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The Sound of the Shofar

One of the most beautiful sounds of the season and of the Rosh Hashanah holiday: the sounding of the shofar. 

Shofars are most typically the horns of domestic rams from the Greater Kudu of eastern and southern Africa. There are four sounds, performed in succession: 


  • 1 long sound
  • 3 broken notes
  • At least 8 short staccato notes 
  • The sequence ends with one extremely long note (it’s length depends upon the breath support of the musician) 

The meaning behind these sounds is multi-fold:

  • The long sound invites the New Year, and reminds us to give gratitude for all our blessings, our family/friends and the love that surrounds us. 
  • The broken notes signify our imperfections and flaws – the ways we may have hurt others, albeit unintentionally. 
  • The staccato notes represent the process of analyzing one’s own behavior and faults and in asking for forgiveness from others & to forgive ourselves. The staccato notes can also signify the excitement of unburdening the soul and beginning anew. 
  • The very long note represents the relief of complete self reflection and the commitment to be a better person, and to engage in emotional and spiritual growth within the year ahead.

It is a new beginning, a clean slate. 

Regardless of religion, race or background – the sounding of the shofar has a spiritual and positive meaning for all who are fortunate to hear it. 

The growing family at New York Speech & Hearing wishes a meaningful and peaceful holiday for all those who celebrate and a positive, reflective and spiritual year ahead for all – even if you don’t celebrate.

Written by New York Speech and Hearing

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