts (Numbers 28-29; 2 Kings 16:15; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 2 Chronicles 31:3; Ezra 3:3-6). was defiled (Numbers 6:10-11) required a burnt offering, as well as a sin offering.
The animal for this sacrifice could be a young bull, lamb, goat, turtledove, or young
pigeon; but it had to be a perfect and complete specimen. The type of animal chosen for this sacrifice seems to be dependent on the offerer’s financial ability.
2. Grain offering (minchah; “meat offering” in KJV). An offering from the harvest of the land is the only type that required no bloodshed. It was composed of fine flour mixed with oil and frankincense. Sometimes, this offering was cooked into cakes prior to taking it to the priest. These cakes, however, had to be made without leaven. Every grain offering had to have salt in it (Leviticus 2:13), It may have symbolized the recognition of God’s blessing in the harvest by a society based to a large degree on agriculture. The bringing of a representative portion of the grain harvest was another outward expression of devotion.
3. Peace offering . This consisted of the sacrifice of a bull, cow, lamb, or goat that had no defect. As with the burnt offering, the individual laid a hand on the animal and killed it. The priests, in turn, sprinkled the blood around the altar. Only certain parts of the internal organs were burned. The priest received the breast and the right thigh (Leviticus 7:28-36), but the offerer was given much of the meat to have a meal of celebration (Leviticus 7:11-21).
4. Sin offering was designed to deal with sin that was committed unintentionally. The sacrifice varied according to who committed the sin. If the priest or the congregation of Israel sinned, then a bull was required. A leader of the people had to bring a male goat, while anyone else sacrificed a female goat or a lamb. The poor were allowed to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons.
5. Guilt offering. This is hard to distinguish from the sin offering (Leviticus 4-5). In Leviticus 5:6-7, the guilt offering is called the sin offering. Both offerings also were made for similar types of sin. The guilt offering was concerned supremely with restitution. Someone who took something illegally was expected to repay it in full plus 20 percent of the value and then bring a ram for the guilt offering. Other instances in which the guilt offering was prescribed included the cleansing of a leper (Leviticus 14:1), having sexual relations with the female slave of another person (Leviticus 19:20-22), and for the renewing of a Nazirite vow that had been broken (Numbers 6:11-12).
The burnt, grain, peace, sin, and guilt offering composed the basic sacrificial system of Israel. These sacrifices were commonly used in conjunction with each other and were carried out on both an individual and a corporate basis. The sacrificial system taught the necessity of dealing with sin and, at the same time, demonstrated that God had provided a way for dealing with sin.
Although the Prophets excoriated the sacrificial rites because the people seemed to be more impressed with ritual than the reason why the rituals were offered, the Prophets, conceding the collective mores of the people, did not want to abolish the sacrificial system.
Interestingly the sacrifice system is found in the New Testament. The New Testament consistently describes Jesus’ death in sacrificial terms. Hebrews portrays Jesus as the sinless high priest who offered himself up as a sacrifice for sinners (Leviticus 7:27). The book ends with an encouragement to offer sacrifices of praise to God through Jesus.
After the Romans destroyed the Holy Temple, the sacrificial cult terminated. During this time, moreover, the early Church also disbanded the sacrificial rites because Christianity began to differ materially form Judaism.
Thereafter, two Priests stood atop of a marble stand near the altar signaling trumpet blasts: tekiah, tekiah and teruah. A long note followed a series of short notes; then another long note.
On Rosh Hashanah and other full holidays (Full holidays are generally a Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and the three pilgrmage fesitvals – Sukot, Pesach and Shavuot) a single Priest perfected two sacrifices in honor of the full holiday, Note that festivals such as Hanukah and Purim), are not considered full holidays requiring an extra sacrifice. On Rosh Hashanah, something special occurred during the special sacrifice. Arguably two Shofar Sounders played the long notes and one Trumpet player played the short note. Accordingly, Rosh HaShanah is called Yom Teruah (the day of the blast) Otherwise, the Trumpets had “top billing.” Rosh Hashanah27a, supports this claim: “Said Raba or it may have been R. Joshua B. Levi: What is the scriptural warrant fore this? – Because it is written, “With trumpets and the sound of the Shofar shout ye before the King in the Temple, we require trumpets and the sound of the Shofar; elsewhere not.” See also Sidney B. Hoenig, Origins of the Rosh Hashanah Liturgy, The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 57, The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Volume of the Jewish Quarterly Review (1967), pp. 312-331. • Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1453499. Accessed December 31, 2009
Indeed, on Yom Kippur, the Shofar was sounded to announce the Jubilee Year (every 50-years, Jews were granted freedom, forgiveness and debts and reclamation of sold lands. Shofar first indicated in Yovel (Jubilee Year – Lev. 25:8-13). Indeed, in Rosh Hashanah 33b, the sages ask why the Shofar sounded in Jubilee year. Further support is found in Rosh Hashanah 29a, where the Talmud talks of trumpets for sacrifices but Shofar in the Jubilee Year does not apply to priests who are exempt from the obligations of the jubilee. Perhaps, we have the first mention of Shofar Sounding by non-Priests. Perhaps the first distancing away from the Sacrificial Cult.
Otherwise, for all other special days, the Shofar is sounded shorter and two special silver Trumpets announced the sacrifice.
When the trumpets sound the signal, all the people who are within the sacrifice prostate themselves, stretching out flat, face down and on the ground.
Indeed, the idea that rabbinic prayer modeled itself of that of the
Temple is supported by:
• Jeffrey H. Tigay. On Some Aspects of Prayer in the Bible, AJS Review, Vol. 1, (1976), pp. 363-379, Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Association for Jewish Studies
• Holman Bible Dictionary: http://www.studylight.org/
• Arthur L. Finkle, , Easy Guide to Shofar Sounding, Torah Aura, Los Angeles, CA, 2002.
Further support for this occurrence come from Alfred Edersheim, a 19th century biblical scholar:
The Shofar was blown at the temple to begin the Sabbath each week. There was within the temple an inscription on the lintel of the wall at the top of the Temple that said, “To the house of the blowing of the trumpet (Shofar)”. Each Sabbath 2 men with silver trumpets and a man with a Shofar made three trumpet blasts twice during the day. On Rosh haShanah, this was different. The Shofar is the primary trumpet. According to Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29, Rosh HaShanah is the day of the blowing of the trumpets. The original name is Yom (Day) Teruah (The staccato sound of the horn, which also means “Shout”). According to the Mishnah (Rosh HaShanah 16a, Mishnah RH 3:3), the trumpet used for this purpose is the ram’s horn, not trumpets made of metal as in Numbers 10. On Rosh HaShanah, a Shofar delivers the first blast, a silver trumpet the second, and then the Shofar the third.
Alfred Edersheim, by boldly setting out his aim: It has been my…” published in 1874, republished by Gregal Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI 1997.
Another source bespeaks this conclusion:
According to rabbinic tradition, “In the Temple on Rosh Hashanah two men blowing silver trumpets stood on either side of the one who blows the Shofar. Citing the Gemara, referring to verses [Psalms 47:5; 81:3; 98:6; 150:3] requiring trumpets along with the Shofar,”we also read that, “A community beset by calamity is under a Rabbinic obligation to…[be] assembled for supplication and prayer, and this is always accomplished with trumpets, as written in Numbers 10:2”
And they shall be yours for summoning the assembly….we sound the trumpets in order to stir the hearts of the people and bring them to repentance by causing them to realize that the disaster resulted because of their sins. In the Temple, Shofars were blown along with the trumpets. The Shofar [blows] short…and the trumpets [blow] long…for the primary commandment is with trumpets.”
In these rabbinic statements, the word “Shofar” is footnoted: “The use of two Shofars, one on each side, is a Rabbinic innovation, to publicize that the special mitzvah of the day is with trumpets (Rosh HaShanah also called Yom Teruah).” (Schottenstein Gemara, chap. 3, “Rosh Hashanah,” pp 24b2, notes 21, 24, 27,28,) “Trumpets” is footnoted with: “The purpose of sounding an instrument on a fast day is to assemble the people for supplication and prayer….blowing the trumpets is more important, for it is mandated by the Pentateuch, whereas the Shofar accompaniment is derived from the aforementioned verse in Psalms” (Schottenstein Gemara, chap. 3, “Rosh Hashanah 24b2, notes 21, 24, 27,28, Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, NY.) Also see The Writings of Flavius Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews,” Bk. 3, Chap. 12, http://www.bible.crosswalk.com.)
It is also noted that we have confusion as to wher there was a Shofar with two trumpets or two trumpets and a Shofar. This is underastandsable because Rosh HaShana 27a notes trumpets (plural) and Shofar (singular). On the other hand, in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Musical instruments) p 172) the trumpets (chuzotzrot) were the the ususal Temple instruments and the Shofar was used only for special occasions.
Moreover, the word for trumpet is used interchangeably with Shofar (See Maimonides, Yad. Hilchot Shofar 21.1; and the baraita in Rosh Hashanah 33b.
For more information about Shofar and other Holy Temple instruments.
We have three websites
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