Breath and wind are instrumental in playing the sacred instrument, the Shofar, or ram’s horn (or sometimes an antelope horn) that is blown on Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur as a call to repentance, a spiritual wake-up. The word shofar is from the root of sha-per, to improve. Its hollow nature, open to the life breath of the blower, encourages us to open ourselves to the divine spirit operating through us.

The shofar was used in ancient times to rally the people together, announce important occasions, or lead them into battle. The powerful sound of a great shofar was heard at the giving of the Torah at Sinai, and has many more associations in Jewish history and lore, that you can learn about here. Learn how to blow a shofar.

Consider and comment: Do you have your own shofar to blow each morning during the month of Elul, the Hebrew month prior to Rosh Hashanah? It is a wonderful practice. Do you have any special memories around hearing a shofar?

Learn about a human rights organization named for a shofar sound, or return to the Gateway of Wind.

Shofar Video from Hazon, the premier Jewish environmental organization.