The shofar is arguably the most powerful musical instrument in the world. Its mighty blast brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down. The long blast of the shofar accompanied Moses as he ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. Mentioned often in the Torah and Talmud, the sound of the ram’s horn or shofar was used to announce the start of holidays and war.
Today, the haunting sound of the shofar awakens us from our spiritual slumber so we can reflect and repent as a new year begins. We are commanded to hear the blast of the shofar every day during the month of Elul and then again on both days of Rosh Hashanah.
A total of 100 blasts are to be blown each day of Rosh HaShanah. There are four traditional shofar sounds: tekiah, a long, unbroken blast; shevarim, three medium notes; teruah, nine rapid staccato notes; and tekiah gedolah, a triple tekiah lasting at least nine seconds, though often much longer. The long stable continuous sound of the tekiah gedolah is said to create a feeling of awe.