Symbolism of the Cry of the Shofar

The Shofar

Written by Michael A. Hansen

The Shofar is the Jewish calling voice. It was used in ancient Israel to announce the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) and call people together.

It is heard in the Bible during times of joy and war and in the temple. The Shofar is related to the ‘forgiveness and mercy’ month. It is blown in every Israeli community during Rosh Hashanah (New Year).

This horn is believed by the Jewish faith to open up the gates of heaven. There are three main types of shofar blasts — tekiah, shevarim and t’ruah.
  • The tekiah blast is one long note that acts as a kind of summons. Others have suggested that it is the sound of a king’s coronation. On Rosh Hashanah, Israel is traditionally called to reaffirm God’s sovereignty.
  • Shevarim literally means “breaks” or “fractures.” The shevarim blast is three medium-length notes that have been compared to the sound of weeping.
  • The t’ruah blast is a series of very short, staccato sounds that have been compared to an urgent alarm, calling us to rouse from our spiritual slumber.
The blasts of the shofar are wake-up calls. Rosh Hashanah is the time to shake-out of our spiritual slumber, reconnect to our Source, and recommit to our divine mission in this world. It is considered a mitzvah (commandment) to hear the shofar blown.

The text sung on the following page is taken from the Kedusha, shacharit prayer for Shabbat and Holidays.

An ancient Jewish prayer - Mi’mekomcha 
by Rabbi Carlebach, 
performed by Yamma Ensemble  (click here to listen)

מִמְּקוֹמְךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ תּוֹפִיעַ⁠

Mimkomcha malkeinu tofia

From your place, our King, may you appear 

וְתִמְלוֹךְ עָלֵינוּ, כִּי מְחַכִּים אֲנַחְנוּ לָךְ⁠

V’timloch aleinu, ki m’chakim anachnu lach. 

And reign over us, for we are waiting for You. 

מָתַי תִּמְלךְ בְּצִיּוֹן, בְּקָרוֹב, בְּיָמֵינו 

Matai timloch b’tzion, b’karov, b’yameinu

When will you reign in Zion? Soon, in our days, 

לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד תִּשְׁכּוֹן

L’olam va’ed tishkon.

Forever may you dwell there.

תִּתְגַּדֵּל וְתִתְקַדֵּשׁ בְּתוֹךְ יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירְךָ

Titkadal v’titkadash b’toch y’rushalayim ircha,

May You be exalted and sanctified within your city Jerusalem.

לְדוֹר וָדוֹר, וּלְנֵצַח נְצָחִים

L’dor vador ul’netzach n’tzachim.

Generation after generation, and for all eternity.

וְעֵינֵינוּ תִּרְאֶינָה מַלְכוּתֶךָ

V’eineinu tirenah malchutecha,

May Your eyes see Your kingdom.

כַּדָּבָר הָאָמוּר בְּשִׁירֵי עֻזֶּךָ

Kadavar ha’amur b’shirei uzecha.

As this matter is expressed in the songs of Your might.

עַל יְדֵי דָּוִד, מְשִׁיחַ צִדְקֶךָ

v’al yedei David, meshiach tzidkecha.

And by David, the Messiah of your Justice.

מִמְּקוֹמְךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ תּוֹפִיעַ⁠
וְתִמְלוֹךְ עָלֵינוּ כִּי מְחַכִּים אֲנַחְנוּ לָךְ⁠
מָתַי תִּמְלךְ בְּצִיּוֹן
מָתַי תִּמְלךְ בְּצִיּוֹן
בְּקָרוֹב בְּיָמֵינו
לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד תִּשְׁכּוֹן
תִּתְגַּדֵּל וְתִתְקַדֵּשׁ בְּתוֹךְ יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירְךָ
לְדוֹר וָדוֹר וּלְנֵצַח נְצָחִים
וְעֵינֵינוּ תִּרְאֶינָה מַלְכוּתֶךָ
כַּדָּבָר הָאָמוּר בְּשִׁירֵי עֻזֶּךָ
עַל יְדֵי דָּוִד מְשִׁיחַ צִדְקֶךָ

How could listening to this Shofar remind you of your obligations to return to Christ through recognizing, reflecting, releasing, reforming and restoring?

“Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.” Alma 60:23