Numbers 29:1 "It will be for you a day of sounding the Shofar." Since then we keep the Mitzvah of hearing the shofar during the High Holidays, and often in other Jewish celebrations.
While it looks like any other musical instrument, we don’t feel as comfortable blowing it and often freeze in trying. We carefully hold it in our hands, admire its form and envision ourselves producing an awe-inspiring blast on Rosh Hashanah, when the moment arrives we are lost. Have the same problem? No worries! Read our ultimate shofar blowing guide and you’ll be sounding it like a pro!
1 Moist lips
First things first. Prep your lips with a Chapstick to make sure they are moist and ready for the mouthpiece. This will help in affixing the shofar in place, during the blowing as the lips vibrate.
2 Test sounding
Once the mouthpiece in steady against your lips, blow and force air through a tiny hole in your lips.
3 Practice blowing the shofar
Practice makes perfect. Feel comfortable with the mouthpiece and start by producing noise, sound and then move to breaking the blasting as you wish. Only when you feel you are ready continue to mastering the traditional Rosh Hashanah blasts: Teki’ah, Shevarim, Teruah and Teki’ah gdola.
Instructables.com offers a great video lesson taking you step by step as you learn to master the Rosh Hashanah shofar soundings!
But, first take a moment to learn about the significance of these blast groups, why do we blow three times and what do Teki’ah, Shevarim and Teruah mean to us?
It is one long and straight blast.
Wondering why it’s long and straight? Well, Rosh Hashanah is a time of awakening and self-reflection. The long and strong shofar blast draws us back to God, our King, reminding us of His presence in every aspect of our lives as he was present in Garden of Eden. Adam accepted God as his king and from that day we do the same, on Rosh Hashanah by accepting His wishes and laws again, when we hear the Teki'ah blowing.
This group consists of three medium wailing sounds.
The term ‘Shevarim’ originates from the word ‘Shever’, meaning in English broken, and indeed, this shofar blast resembles a broken heart, wailing, crying over things we couldn't do. At this moment we turn to God in prayer, and ask for his assistance in becoming better from the bottom of our heart and depths of soul.
Standing in the synagogue, facing the New Year, the Shevarim soundings reminds us of promises we were unable to fulfill and of wrongs we might have done before God and our loved ones.
|This group consists of 9 quick staccato blasts in short succession|
Just like the alarm clock on snooze mode in the morning, the Teruah blasts call us to take action. Emerge from passivity, face the objective mirror and learn if we are content as we are, in our deeds and where we are heading to. Greatness achieved by small steps, as the strong impression of the shofar by 9 short blasts.
Rosh Hashanah shofar sounding ends with a great Teki’ah, taking us a full circle to the beginning. In a symbolic process of rebirth, a better and stronger self emerges, accepting God’s discipline and presence in our lives.