Friday, October 10, 2014

How to make a Shofar

How to make a ShofarA Shofar is Jewish musical instrument, similar to a trumpet, and is generally used in religious ceremonies and Shofars like the Sephardi Shofars may also be silver-plated across some part of their length, but this makes them invalid for religious use on important days like Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. The Shofar has been in use for many millennia and has been mentioned in the Bible for over 80 times. Making a Shofar requires in-depth knowledge of Jewish traditions and expertise. A Shofar is basically a hollow horn of a 'Kosher' animal and is made according to certain guidelines and specifications. A hole or crack in a Shofar, which affects the sound produced, makes it unfit for use. A Shofar cannot be painted with colors, but it can be carved with designs. Some

The first step in making Shofars is to understand that although the Shofar can be made from the horns of any 'Kosher' animal, it cannot be made from the horns of a Cow or calf, as the 'Golden Cow' is connected with false worship since the time of Moses. The horns of an ox are also not qualified, as they are known as "Keren" in Hebrew, while Shofar refers more to the horns of a sheep or goat. A Shofar is generally made from the horns of a Ram, but some of the other 'Kosher' animal horns that are used to make Shofars are the Goat, Antelope, Bighorn sheep, Gazelle, Ibex, and the Kudu. A Shofar is generally made from the horns of a Kudu or other antelopes.

Besides the choice of animal horn to use, it is also important to remember that the horn must be curved and twisted, and not be straight, or with just a slight bend. Once the horn has been selected, the shell of the horn or keratin must be cleared of impurities by boiling and soaking in chemicals. The horn must be boiled in water for at least two to five hours. Adding some washing soda to the boiling water helps in the next stage of cleaning of the horn. The horns are not solid bone and contain cartilage, which can be removed with a pick. The inside of the horn should be scraped clean and sprinkled with borax.

Once the horn has been cleaned and dried thoroughly, it is time to make the mouthpiece. The hollow depth of the horn must be measured and this can be done with a soft, bent wire, inserted through the opening in the horn. Once the inner depth has been measured with the wire, the outer length of the horn must be marked to the inner depth, with the aid of the wire. To make the mouthpiece, make another mark, which is one to one and a half inches more than the depth mark, and towards the pointed end of the horn. This is where the horn should be cut off carefully with a saw. The cut should be perpendicular to the Shofar length. Cutting off the pointed tip will leave a blunt and flat surface. Using a drill, make a hole in the center of the flat surface, and gradually accelerate the speed to make a narrow hole, which penetrates the horn until it reaches and breaks through to the hollow part. Do not use the drill at a sharp angle, which is not parallel to the length of the horn, as this may cut the side of the horn making it invalid for rituals and religious use.

The narrow hole made by drilling can be enlarged with a knife to create a cup shaped or conical hollow for the mouthpiece. The conical and cone shaped opening ensure that air can be blown forcefully through the mouthpiece and canal with little effort and resonate in the Shofar and produce a clear sound. Making the canal as wide as possible ensures that the Shofar blower finds it easier to a resounding sound. The last and final step to making a Shofar is to polish and buff the mouthpiece to make it smooth.

About the Author
Jewisheart is an online store selling Tallit, Shofar and other jewish related accessories at special prices over the internet.

Article Source: How to make a Shofar

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