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December 4, 2023

A Brief Guide on How to Blow the Shofar

The shofar, also known as the ram’s horn, holds great significance in the Jewish community. Not only does the shofar serve as a reminder of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, but it also indicates the Glory of the Creator.

Blowing the shofar symbolizes the Day of Judgment and calls for Israel’s renewal of freedom and connection with God. Bowing the shofar is meant to stir the conscience of the listeners and encourage them to analyze their past errors and turn to God, who is always ready to welcome those who repent.

How to Position Your Mouth to Blow the Shofar

The blowing of the shofar accompanies the High Holidays. If this is the first time blowing a shofar, you only need to know how to block half of the mouth and then let the air out from the other half, which is to be left free or uncovered.

But, while letting the air out of the uncovered part of the mouth, you must release the air with pressure. While releasing the air from the unblocked side of the mouth, you will be blowing air into the shofar. However, the air pressure matters the most because if you let too much air out, then you won’t make a noise.

Letting too much air out of the mouth means the shofar won’t blow. The Torah states, “It is the day of blowing the shofar.” So, you will want to hear the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. According to that, you will want to blow the shofar, starting with a solid sound, which is the “tekiah.” This should be the same length as the “teruah.”

So, now that you know how to position your mouth, you should check out this amazing range of shofar and see which one you would like to practice with.

Blowing the Tekiah

The “tekiah” lasts up to four seconds and is one unbroken blow. It can sound like joy and can represent peace and stability. The unbroken blow also represents the kingship and exaltation of the creator – God. The “tekiah” are mainly positioned at the beginning and end of each line of sounds blown through the trumpet.

Blowing the Shevarim

Regarding the quick and short sounds blown through the shofar, these are referred to as the “shevarim.” The “shevarim” is meant to sound like a broken “tekiah,” and each note should last for less than one second. Generally, the “shevarim” symbolizes moans and is meant to be melancholic. 

Blowing the Teruah

Regarding the “teruah,” this line of notes comprises nine short blows, each delivered faster than a stand-alone “shevarim.” The “teruah” is blown in rapid succession, and depending on the sect, the “teruah” can represent various things, including sorrow, alarm, and a call for people to act. 

Blowing the Tekiah Gedolah

Lastly, we have the “tekiah gedolah,” an elongated version of the “tekiah.” The “tekiah gedolah” refers to nine blows through the shofar; some sects also say that the “tekiah gedolah” is about blowing the shofar for as long as the trumpeter can do so. And with sufficient practice, you can blow the shofar for this specific note for over a minute.

The blowing of the shofar in connection to the “tekiah gedolah” declares the conclusion of the High Holiday.

Altogether, there will be thirty sounds, meaning you must hear the shofar thirty times. According to Jewish tradition, the shofar should be blown from the right side of the mouth. However, some rabbis are fine with other blowing methods as well.

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