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The Kudu Shofar

Friday, 9 August, 2013 - 8:08 pm

Dear Friends,

A very dear friend called me a few months ago with a most unusual request; this Wednesday it came to a most wonderful conclusion. 

Last winter I received a phone call from Mr. George Gelb, "I hear that you know how to turn an animal horn into a shofar. Will you guide me in turning a Kudu horn to a kosher shofar for the High Holidays?"

As you may know, I did lead a Shofar Factory workshop in the past and while we did it with rams and goats, I thought I could definitely give it a try so, after George accepted that I take no liability, we set a date for the project.

When I wondered where George got a Kudu horn from -I heard the following story. On a visit to Africa, he and his wonderful wife Elisabeth went to a private hunting lodge, George heard that while tourists hunt there for sport - the impoverished locals are not allowed to hunt and utilize the meat from these animals. George decided that if he was successful in the hunt - the meat would be donated to the locals. After all, they should have the first right for these animals...

But one thing, or to be accurate, two things, George wanted to keep for himself  - the horns - he knew he had a good use for them...

Seven years the horns have been in George’s possession until he found a professional shofar maker... George came down to Victoria; we stood outside the Shul and worked on the cutting and drilling. We said “l'chaim” with great excitement when we heard the first Tekiah of the new beautiful, Yemenite-style shofar...

P8070209.JPGThis past Wednesday I visited, together with Rabbi Duchman, the Gelbs in their home by Quamichan Lake. When the kudu story came up in our conversation - I jumped up. "Today" I said "is the first day of Elul when we customarily start blowing the shofar daily in preparation for the High Holidays. We can use the shofar now for a mitzvah, on the first opportunity since it was crafted!" To think that we just "happened to be" in this house on this day...

I promised George that just as we began the High Holiday period with his special shofar, so too will we blow it at the end of Yom Kippur in our Shul, when will all say together "L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalaim!".

Comments on: The Kudu Shofar
8/9/2013 wrote...

Mazel Tov on the Kudu Shofar making, a mitzvah and everything falling on the right day. You have this happen so often Rabbi. Brachot and Gut Shabbos.

Malca Casiro wrote...

The lesson I keep receiving from you is that one should not be afraid or undermine opportunity. You jump at everyone with love and passion and from that springs more love and passion to others. I am honoured to have you and your family as Vancouver Island's Judaic teachers and examples of what Judaism produces.

lindy Shortt wrote...

Shavua Tov!

Such a great story and such a great Mitzvah!

May we continue to "lift up Hashem" during Elul with this kosher Shofar and others, each of us contributing to the coming of Moshiach.

Stan and Lindy