I've heard that Yemenite Jews follow the Rambam for halacha generally, and Wikipedia concurs.

The Rambam writes that one must use a sheep's horn as the shofar on Rosh Hashana. Shulchan Aruch is less strict, but emphasizes that a sheep's horn is best.

Why do Yemenites (famously) use an antelope horn as a shofar?

1 Answer 1


It seems to me from the quote from the last Chief Rabbi of Yemen, Rabbi Amram Korach, that they didn't follow the Rambam in this regard because they found the kudu horn more beautiful for the mitzvah.

"The shofar of Rosh HaShanah, that they were accustomed to blowing, was long and twisted, two or three twists, and its sound was pure and eerie. Some said that it was from an animal that was similar to sheep. Therefore, they did not concern themselves with [Rambam’s] stringency that only sheep horns are kosher, since they saw that this shofar beautifies the mitzvah in its stature, and its sound was greater than that of a sheep’s horn, and until this very day they blow the mitzvah blasts with this shofar, according to the rulings of the Geonim that all twisted shofars are kosher from the outset.

(Sa’arat Teiman, Jerusalem 1954, p. 99)

Look here for an interesting article on that general discussion. Search for "II. The Yemenite Kudu Shofar" to find the beginning of that section.

  • The above quote and a a few more opinions on the use of the kudu/Yemenite shofar can be found here. shofar-sounder.com/history-of-the-kudu-shofar Jun 10, 2015 at 8:41
  • "Some said that it was from an animal that was similar to sheep." Indeed, it's Latin genus name, Tragelaphus, comes from Greek τράγος, tragos, "billy goat" + έλαφος, elaphos, "stag".
    – Adám
    Dec 31, 2015 at 23:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .