Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
In my previous post, Torah and Alaska, I explained how according to Rambam, the special status of the Jewish People is only due to the fact that their ancestor Avraham discovered and revealed ethical monotheism, which merited them being rewarded with the Torah. Had it instead been, say, an Alaskan Inuk called Akkituyuk who discovered and revealed ethical monotheism, then God would have chosen Akkituyuk's descendants to be His nation.
It's interesting to think about the different ways that Judaism could have turned out. Had it been an Australian Aboriginal called Alambee who had discovered and revealed ethical monotheism, then Judaism would have turned out very different indeed, due to the enormous differences between Australia and the rest of the world. In the previous post, I noted that the laws of kashrus would likely have been very different, since there are no indigenous cloven-hoofed ruminants in Australia.
But what about shofar? There are likewise no indigenous Australian animals with horns. So if Judaism would have originated in Australia, then the shofar would presumable have been one of these:
This is a didgeridoo, which I just acquired in Australia. They don't normally look this shofar-like - they are usually straighter, of uniform thickness throughout their length, and often much longer. I bought this one for the shofar exhibit at The Biblical Museum of Natural History, as a example of a non-kosher shofar! It isn't an animal horn - it's made from the branches of certain trees that have been hollowed out by termites. So it's not kosher for a shofar, because ethical monotheism was initiated by Abraham. But, in an alternate universe, it might have been a kosher shofar!
(Of course, we don't say this at the museum. The museum tour is designed to be suitable for people of all communities, including those for whom such Maimonidean notions would be unpalatable.)
You can download my monograph about the kashrus of exotic shofars at this link. (It has not been updated to discuss didgeridoos!)