Christian Response to the Shofar's Call
Arthur L. Finkle
The Shofar had several religious roles recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures,such as the transfer of the Ark ofthe Covenant (2 Samuel 6:15; 1Chronicles 15:28); the announcement of the New Moon (Psalms 81:4); thebeginning 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, RoshHaShanah is called Yom T'ru'ah (the day of the Shofar blast). ³And in theseventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holyconvocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowingthe horn unto you.´ (Numbers 29:1) [ This is 1 Tishrei, which is RoshHaShanah, the Hebrew New Year.] See also Leviticus 23:24). . In the Mishnah (book of early Rabbinic laws derived from the Torah), adiscussion in Tractate Rosh HaShanah centers around the centrality of theShofar in the time before the destruction of the SecondTemple (70 C.O.Those debating never experienced the ceremony itself but their grandfathers may have. Indeed, the Shofar was the center of theceremony, with two silver trumpets playing a lesser role. On other solemnholidays, fasts, and New Moon celebrations, two silver trumpets werefeatured, with one Shofar playing a lesser role. The Shofar is alsoassociated with the Jubilee Year in which, every fifty years, Jewish Lawprovided for the release of all slaves, land, and debts. The sound of theShofar on Yom Kippur proclaimed the Jubilee Year that provided the actualrelease of financial encumbrances.