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Ancient Jews Music 16: The music of the temple is organized in connection with the holidays (Third) - the Shofar

The shofar that stars on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was a central instrument among the wind instruments in a temple. next to the trumpets. It was converted from its previous roles as an announcer of important events - coronations of kings and wars and became a ritual instrument, and from the horn of Yael it was preceded by the horn of Eyal

Male Yael in the Negev. Image:
Male Yael in the Negev. Image:

A - Rosh Hashanah

The "musical" essence of the holiday - was expressed in the shofar and next to it - the trumpet, according to the Mishnah - "a trumpet on the head (so in the text) - on the top (so in the text), simple (not bent) and its mouth coated with gold (at the bell-like end) and two trumpets on the side (and two blowing the trumpets standing on either side of the one blowing the shofar). Shofar extends (by blowing) and trumpets shorten (the one who blows the shofar prolongs his blowing after the trumpeters have stopped blowing). (for me/to teach) that the mitzvah of the day is to blow the shofar" (From Rosh Hashanah 3 XNUMX). It should be noted that this is the shofar of a temple, and probably an instruction, which was in consideration of renewing the fruits of the period in question. It should be noted that under Greco-Roman influence the use of the horn of the wild goat was suppressed and the importance of the horn of the ram, i.e. the shofar, increased. And as much as those instructions that were involved in the music of the temple that were discussed above, teach us about another aspect of the organization of music and its foundation within the walls of the temple. And it will be emphasized that there is no doubt that the above-mentioned ceremony was spectacular and eye-catching, especially due to the musical and interesting combination between the two wind instruments discussed above. The origin of this combination lies in the skill of the players and their training, since, among other things, it was the production of precise, rhythmic and regular sounds from the shofar in terms of art and art in itself, and especially when it came to a musical combination with the trumpet.

Even though the sages were confused about the type of shofar and its nature, there is no dispute that it is about the shofar in general. Apparently it's simple, but an interesting point emerged from the discussed case: in biblical times, the shofar's role was diverse, such as in holy situations in war, in the coronation of kings, as a sign of redemption, etc., and the connection between it and Rosh Hashanah is very vague.

Here I would like to comment on the process of the appearance of the Shofar in relation to Rosh Hashanah, when it originated from popular pressure that the Sages nevertheless reconciled later in the period, when this may serve as another clue as to the dating of the phenomenon presented above. In other words, it is a final process that took place towards the end of the Second Temple, as a possible result of the victory of the Pharisees (representatives of the popular-public view, over the position of the Sadducees and the Sadducees in general. And even the polemic of the Sages, regarding the type of shofar and its nature, may indicate a process that began to take shape towards the end of the the second house

It is true that there is a great deal of truth in the assumption, because the one who hears the sound of the shofar is not actually seeking a musical experience but a ritual-sound experience, and this is also the reason for the decoration of the word "musical" in quotation marks above. However, despite the fact that it is a tool that from the time of the Bible onwards was used as a tool that gives a letter and a sign. After all, it is important to emphasize that during the period discussed in the chapter, the shofar finds a permanent place in the temple in connection with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, while its use in war, in coronation ceremonies and more, as in biblical times, disappeared completely. And perhaps precisely because of this virginity, this instrument found a special place in special events in the temple. And it is only interesting, in order to explain the ear and the eye, to emphasize that during the biblical period we find in various contexts 49 references to the use of the shofar, while in relation to the trumpet - only 8. The trumpet occupied a much more prestigious and elegant place in the temple during the Second Temple period than the shofar.

The meaning of the shofar in the special context of Rosh Hashanah was rooted in the general atmosphere of the expectation of the person, the people, for the judgment of God, the tribe or grace. 

The sources listed the "order of blows" on Rosh Hashanah as a mandatory instruction, an instruction that was firmly rooted in all the musical instructions in the Temple during the period in question. And so the Mishna instructed: "Three (blows. Each mention of "kingdoms", "remembrances" and "trumpets" in the prayer was given a blow) for three (so in the text) three (in each blow a blow, a cheer and a blow). Hit rate - about three cheers. A cheering lesson - about three sobs" (Rosh Hashana 9:XNUMX). We have no evidence in any way, but rather a binding instruction, the one that came to regulate the order of the firings on the holiday.

Some believe that the ceremony in question was not held in the temple, but at the eastern gates and the Temple Mount, and others claim that the mitzvah of the tikia was held in the temple and was associated with sacrifices. Either way, this argument does not detract from the fact that the Shofar's use has a special connection to Rosh Hashanah, in terms of its official status and its own dimension.   

B. Yom Kippur

It is true that Yom Kippur is not one of the days on which pilgrims make a pilgrimage, nor are pilgrims required to make a sacrifice or a celebration, but if on this day many come to God's house, either to witness the special day's work performed by the high priest, or because they have preceded their ascension a number of days before the Sukkot holiday.

Contrary to the three pilgrimages, the people did not participate in the work and even the priests who made the pilgrimage could not participate in the work at all that day. The Israelis as chaplains only watched the work of the high priest, followed his prayers by saying "Amen" in the temple and experiencing the experiences.

Also, on New Year's Day, the mitzvah of the day was struck, and it is late, one that was established by an explicit instruction in the period in question (in Ben Sira 18:14-XNUMX, the mitzvah of the day is with the trumpet, and therefore towards the end of the days of the Second Temple, we are witnessing a change, a renewal ). And even here, since New Year's Eve was the mitzvot of the day, the sages found biblical "confirmation" through voluntary interpretation. In other words, the connection between the takiya and Yom Kippur in the biblical period is very ambiguous. During the Second Temple period, sages turned, turned and turned in the sources of the Bible and found, using the same measures in which they used to demand the verses of the Bible, a reference for the charge of the day of Atonement. This work of the Sages, whether as a legitimization of popular practices, or as a contribution on their behalf, then at the bottom of it lies an important kernel, a kernel of recognition of the importance of musical instruments as a means, one of many, to bring the hearts of the people of Israel closer to God and to delegate an atmosphere of holiness to the entire class of Yom Kippur .

One of the most important elements of Yom Kippur was the recitation of the name pronounced by the high priest, an act considered to have mysterious and natural power and in order for the public not to understand, God forbid, the pronunciation and the order in which its letters appear, the priests, standing next to the high priest, would swallow the pronounced name by Naima. The sound effect involved in this episode was tremendous like no other, and Barita in the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma XNUMX p. XNUMX) combined the explicit mention of Hashem ten times with the fact that the High Priest's voice would come from Jerusalem to Jericho.

The people's participation in the ceremony came in the form of a response in the box of - "Blessed be the name of the glory of His Majesty forever and ever".

The musical effects that were inherent in the Yom Kippur ceremony were, naturally, a special dimension of a holy atmosphere, and it can be said, like other ceremonies that took place in the temple, that a special, almost inseparable fusion was created here, during the days of the Second Temple, between the ceremony and the music that accompanied it. This pouring included a certain two-way contribution. In other words, the music gave a special dimension to the ceremony and it is also for her in terms of a tongs made of tongs, and here the contribution of the sages and the participation of the people in the "answer" will be noted.

third. Public fasting

Unlike single fasts, public fasts had a social-public character and foundation - in forging the bond between the people and their temple on the one hand and uniting the people around the leadership on the other hand, since fasts for the entire public could only be decreed by the head of the people, the head of the state - the head of the public. Moreover, in such a situation, music, like other public classes, might have occupied a special place and had a special character. This case will be discussed in the current section.

Even the accepted public fast was blowing, but this time it was the trumpet that stood out, and even the shofar was special. For this image the mishna tears a window as follows: "On Lent (the public, they used to blow in them) with males (so in the text) (they blow rams' trumpets), a bow and their mouths are coated with gold, and two trumpets in the middle (two blow trumpets and to their right and left stand two blowing trumpets)). A shofar shortens and trumpets lengthen (in the name of their midst) (for me/to teach) that today's mitzvot is trumpets" (Rosh Hashanah 4:XNUMX).

Here, too, the discussion of the sages about the takiya tools seems to point to the assumption that towards the end of the days of the Temple, attempts were made to adopt certain customs and turn them into binding instruction. And hence we have another aspect to the extent of the organization of temple music.

There are grounds for the assumption, although there is no solid documentation for this, that the order of fasts that they conducted in the Mitzvah, before the Hasmonean revolt, served as a model for the order of fasts later in the days of the Second Temple.

The order of fasts that found an echo in the sources raised three elements: a- the priests' vows; B. The response of the public in the form of the box: "Blessed be the glory of His Majesty forever and ever", as a phenomenon that was well rooted in the musical landscape of the temple; C - "Knesset cantor" as supervisor, as responsible for the entire ceremony. He was the one who instructed the priests when to knock, he was the one who personally performed the prayer and took care of the public's suffering.

The image of the "cantor of the Knesset" was not clear enough, and even if we seek to state the nature of his duties later in the work (in the chapter that will discuss synagogue music), it is said here that there are researchers who did not see any connection between him and the music, and on the other hand there were others who believed that this connection did exist .

Be that as it may, it is at least worth emphasizing, according to a comparison between the Mishnah and the Talmudic Berita about the "fetus before the ark" in the order of Lent, that among its required qualities we find: "And he has a pleasant voice and a deep voice" (Talmud Babli Tanit XNUMX p. XNUMX ). There is no doubt that this practice continued from the temple considering an equal decree between the "cantor of the Knesset" and the "passer before the ark".

As for the ceremony itself, some believe that the ceremony did not take place in the temple at all, but at the eastern gates and on the Temple Mount. And others claim that indeed it began with a solemn procession on the Temple Mount, the one that reached the East Gate, and only there did the ceremony take place. That is, the prayer was held which contained four or six sections and after each section the priests blew the trumpets and the shofar, and the public answered in response and may have even bowed.

Even here, in public fasting ceremonies, we witness various musical effects, such as were reviewed above. However, as with every holiday or ceremonial occasion that took place in the temple, these effects were distinguished by special signs as a result of the special status.

d. More explosions

We have already mentioned the blasts of the following priests to announce the entrance and exit of Shabbat. We will add here the fact that the transition of the year and the sanctification of the month in terms of ceremonies that attracted many spectators and were held at the Great Court in Jerusalem, involved the blowing of the shofar and the response of the people. Although it is not, such as on Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Atonement and public fasts, a purely musical effect, such as the use of the Levites' musical instruments, in the end the sounding of the shofar or trumpet and the response of the people were to no small extent in the music, or in the varied sounds that emanated in the temple or in Jerusalem.

God. The response of the people in the temple

This topic has already been dealt with in one of the previous chapters. In this section we will single out the talk about a certain problematic that referred to the torture in the temple.

The response of the people in the temple was connected to the exit of the priests to the high places in order to bless the people, at the time of the Nisush, in cooperation with the choir of the Levites and in response to the "Hillel" songs, in which the Levites ended their song.

The sources emphasized that there is no answer in the temple "Amen" but in the long coin of "Blessed is the name of His Majesty forever and ever", or another similar long answer. These sources involved the turning point, the transition from a short coin to a long coin in Nehemiah's factory, perhaps in an examination of historical truth or perhaps before hanging on a tall tree?!

It seems that this verse was anchored in the circumstances of the end of the temple days, from the Herodian temple onward, or in other words: a change that began in the days of Nehemiah, took shape and took form during the days of the second temple until its final formulation towards the end of the temple days, and the basis of this change was rooted in a significant and profound aspect of holiness The special thing in the work of the temple.

This may also be interpreted against the background of the development of the institution of synagogues, since the "answer" in the form of "Amen" was only possible in the "borderlands", that is - outside of Jerusalem, in the synagogues. And it is well known that the beginning of the development of the Nautz synagogue institution was at the beginning of the Second Temple period. Lest sages seek to fence between the Temple and the Synagogue, and above all, this is similar, when a dominant element is expressed in the form of public response, as an important link between the people and their temple.

G - "Thanks"

The remains of the thanksgiving ceremony were embedded in Nehemiah's massive factory as a traditional ceremony held in Jerusalem. The Mishnah tells of one law for the impure who entered the azarah in the temple and to enter the addition that was added later when both are required to sacrifice, and according to the Sanhedrin of 71 members even with two thanksgivings and a "song", "and a court that walks and two thanksgivings after them and all Israel after them" (Shavuot 2:XNUMX).

This parasha is explained in the Tosefta as two thanksgivings that Nehemiah made in Jerusalem, the purpose of which was to sanctify the walls and purify them, and the song mentioned above in the Mishnah is the same song that the Levites accompanied the two thanksgivings and played on violins, harps, and cymbals "on every corner and corner and on every large stone in Jerusalem" (Talmud Babili Shavuot XNUMX XNUMX p. b). And the psalm that was sung was from the psalms of the Psalms (Psalm L in particular).

Most likely this ceremony was similar to the ceremony held in the temple in the days of Nehemiah. That is - around the new wall (Agrippa's wall) to Jerusalem itself, along the city's alleys. This ceremony was given a special dimension by the tremendous musical effect and can only be imagined in the presence of the residents of the city and its surroundings.

To sum up so far - during this period the music of the temple was organized, crystallized and institutionalized in the form of the attachment to the daily sacrifices, to the musical appointments, to the musical instructions, to the formation of the Levites' status and a final assessment of the priests' tasks and the presentation of the various musical instruments and accessories. The relationship between the music and the various holidays was cast in an interesting reciprocity, as it forges the bond between the people and their temple. We also witnessed an interesting performance of the various musical instruments, probably in a special composition. 

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One response

  1. It is worth noting that the word "shofar" was chosen to indicate a clear superlativeness in relation to the sacred musical instrument such as Hod Vahadr, Farr, Noi and more of this kind. This vessel, which indicates its origin from the goat in the distressed areas of Judea right near the southern settlement in the Judean desert. And it doesn't matter what came before what, the name of the musical instrument or its superlative side, in its simplicity and holiness

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