ב׳ באלול ה׳תשע״ו (September 5, 2016)
Shofar is used mainly on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is blown in synagogues to mark the end of the fast at Yom Kippur, and blown at four particular occasions in the prayers on Rosh Hashanah. Because of its inherent ties to the Days of Repentance and the inspiration that comes along with hearing its piercing blasts, the shofar is also blown after morning services for the entire month of Elul.
In the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 16a), we read:
Rabbi Abbahu said: Why do we sound the shofar? Because the Holy One, blessed be G-d, said: Blow me a ram’s horn that I may remember to your credit the binding of Isaac, the son of Abraham, and I shall account it to you as a binding of yourselves before Me. The Torah tells us: Abraham look up and behold, he saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns (Genesis 22:13). This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be G-d, showed our ancestor Abraham the ram tearing himself free from one thicket and becoming entangled in another. Said the Holy One, blessed be G-d, to Abraham: Thus are your children destined to be caught in iniquities and entangled in misfortunes, but in the end they will be redeemed by the horns of a ram. Therefore the prophet Zechariah said of the time of redemption: And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth like the lightning; and the Lord G-d shall blow the shofar, and shall move in stormy winds of the south (Zechariah 9:14).
Accorrding to Mishneh Torah (Laws of Repentance 3:4) the shofar says, “Wake up from your (moral) sleep. You are asleep. Get up from your slumber. You are in a deep sleep. Search for your behavior. Become the best person you can. Remember God, the One Who created you.”
There are a few iPhone apps imitating the sound of the shofar. With their help you can not only listen but you could also learn how to blow the shofar. Check it out.
Shofar by RustyBrick – free (more here)
iShofar by Adam Levy – free (more here)
Shofar Hero by Yotam Gingold – $0.99 (more here)
Shofar of G-d by Iyedah – $0.99 (more here)
Shofar 4Kids by Jared Lerman introduces young kids to the Rosh Hashana holiday – $0.99 (read review here)
…of course these apps can’t replace real shofar.