Where have all the shofarot gone?

Through a highly academic survey of this article on Wikipedia, I have determined that the shofar was once used for all of the following (the following list does not include the obvious military applications of shofarim a la Sefer Yehoshuah) :

-Causing folks to tremble, by blowing the shofar from the midst of a cloud of smoke from atop Har Sinai
-Announcing the commencement of Rosh Chodesh
-Announcing the commencement of “solemn feasts”
-Announcing the commencement of a jubilee year
-Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur (welcome to the “no, duh” bullet of the list)
-Ceremonies, such as processions
-In an accompanying orchestra to a psalm of praise
-Announcing the commencement of Shabat
-Marking the moment of reunification of East and West Jerusalem in 1967

And so I ask you, gentle readers, WTF? What happened? Where did it go? Why have we restricted the use of perhaps the most primal and arousing of our ritual objects to two days a year?

Frankly, I think we ought to use them more often. And not in the sanctuary. I think we ought to use them in a muezzin-like fashion, outside calling out for all, Jew and non-Jew, to hear.

14 Responses to Where have all the shofarot gone?

  1. gsmckinney February 11, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    Or to scare off great white sharks.

  2. Elf's DH February 12, 2008 at 12:28 am #

    Causing folks to tremble, by blowing the shofar from the midst of a cloud of smoke from atop Har Sinai
    Kind of hard to repeat :-)

    In an accompanying orchestra to a psalm of praise
    We found better instruments? :-)

    Announcing the commencement of a jubilee year
    This may be the origin of the Yom Kippur shofar blast.

    Marking the moment of reunification of East and West Jerusalem in 1967
    I’ve heard of congregations blowing shofar for Yom Haatzmaut; I hadn’t heard of it for Yom Yerushalayim. But, the effect is the same.

    You’re missing “every day of the month of Elul.”

  3. Elf's DH February 12, 2008 at 12:29 am #

    *(every day excluding the last)

  4. David A.M. Wilensky February 12, 2008 at 8:26 am #

    Elf’d DH- Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. I really don’t know if that was the correct amount of yes.

  5. David A.M. Wilensky February 12, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    Mom- Did you just say that because Roy Schneider died?

  6. gsmckinney February 12, 2008 at 10:16 am #

    I didn’t know that’s why you had set your status to that quote. Now I need to set aside time to re-watch “All That Jazz.”

  7. Harold February 12, 2008 at 3:41 pm #

    Could it be that the need for shofar blowing to announce certain events is no longer needed given a formal calendar and faster means of communication? But I do like the idea of hearing the shofar more often than we do.

    Of course, what I really want to see is someone blowing a shofar just before a large building is imploded or during an earthquake.

  8. David A.M. Wilensky February 12, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    Dad-To your first comment about unnecessariness, yeah. I’ve just been thinking about this since Yom Kipur. I was in East Brunswick at Noa’s house for Yom Kipur. At the end of the day, they had about ten guys scattered around their very majestic sacntuary (probably one of my favorite American sanctuaries, architecture-wise) and the effect was absolutely awe-inspiring.

    In most Muslim communities, I would guess that the muezzin would be uneccessary at this point also, but it is so visceral and arousing to hear that projected acorss a city from the mosque minarets that the tradition continues.

  9. jepaikin February 13, 2008 at 8:21 am #

    Could we get some Jazz music written for the shofar?

    Also… and I may be wrong… but I believe that the plural of Shofar is Shofarot – at least that’s what my Machzor says.

  10. davidamwilensky February 13, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    Jesse – I don’t wanna talk about jazz music right now. Or ever again.

    Thanks for pointing out that plural thing. Fuck irregular plural nouns in Hebrew!

  11. REK February 13, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    Not that I’m saying this was a good thing, but I used to play my shofar to annoy my (generally loud at inappropirate hours) next door neighbor. I agree!! Let’s use the shofar more!!!!!

  12. REK February 14, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    note of clarification: the neighbor was loud at inappropriate hours…not my shofar playing…I would do that during the day.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. High Holidays Sampler Plate Adventure–Intro | Jewschool - September 18, 2009

    […] like Yom Kipur. There are things I like about them–repentance (see Tshuvot!), shofars (see Where have all the shofarot gone? and Why I used a bullhorn last night) and pomegranates–but I have to admit that I’ve […]

  2. High Holidays Sampler Plate Adventure–Intro « - September 18, 2009

    […] like Yom Kipur. There are things I like about them–repentance (see Tshuvot!), shofars (see Where have all the shofarot gone? and Why I used a bullhorn last night) and pomegranates–but I have to admit that I’ve […]