Judaism Is Mainly Text-Centered. Why Mark Its New Year with the Blunt, Inarticulate Noise of the Shofar? https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/religion-holidays/2019/09/judaism-is-mainly-text-centered-why-mark-its-new-year-with-the-blunt-inarticulate-noise-of-the-shofar/

In a worship service almost defined by its eloquence, Judaism mandates an unintelligible noise.

September 27, 2019 | Dov Lerner
About the author: Dov Lerner is the rabbi of the Young Israel synagogue of Jamaica Estates in New York City, a resident scholar at Yeshiva University’s Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, and a doctoral candidate at the divinity school of the University of Chicago.

Rafael Ben-Ari/Alamy Stock Photo.

Jewish civilization, in broad terms, is what anthropologists refer to as a text culture. Its religious rituals center on sacred writings, on the recital and interpretation of those writings, and on an underlying confidence that sanctity both resides in and emanates from words. Rarely is this linguistic focus more evident than during the High Holy Days, when Jews steep themselves in a deep liturgy penned by prophets, mystics, poets, and scholars.

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