Marrocan shofar


No Judaica item is more steeped in antiquity, representing the most hallow traditions of the Jewish people, than the Shofar. When the children of Israel received the Torah at mount Sinai, the blast of a Shofar emanating from the thick cloud on Mount Sinai made the Israelites tremble in awe (Exodus 19:16).

The Shofar was used to announce holidays and the Jubilee year, and particularly the Tishrei holidays, described in the Torah as a zikron teruˁah (memorial of blowing; Lev. 23:24) and a yom teruˁah (day of blowing; Num. 29).
In the Temple in Jerusalem, on Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s Day) the principal ceremony was conducted with a wild goat horn Shofar that was straight in shape, being ornamented with gold at the mouthpiece. On fast days rams’ horn Shofars, curved in shape and ornamented with silver at the mouthpieces were used. Modern Shofar’s reflect and expand on this variety in size and shape. Different animal horns can be used to construct the Shofar, resulting in the Moroccan ram horn Shofars (Moroccan Shofar), Jacob sheep Shofars, goat horn Shofars and kudo horn Shofars (Yemenite Shofar).

Perhaps the most challenging design is that of the Moroccan ram horn Shofar, also known simply as a Moroccan Shofar. Its origin, in fact, lies in Spain, where Jews persecuted by the inquisition flattened the round ram’s horn in order to better conceal the ram horn Shofar from prying eyes. The Jews who fled the Jewish exclusion decrees arrived primarily in Morocco, bringing the Moroccan ram horn Shofar with them.
The kudo horn Shofar derives from Yemen, which, lying opposite the African coast (on which many Yemeni Jews were adventurous traders) has access to this graceful African antelope and its straight horns, allowing for an easily produced strident tone even for those of modest lung capacity.

The Jacob sheep Shofar, on the other hand, derives from modern breeding efforts in 18th century England, which created the spotted Jacob sheet breed of sheep with up to half a dozen horns. The name of this sheep echoes the ancient Biblical story from Genesis in which the patriarch Jacob took “every speckled and spotted sheep” as wages from his father-in-law, Laban.