The shofar is absolutely the most powerful musical instrument in the world. The mighty blast of shofars brought the walls of Jericho crashing down. The long blast of the shofar accompanied Moshe as he ascended Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah. We see several times in the Torah the sound of a ram’s horn or shofar being used to announce the start of holy days and war.
The shofar is sounded on the Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, as a call for repentance, self-sacrifice and redemption. Some communities also sound the shofar throughout Elul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah. One hundred blasts of the shofar are to be blown every day of Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, there are four 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.
In our present time the sound of the shofar awakens us from our spiritual slumber. We are commanded to hear the blast of the shofar on both days of Rosh Hashanah unless one day is on Sabbath. This is the only biblical commandment related to Rosh Hashanah other than cessation of work and specific sacrifices during the Temple era. Numbers 29:1: “And in the seventh new moon, on the first day of the new moon, you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work, it is Yom Teru‛ah for you.” TS2009
The Ram’s horn which is typically used for a shofar, has been called a reminder of how Elohim decreed Abraham could sacrifice a ram rather than his son Isaac. Although the ram’s horn is the archetypal shofar, any kosher animal horn can be used.
The Silver Trumpets
When you sound the trumpet blast the second time, the camp of those camped on the south is to set out. Short blasts will be the signal for their moving out. To gather the whole national community, you are to sound the sustained blasts, but not the short blasts. The sons of Aaron will blow the trumpets. This is to be an eternal ordinance for you as well as for your generations to come. Whenever you go to war in your own land against the enemy who is hostile to you, you are to sound short blasts of alarm. Then you will be remembered before Adonai your God and be delivered from your enemies.
Also at your days of rejoicing, feasts and new moons, you are to blow on the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. They will then be a reminder for you before Adonai your God. I am Adonai your God!” Numbers 10:1-10 TS2009