The big problem with buying a shofar online is that you’re in for a surprise. It could be a pleasant surprise, or you might be a bit disappointed. The way most online shofar dealers operate is that they post dozens of spectacular stock photos of various shofars, with a disclaimer in small print saying, “For illustrative purposes only.”
You select a size range (e.g. 15-16 inches) a color preference (brown or black) and the type of polishing (natural, half-polished, fully polished). When the order comes in, the dealer goes into a storeroom and pulls out a shofar that fits that approximate description.
But there are a few problems with this system. One is that shofars are not brown or black. Typically a brown shofar is brown with dark brown rings or black streaks or even a hint of ruddy red. Likewise a black shofar will not be jet black, but will have a lot of brown in it. So what you get is somewhat of a mystery until it arrives in the mail.
Yemenite shofar horns often have spectacular coloring, including jet black, tawny lion, desert sand and a reddish pearl. But when you find a kudu shofar for sale online, you are expected to simply select “black” or “brown.”
If you happen to be in Israel, you can find plenty of shofar sellers, where you can pick and choose. Most of them will even let you blow the shofar to check the tone and pitch. But online shofar shoppers just get very vague selections that make the purchase largely guesswork.
That didn’t seem like the right way to buy a shofar, so we started a sister site, called Jericho Shofar, that allows you to see exactly what you get.
Every rams horn and kudu horn is painstakingly measured, categorized and described to allow buyers to choose the exact size, look and sound of the shofar they hope to receive.