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Ram’s Horn Shofar vs. Kudu Horn Shofar

Kudu shofars, sometimes mistakenly identified as “gazelle shofars,” come from the Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa.

The males, which weigh in at 190-270 kg (420-600 lbs), have large horns with two and a half twists. If straightened they reach an average length of one meter. However, the male horns do not begin to grow until the male is at least six months old, forming their first spiral at around two years of age, and not reaching the full length until the age of six.

Yemenite shofar
Kudu shofar

The Yemenite shofar is therefore much larger than its contemporary European counterparts. Some hold that Yemenite shofars made of the kudu horn were the original shofars used by the Jewish people, brought to the Land of Israel from Africa.

Ram's horn shofar
Traditional European shofar

The Yemenite kudu shofar has a polished exterior from the mouthpiece to the middle portion. The rest of this Jewish Shofar has a natural finish and texture. The original color of the Shofar is retained across this portion.

Small-sized Yemenite shofars measure between 26 and 29 inches, while medium ones measure 30 to 33 inches and the large ones between 34 and 38 inches.

The typical non-Yemenite shofar is made of a ram’s horn. The Talmud discusses why a shofar should be made from a ram’s horn. “Why do we blow with the shofar of a ram? As the Holy One says, Blow before Me with the shofar of a ram, so that I will recall the binding of Isaac, son of Abraham for you, and I will consider it as though you bound yourselves before me” (Rosh Hashana 16a).

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