Shmita Horn(ucopia)

Ryan Clapp

About Ryan Clapp

Formerly burned out Jewish-American teacher who left for a year of recharging. I was in my last week in the US, saying goodbye to my different communities, when a women from my Jewish circles wished me well on my shmita year. “My what?” That was five months ago; I can’t overstate the power of ritual and reflection that has come from using the framework of the shmita during my time here. Connecting on social media, seeking out Hazon seminars, has made this journey a community support. I’m so, so grateful, and I hope this ritual object can help others tap into the cyclical nature of shmita.I suggest filling the horn with natural objects gleaned during the shmita year. For me, two flowers that symbolize the regeneration I’ve found here in Dakar, Senegal are the hibiscus -used in a local drink- and the bougainvillea, which flourishes almost everywhere, including on my terrace. On my last day here, I will seal the horn with these flowers inside, to remember and rejoice for the next six years.

About Shmita Horn(ucopia)

Shmita Horn Ritualאנו שמחים שהשנה מקרבת אותנו צעד אחד לקראת שנת השמיטהWe rejoice that this year brings us one step closer to the Shmita yearnv shmchm shhshnh mkrvt vtnv tz’d chd lkrt shnt hshmthThe horn represents the cornucopia of plenty, the harvest of the natural world. Unlike a shofar, it is not blown, and the ritual comes not from an adding -of sound, of joy- but from a countdown, stripping down the horn to it’s original state by the start of Shmita. The six bound strings winding around symbolize the intervening years between the Shmita, and the covering of the mouth of the Shmita horn a protector of our gains during the Shmita year.One string per year is cut after the above prayer on successive Rosh Hashanahs, revealing the unbroken word -Shmita- painted along the length of the horn, and moving closer to uncovering the sealed horn cover on the Rosh Hashanah that starts the Shmita year. The horn remains uncovered during the Shmita year, leaving it to us to fill the space, and towards the end of the year, the Shmita horn is filled with small meaningful plants and objects found during the year, especially of the natural world.Notes on Reproducing the Shmita Horn:-This horn is of a cow, but goat or sheep could also be used, making sure it is bleached and clean before sealing anything inside or bringing it near a Shabbat plate.-The strings are simple painted cords, but could likewise be leather thongs or another material. They are held here with wax and circular ridge lines cut into the horn, but another option would be to drill a series of holes in the Shmita horn to make mounting the strings easier.