Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

After paying a trip to the Natural History Museum in London I found myself wondering... would it be allowed (to any extent) to use a shofar of an animal that has kosher simanim but is extinct? There were a number of horned ram/antelope-like species that appeared to have split hooves and, given their closeness to kosher shofar animals in terms of how they were classified and appeared, would it be allowed to use their horns as a shofar? Is it too great of an assumption that they chewed the cud?

Furthermore, if timescales for fossilisation allows, would it be muttar to use a fossilised horn that is intact?

share|improve this question
Doesn't the process of fossilization mean that the material from the bone is replaced by rock such that the resulting fossil is not made of bone at all? –  WAF Sep 9 '13 at 0:33
@WAF -- yes! But I can't help pointing out that kosher shofarot are made of horn, not bone (i.e., horns not antlers.) I am not sure that horn is normally fossilized, as it's softer than bone and has less minerals. –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Sep 9 '13 at 3:33
@WAF i dont know if the Torah would make that distinction. If it 'was' a kosher animal for shofar would it matter if it became fossilized. –  bondonk Sep 9 '13 at 11:37
Natan Slifkin has an article called "Exotic Shofars" that I found through Google....but I can't figure out how to download it -- any link I click on is dead. If you manage to get a hold of it please ping me here with a link. –  Shokhet Sep 28 '14 at 19:16

1 Answer 1

Chaza"l ensured us that if an animal has split hooves and are not pigs (who don't have horns) then they chew cud.

So, if the horn is a shofar (not a keren, e.g from a cow), and it is still in kosher condition, it would be permitted.

(Assuming that only the animal was technically fossilized, but the horn is still made of the original material.)

share|improve this answer
Who says that rule is true for animals that became extinct before Chazal lived? (Ignoring for the moment animals that are alive now but chazal never saw) –  Double AA Sep 9 '13 at 16:02
@DoubleAA What indicates that Chaza"l's statements would be time-limited? Btw, Rashi (mishna niddah 51b) lets us identify kashrus by the horns alone, i.e. "all shofros are kosher". –  NBZ Sep 9 '13 at 17:03
Not time limited. Eternally true about animals that existed then. –  Double AA Sep 9 '13 at 17:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.