The Shofar is the ritual instrument of the ancient and modern Hebrews, the only Hebrew cultural instrument to have survived until now. Of martial origin, the shofar was a priestly instrument in Biblical times. According to the Mishna, two different forms of shofar were used in the Temple: one made of ibex horn, its bell ornamented with gold, was sounded at New Year and during the Yovel Days; one made of ram's horn with silver ornamentation was sounded on fast days. We learn from the Mishna and the Talmud that in the Hellenistic period no improvements or modifications that might affect the tone were permitted: no gold-plating of its interior, no plugging of holes, no alteration of its length the minimum permissible length of a ritually approved horn was 3 handbreadths ; the shofar tone was to be preserved unaltered. Nor was the process of steaming or boiling permitted. Apart from its liturgical uses the shofar was closely connected with magical symbolism. Historically the shofar has also served in a number of popular usages: it was sounded during rites to bring rain, in the event of local disasters, and so on.
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The shofar sounds that Tradition has handed down have certain sound patterns to use for shofar blowing. These are commonly referred to as the calls of the shofar. Traditionally there are four different calls, the Tekiah, the Shevarim, the Teruah, and the Tekiah Gedalah. These can be heard below. They have come through various sources, including Judaism, and varying customs and renditions.
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