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    Why is the shofar difficult to blow? – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why is the shofar so difficult to blow?

    A. It’s a knack. The sages call it chochmah v’einah m’lachah – “skill, not effort”. The ability to blow a trumpet does not help since the shofar has no mouthpiece.

    I have heard of people who thought they could improve on tradition, and design what they thought to be a more sophisticated instrument to replace the primitive ram’s-horn shofar. In the end they defeated the whole purpose of the mitzvah.

    Rav Kook pointed out that the shofar – by definition – produces a penetrating sound without much need for manufacture and mouthpiece. He said it represents the natural resources which God has made available to human beings, and it symbolises man’s direct access to the Almighty.

    The shofar stands for the direct call of the Divine, a call to a life of less complication and complexity but greater depth and spirituality, emphasising values and virtues over status and success.

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