How to Buy a Shofar

How to Buy A Shofar

ramsheadThe shofar is perhaps one of the strangest among the items used for Jewish ritual. It is basically the horn of a ram that has been smoothed, its appearance and sound evoking the primitive in man.

Although a shofar consists of a ram’s horn, it is a lot more convenient and safer to buy a ready-made one. The first place to look for a shofar is locally, in a Jewish bookstore. If there is no Jewish bookstore near where you live, ask the local rabbi or Jewish community services office. It may be possible to have one ordered from overseas or interstate if the right person is approached.

If you are able to visit either Jerusalem or New York, they are probably the best places from which to buy a shofar. Shofars are found in the Jewish bookstores of the religious areas of the cities, being Me’ah Sha’arim in Jerusalem and the Lower East Side in New York. You must be dressed conservatively when entering these areas. Men should cover their heads and women should wear skirts, and cover their heads if married. If a bookstore does not have any, they will most likely know where to direct you.

The best time to buy a shofar is during the period leading up to Rosh Hashanah (New Year) in July or August. A shofar may not be found all year round. The appearance and sound are most important when purchasing a shofar. The exterior should be smooth, without cracks or splits. A shofar with an artificial mouthpiece is not considered genuine, since it is not really amplifying the sound from the horn.

The shofar must be tested for sound before it is bought. The buyer must be able to blow it effectively, since the sound of the shofar is crucial to its use and significance. Owning your own shofar makes the experience of hearing its sound so much more powerful.