GEMSBOK SHOFAR as GUIRO and GROGGER
GEMSBOK SHOFAR as GUIRO and GROGGER
Joyous Purim wisdom, double Adar 5751
As a temple musician– a passionate performing percussionist and sound healer, I share with you that the Purim grogger, festive ritual noise maker (used to drown out Haman's name in Megillat Esther reading), is similar to a GEMSBOK SHOFAR. A Purim rattle is twirled and spins round the handle, and causes a thin flat piece of wood to flick over (‘to and fro’) a NOTCHED cog wheel set in a frame, making a noise. By cutting off, separating several inches of the slightly curved, black, smooth pointy tip of the long Gemsbok's horn, to create an opening for the Shofar mouthpiece, it is revealed that this horn tip can be used as an 'offering–' as a percussion scraper on the set of natural raised ridges of rings encircling the brown wide end of the raw, rough, splintery Gemsbok horn.
When rubbed in ‘to and fro’ motion with a PUA *, on the thick transverse rings, rasping percussive sounds are created and ‘heard’ on the horn, as on the grogger. Could it be that the Shofar was a signaling instrument in alerting the Persian Jews that they could be saved from the king's edict in Shushan during the reign of Queen Esther, thus making the horn also a culturally authentic grogger? Hearing the Megillah and Shofar are both mitzvot.
Ethnic scraper percussion rhythmic instruments are spiritually used in most world cultures for sacred moments. (Scrapers and Shofars are in LA’s Howard Ethnic Instrument Collection, Watts Tower Arts Center.) Performing world-beat percussion, I use a frog shaped wood guiro (Vietnamese or Thai), and also a Gemsbok-like guiro (Latin American) made from hollow gourd, aka calabazo, with parallel carved out grooves, along with a fragrant sage branch stick PUA, a scraper/wand, to make long and short raspy, ratchet (and croaking) sounds.
Biblical Miriyahm HaNeviah, the Prophetess, a percussionist, Exodus 15:20, was also known as "Puah"*, Genesis, Shemot 1:15, a mid-wife, who sang soft cooing sounds as she gently rocked ‘to and fro’ and stroked with her voice and hand-- like a wand, the baby boys she saved from Pharaoh's edict against the Jews. Gemara Sotah 11a. As Puah with (po'ah) she drowned out the sounds of the murder edict.
My friend, and ritual teaching partner, ARIELLASHIRA LEWIS created (with Michael Chusid's guidance) her GEMSBOK shofar for rituals, by carving the opening, the hollow 'inside' mouth piece. She is a healer, and a Ba’alat Tekiah/shofar blower for Simchat Chochmah ceremonies (http://www.simchatchochmah.blogspot.com), and for women's Rosh Chodesh/New Moon rituals, as is traditional. With her soulful Ruach/breath and holy kavanah/intention, AriellaShira beautifully and with awesome rich sustained sound, plays her new Shofar. AriellaShira created this personal ceremonial tool during her Simchat Chochmah/Joy of Wisdom ceremony, and shamanic journey. I think her shofar is from a female Gemsbok.
AriellaShira joyously demonstrated to me, as she stroked her new Gemsbok horn's wide end and long length of ridges of rings with her PUA/wand--horn tip, that she transformed her Shofar to be used in holy ritual and ceremony, also into a scraper PERCUSSION instrument. AriellaShira fashioned the horn’s cut tip into her wand for her musical playing pleasure. (See photo collage of AriellaShira playing her Gemsbok Shofar as a wind and percussion instrument.
http://hearingshofar.blogspot.com/ 2011-02-21) AriellaShira Lewis, from South Africa where the Gemsbok roam, informed me that Gemsbok is pronounced with a gutteral 'ch', ‘Ch’emsbok’. The sacrificial ram, the 'offering' in Torah's Genesis 22:13 Akeidah, may have been crying out for us to hear, "Use me, don't abuse me. I shall make music for you."
BlesSings for magical healing sounds, health, wholeness, shalom and joy,
Serve G*d With Joy
Joy Krauthammer, MBA11 March, 2011 Before I realized that I, too, can create a Shofar and GEMSBOK horn grogger to use in my spiritual music, I purchased my foot-long Purim grogger in Jerusalem where I also purchased my Shofar. Now I joyously look forward to having the "Hearing Shofar" maven, Michael, guide me in creating my own percussive Shofar.
What excites is that I can create a PUA/wand from a Gemsbok horn, and play the Shofar as percussion. This will enhance and amplify my spiritual playing. See my earlier COMMENT on AriellaShira Lewis regarding this transformational experience.
I love that the PUA is also a name, PUAH, for Miriyahm HaNeviah. Genesis 1:15. This connection is meaningful to me– joining woman's voice in Torah to percussion.
I include PUAH teachings shared from one of my rebbes, Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin:
'Puah' This was Miriam (called Puah) because she cried and talked and cooed to the newborn infant in the manner of women who soothe a crying infant. Puah is an expression of crying out, similar to “Like a travailing woman will I cry " (Isa. 42:14). Rashi on Sotah 11a explains that she played with the infant to soothe and amuse him. Rashi to Shemot 1:15, citing Gemara Sotah 11a
‘Pu'ah’ is Miriam; and why was her name called Puah? Because she cried out (po'ah) to the child and brought it forth. Another explanation of Pu'ah is that she used to cry out through the Holy Spirit and say: ‘My mother will bear a son who will be the savior of Israel’. Sotah 11a
~ ~ ~
During the High Holidays, 1995, Makom Ohr Shalom held services at UCLA. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Aleph and Jewish Renewal movement founder) officiated along with Cantor Monty Turner. (I am one of their musicians.) Reb Zalman knew that I was trained by my husband, Marcel Krauthammer, z"l, in blowing Shofar. I felt good that I could play all the ritual notes. Prior to Rosh Hashanah, Michael Chusid demonstrated to me another technique for blowing shofar that I continue to share when teaching others to play.
Reb Zalman, during the Days of Awe service, called upon me to come to the bima and play my Shofar and "to represent the women of the world". He was aware that a major international conference on women had just finished in China. He wanted that powerful feminine energy to come through the voice of the ram. With great Kavanah/intention, I sounded the Shofar for the congregation.
As a Mitzvah, and in my husband's Zechut/merit, I continue to play Shofar, even over the telephone, especially for those Jewish friends who miss my husband playing Shofar for them. May his soul continue to have an Ilui Neshamah/soul elevation.
Have a joyous Adar and
BlesSings for hearing Shofar, rhythm, having gratitude, health, Shalom and joy,
Serve G*d With Joy
Joy Krauthammer revised her initial post, above. I have retained both drafts because they each offer different insights that deserve to be shared. MC
Posted by JOY Krauthammer, MBA
- JOY Krauthammer, MBA
- Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy