In Time for Parshas Emor, 6th Grade Boys Make Shofars

6th-grade boys in Rabbi Wolin’s class embarked on a special project this week- making shofars.

The project was especially appropriate for this particular week, because the mitzvah of blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashana appears in this week’s Parsha! Parshas Emor talks about Zichron Teruah, which is a reference to the shofar!

It is also a project that is very dear to Rabbi Wolin’s heart.

“When I was a kid in Los Angeles, my uncle Rabbi Eidlitz used to do this project when he was a Rebbe at Emek Academy, and I did it once with him, ” said Rabbi Wolin.

So, what does “making” a shofar entail?

As a shofar is a horn that comes from a ram or another kosher animal, isn’t it already made? You just have to get it off the ram’s head!

But how do you get the horn off a ram’s head? Once you have figured that out, you’ll discover that a horn that comes directly from a ram’s head can’t be blown. It also looks grey and rough, unlike the smooth, shiny, and light-colored shofars that we are used to seeing in shul.

Luckily for TDSP, you no longer need to wrestle rams to get the horns off. You can now order rams horns – or in this case goat horns from Etsy-  which is what Rabbi Wolin did.

The horns come in pairs since each goat has two horns, and once they arrive they need to be sawed, drilled, and sanded.

6th graders Dovid Meir Wohlgelernter and Chaim Semel, together with Dovid Meir’s father, Rabbi Yonah Wohlgelernter, took care of the sawing and drilling. Each shofar needed its tip cut off, and then a hole drilled through the cartilage to make the airway for the sound.

But the drill can only make a very narrow airway, so the boys then needed to use a tool called Dremel to expand it.

Once all that was taken care of, the boys needed to sand their shofars. This is a process that involves five different types of sandpaper. The sandpaper starts out very rough and gradually becomes smoother and finer, like the shofar itself through the process!

“You can see a whole different color come out (through the sanding,)” said Rabbi Wolin. “You need good muscles. You have this sleek, smooth surface underneath – you need to rub it (to bring it out)”

Rabbi Wolin said that the process of sanding the shofar teaches the boys a life lesson.

“That is what life is about!” said Rabbi Wolin. “We all have this purity inside us, and we have a rough outer layer. We need to get to that beauty underneath. The more we stay humble, the less we will have to rub!”