There Was One Who Blew The Shofar

There was One
who blew the shofar –
throwing back his head
as the deer do, like the stags,
before they drink from the spring.
death exits in a sigh –
scattered seed falls –
the air tells of a light!
The earth revolves and the stars revolve
in the shofar
that One blows –
and around the shofar the temple burns –
and One blows –
and around the shofar the temple crumbles –
and One blows –
and around the shofar the ash settles –
and One blows –

Einer war
Der blies den Schofar –
Warf nach hinten das Haupt,
Wie die Rehe tun, wie die Hirsche
Bevor sie trinken an der Quelle.
Ausfährt der Tod im Seufzer –
Das Samenkorn fällt –
Die Luft erzählt von einem Licht!
Die Erde kreist und die Gestirne kreisen
Im Schofar,
Den Einer bläst –
Und um den Schofar brennt der Tempel –
Und Einer bläst –
Und um den Schofar stürzt der Tempel –
Und Einer bläst –
Und um den Schofar ruht die Asche –
Und Einer bläst –


Shofar: The ram’s horn used in commemoration of the sacrifice of Isaac by the Hebrews. The last moment before Abraham was to sacrifice his son Isaac, a ram caught in a thicket was used as a substitute sacrifice. To honor the ram, Jews use a ram’s horn at religious services. 

Horns from cows were rejected because these animals were associated with the worship of the golden calf by the Children of Israel in the desert, a sin vigorously condemned by Moses. 

Originally, the blowing of the shofar was a Temple ritual; it later became a Synagogue ritual. According to the Mishna, two different forms of shofar were used in the Temple: one made of Ibex horn and sounded at New Year’s and during Yovel Days; one made of ram’s horn, and sounded on fast days. In earliest times the shofar was used as a musical instrument. Its most important uses as described in the Bible were to intimidate the enemy, to declare war, and to call the populace to assembly. Apart from its liturgical uses the shofar was closely connected with magical symbolism. Its blast destroyed the walls of Jericho, and in the Dead Sea Scrolls we read that during battles, shofar blowers sounded a powerful war cry to instil fear into the hearts of the enemy while priests blew the “six trumpets of killing”. 

Historically the shofar was used during rites to bring rain and used in the event of local disasters. In modern times its liturgical use is restricted to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

There are three sound patterns established for blowing the shofar: tekia, terua, and shevarim. Tekia is a long blast, terua is 9 staccato notes, and shevarim is 3 undulating or wavering sounds.


2 thoughts on “There Was One Who Blew The Shofar

    • Unless you know what a shofar is, and what the three kinds of blast are, it’s impossible to understand. Thanks to YouTube it’s possible to hear the sound – which sends shivers down my spine!

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