Why Shofar?


The shofar isshofar-sounds a very unique symbol of Judaism. We start blowing it 40 days before Yom Kippur יוֹם כִּפּוּר. This was based on the belief that it was on the first of Elul אֶלוּל (the month preceding Rosh Hashanah) that Moses ascended Mount Sinai in order to receive the second set of Tablets of the Law and that he descended on Yom Kippur. The rabbis said that the forty day period from the first day of Elul אֶלוּל through the tenth day of Tishri תִּשְׁרֵי (Yom Kippur יוֹם כִּפּוּר) was to be a time of special spiritual preparation.

The shofar  שׁוֹפָר is traditionally blown each morning for the entire month of Elul אֶלוּל. The sound of the shofar שׁוֹפָר  is intended to awaken the listeners from their “slumbers” and alert them to the coming judgment.

The Shofar שׁוֹפָר is a kind of instrument that sends those cries across the vast distance. Maybe longing for something that was better before… But now, we are awakened and made aware that the world around us could be a better world; a world without crimes, pain and suffering; a world of love, respect, trust and tolerance for one another.

The root of the word Shofar שׁוֹפָר is: Sh.f.r = שׁ.פ.ר which means  ‘to improve’, ‘to get better’. The blowing of the shofar is to remind us to continually improve ourselves and our environment.

Here are  Hebrew verbs derived from שׁ.פ.ר you can add to your vocabulary:

לְשַׁפֵּר – to improve (transitive verb) l’sha-per.

Example: אֲנִי רוֹצֶה לְשַׁפֵּר אֶת הָעִבְרִית שֶׁלִי.        (Ah-nee roh-tzeh l’sha-per et ha-Eev-reet she-lee)         I want to improve my Hebrew.

לְהִשְׁתַּפֵּר – to imporve onself; to be improved (intransitive verb) l’heesh-ta-per.

Examples:  הִיא רוֹצָה לְהִשְׁתַּפֵּר.  (Hee roh-tzah l’heesh-ta-per.)   She wants to improve herself. OR: הֵם רוֹצִים לְהִשְׁתַפֵּר בְּעִבְרִית. (Hem roh-tzeem l’heesh-ta-per b’Eev-reet) They want to improve themselves in Hebrew.


שִׁפּוּר – improvement, shee-poor. Example:  יֵשׁ שִׁפּוּר גָּדוֹל בַּהִתְנַהֲגוּת שֶׁלוֹ .  (Yesh shee-poor ga-dole ba-heet-na-ha-goot sheh-lo)  There is great improvement in his behavior.

I wish you all to improve לְשַׁפֵּר (l’sha-per) whatever you wish to be improved לְהִשְׁתַּפֵּר (l’heesh-ta-per)  and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Leheet-ra-ot   לְהִתְרָאוֹת  – see you!

Ruti Yudovich   ‘רוּתִי יוּדוֹבִיץ

visit my website here.

books by Ruti Yudovich


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