Music of Ancient Israel – Shofar & Dancing with the Torah

I love hearing from readers. Sheryl Sarnack who I had the delight to work with when she recently visited in Israel, for more info on the Shofar – the sacred Ram’s Horn instrument blown on the Jewish High Holidays.
Shofar - Music of a Ram's Horn

A google search will bring up ample info on the Ram’s horn. What you will more likely NOT to find, is the older, feminine source of this instrument. First of all, the ram is an ancient (pre-biblical) symbol of the divine feminine, shared by ancient Vedic tradition as well.

In those days, there was a high level of sophistication and knowledge around the conscious use of sound. Long single notes, like breath – were likely used to attune oneself with the Source of all. Today, when the shofar blows the long note, one easily gets goosebumps. The sound connects at a deep, deep level.

In the video below (hope the sound volume is ok?), the sound of music is a tradition during the ceremonies surrounding the last of the High Holidays – Simchat Torah (Torah Joy).

This video was filmed at Niggun HaLev community in Nahalal, Jezreel Valley, lower Galilee, Israel.
The musicians are KleineMentshelekh – they’re GREAT. Check them out at

Simchat Torah, which literally means “rejoicing in the Torah,” celebrates the completion and beginning of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. The final parashah (portion) of the Hebrew Bible (known as V’zot Habrachah in the Book of Deuteronomy) is read from the Torah and is immediately followed by the reading of the first portion of the Book of Genesis, Bereishit.

The Torah-reading ritual on Simchat Torah is characterized by the hakafot service. Jews dance with Torah scrolls in hakafot (literally, “circles”) in the synagogue and on the streets outside. Simchat Torah is considered a kid-friendly Jewish holiday, and it is not uncommon to find children with flags and banners perched on parents’ shoulders throughout the festivities. Dancing while holding the Torah is considered a great honor on this holiday. In congregations with multiple sets of scrolls, Torahs are passed from one person to the next during the dancing.

Kabbalists (Jewish mystics) have a thing for the number seven. Among other things, there are seven days of Sukkot, the holiday that precedes Simchat Torah. Hakafot dancing occurs seven times during Simchat Torah services. A set of 17 verses is read — in some congregations it is repeated three times in each of the seven hakafot — and then the dancing begins anew. Each of the seven dances is associated with the seven divine emanations (known as sephirot in Kabbalah) in the physical world: kindness, judgment, harmony, victory, splendor, foundation and kingship. While each day of Sukkot has a similar association, on Simchat Torah all of these aspects are united on one day. Jews dance in circles on Simchat Torah to acknowledge this unity.

Dancing With The Torah

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