The biblical holiday of Yom Teruah, the Day of Blowing, is recognized and observed as Rosh HaShanah within the Jewish community. The Torah calls it a “holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar” (Vayikra/Leviticus 23:23-25), a holy gathering. It is a call to people to repent and remind them that the holy days are arriving. During Rosh HaShanah services, the shofar (animal horn trumpet) is blown 100 times.

According to tradition, the purpose of the shofar sound at Rosh HaShanah is to rouse the purely divine in human beings. Therefore, no artificially-made horn can be used. Jewish tradition also recognizes the essential, natural form of the shofar because no one can come to G-D by artificial means. In this way the pure, unaffected sound of the natural shofar should stir a person’s heart and mind toward Adonai.

All natural horns of clean animals are sanctified for the shofar except the horn of the bull, which is traditionally linked to the sinfulness of worshipping the golden calf. The most popular and significant shofar is made from the ram’s horn since it is a reminder of Abraham’s unconditional submission to the True and Living G-D in his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. At the last moment, G-D provided a ram caught by his horns in a thicket as a sacrifice. The account of the binding of Isaac in B’resheet (Genesis) 22 is the prescribed Torah reading for Rosh HaShanah.

The Jewish community around the world celebrates Rosh HaShanah with honey cakes and apples dipped in honey in remembrance of G-D’s faithfulness and the expectation of a sweet year ahead.