The Sounds of the Shofar

There are four different sounds associated with the blowing of the shofar during the Yom Teruah service. These sounds are interpreted as follows:

1. TEKIAH – A pure unbroken sound that calls man to search his heart, forsake his wrong ways, and seek forgiveness through repentance. The tekiah called the people to attention and to gather unto Moses. It is the calling note, calling your attention and holding you. It would be in general the summons to listen to God, to receive from Him the orders for the day.

2. SHEBARIM – A broken, staccato, trembling sound. It typifies the sorrow that comes to man when he realizes his misconduct and desires to change his ways.

3. TERUAH – A wave-like sound of alarm calling upon man to stand by the banner of God. Teruah in Hebrew means not only a certain unique sound. It also connotes “to break”, denoting breaking something and/or causing damage. It is the note for bustling, speedy activity, the signal for breaking up, for striking tents and breaking up camp.

4. TEKIAH GEDOLAH – The prolonged, unbroken sound typifying a final appeal to sincere repentance and atonement.

The Shofar blowing on Yom Teruah is a combination of the various sounds. The Tekiah is sounded first to call man’s heart to give attention and hear the following ‘sound’ of the Shofar message. It is then followed by the Teruah which would then give His order to break off and away from every attachment that estranges us from God, and from our own purposes and present mode of life which is displeasing to God, and leave behind every worthless activity. The broken sound reminds us that we have a job of “breaking” to do as well – the breaking of our evil inclination.

The Shevarim ‘speaks’ for the heart of man initiating the call to repentance and godly sorrow of heart.

The tekiah which then follows, calls one to a new standpoint, a new attitude, of faithfully following God’s way of life.

It is to rally us to come to a new place in Yahweh God.

The repetition of these sounds is for the purposed of penetrating deep into the recesses of man’s being to bring a complete change of heart and complete reconciliation with our heavenly Father.

These four sounds form a set, called a Tekiyot of shofar blasts. In the sounding of the Shofar the Tekiah is 1 blast, the Shevarim is 3 wavering continuous blasts, and the Teruah is 9 staccato blasts.

The Pattern of the Service

Each set of Shofar blowings during the service are grouped in the following pattern: Tekiah Shevarim-Teruah Tekiah (4 blasts, 14 sounds) Tekiah Shevarim Tekiah (3 blasts, 5 sounds) Tekiah Teruah Tekiah (3 blasts, 11 sounds) TOTAL = (6 Tekiot; 2 Shevarim; 2 Teruah = 10 blasts)

(6 Tekiot; 6 Shevarim; 18 Teruot = 30 sounds)

There are ten such sets of Shofar blasts during the day of Yom Teruah, making 100 blasts in all of 300 sounds.

The first set of blasts (30) are blown during the Musaf (silent prayer service)
The second set (30) are blown during the section for Yahweh’s kingship, Judgement and Remembrance.
The final series are blown after the responsive reading before the message.

For The Amidah Prayer

  1. “tashrat”
TEKIAH, SHEBARIM, TERUAH, TEKIAH
TEKIAH, SHEBARIM, TERUAH, TEKIAH
TEKIAH, SHEBARIM, TERUAH, TEKIAH
  1. “tashat”
TEKIAH, SHEBARIM, and TEKIAH
TEKIAH, SHEBARIM, and TEKIAH
TEKIAH, SHEBARIM, and TEKIAH
  1. “tarat”
TEKIAH, TERUAH, and TEKIAH
TEKIAH, TERUAH, and TEKIAH
TEKIAH, TERUAH, and TEKIAH GEDOLAH

For the Musaf Service

  1. MALKIYOTH – The existence of God as ruler.
Tekiah Shevarim-Teruah Tekiah
Tekiah Shevarim Tekiah
Tekiah Teruah Tekiah
  1. ZICHRONOTH – God’s divine justice.
Tekiah Shevarim-Teruah Tekiah
Tekiah Shevarim Tekiah
Tekiah Teruah Tekiah
  1. SHOFAROTH – God’s revelation.
Tekiah Shevarim-Teruah Tekiah
Tekiah Shevarim Tekiah
Tekiah Teruah Tekiah-Gedolah

The Talmud, in Rosh HaShanah 34a, explains that the nine blasts are derived from a combination of three separate verses dealing with the shofar (Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:9, 23:24; Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:1). Taking all three verses together, we find the word TERUAH mentioned three times; this accounts for the three TERUOS. The TEKIAH before each TERUAH is derived from the verse: And you shall sound the shofar, a TERUAH…(Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:9). Here we see that preceding the TERUAH there is a simple sounding of the shofar, i.e., extended and unvaried, for it is referred to simply by the word shofar. After the TERUAH we again find that there is to be a simple sounding of the shofar, for the verse continues: You shall sound the shofar. Thus there are nine blasts in all – TEKIAH, TERUAH, TEKIAH, sounded three times. These, then, are the blasts of the scriptural order.

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