Some children held their ears, some looked up in wide-eyed wonder, and some clapped their hands as Rabbi Akiva Oppen, sofer, ba’al tekiah, and owner of Oppen Scrolls, blew many different shofaros from different kosher animals at the HALB Lev Chana Early Childhood Center.
Shofaros from kosher animals such as antelope, deer, kudu, ibex, gazelles, mountain goats, goats, and rams crammed the table as Rabbi Oppen demonstrated how a kosher shofar slips off the bone that grows from the head of the animal. He assured the children that it does not hurt the animal at all.
The children were able to share with Rabbi Oppen that we blow the shofar to help us wake up and do teshuvah and mitzvos. Rabbi Oppen had the children close their eyes and pretend to be sleeping. He blew a long and loud tekiyah, which had all the children jump and wake up very quickly.
Rabbi Oppen told the children that when a king comes to a town, the soldiers line up and blow long trumpets, announcing his arrival. That is the tekiyah sound, announcing that Hashem the King is here. The shevarim and teruah are broken sounds that sound like crying, reminding us to do teshuvah and break up our haughtiness and pride as we stand before Hashem, our king.
The children excitedly and carefully felt the smooth and rough shofaros, exclaiming how some were so big and heavy and some so long and thin. A big thank-you to Rabbi Oppen for an fun and educational program.