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Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 587 - Laws Relating to One who Sounds the Shofar in a Cistern

Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 587 - Laws Relating to One who Sounds the Shofar in a Cistern

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SECTION 587 Laws Relating to One who Sounds the Shofar in a Cistern. (1–5)

סימן תקפז דִּין הַתּוֹקֵעַ לְתוֹךְ הַבּוֹר וּבוֹ ה' סְעִיפִים:

1 The sound of the shofar must be heard without the admixture of any other sound at all. If one heard the sound [of the shofar] together with another sound, he has not fulfilled his obligation.1 Therefore, [the following laws apply if] a person stands inside a large barrel, or in a cistern, or in a structure that is mainly underground,2 or in a cave, and sounds the shofar, and others standing outside hear [the shofar blasts].3 If they are certain that they heard the shofar, they have fulfilled their obligation.4 If not, they have not fulfilled it, because the sound [of the shofar] is affected by the dank air of the cistern or the underground structure before it goes outside. Hence, it is possible that all they heard was an echo.

It is desirable to be stringent in such an instance. Even if one is certain that what he heard was the sound of a shofar, he should not rely on his certainty but should hear the [shofar] blasts again from someone who is sounding the shofar outside a cistern. He should not, however, recite the blessings again unless he is certain that what he heard was the sound of the echo. [The rationale is that when] there is a doubt whether [one should recite] a blessing, the lenient ruling should be followed.5

(If the majority of a structure is above ground, even though it is partly below ground, it is considered as [an ordinary] building.6)

א שְׁמִיעַת קוֹל שׁוֹפָר צְרִיכָה לִהְיוֹת בְּלֹא עִרְבּוּב קוֹל אַחֵר כְּלָל, אֲבָל אִם שָׁמַע הַקּוֹל בְּעִרְבּוּבְיָא – לֹא יָצָא.א,1 לְפִיכָךְ, הָעוֹמֵד בְּתוֹךְ חָבִית גְּדוֹלָה, אוֹ בְּבוֹר,ב אוֹ בְּדוּת ג דְּהַיְנוּ בִּנְיָן שֶׁרֻבּוֹ תַּחַת הַקַּרְקַע ד,2 (אֲבָל אִם רֻבּוֹ לְמַעְלָה מִן הַקַּרְקַע אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמִּקְצָתוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הַקַּרְקַע – דִּינוֹ כְּבַיִת ה,6), וְכֵן הָעוֹמֵד בְּתוֹךְ הַמְּעָרָה ו וְתוֹקֵעַ וְשָׁמְעוּ אֲחֵרִים מִבַּחוּץ,3 אִם בָּרוּר לָהֶם שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ קוֹל שׁוֹפָר – יָצְאוּ,4 וְאִם לָאו – לֹא יָצְאוּ,ז לְפִי שֶׁהַקּוֹל מִתְבַּלְבֵּל בְּהֶבֶל הַבּוֹר וְהַדּוּת קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּצָא לַחוּץ וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא שָׁמְעוּ אֶלָּא קוֹל הֲבָרָה.ח וְטוֹב לְהַחְמִיר שֶׁאַף שֶׁבָּרוּר לוֹ שֶׁקּוֹל שׁוֹפָר שָׁמַע – לֹא יִסְמֹךְ עַל בְּקִיאוּתוֹ, וְיַחֲזֹר וְיִשְׁמַע שֵׁנִית הַתְּקִיעוֹת שֶׁלֹּא מִן הַתּוֹקֵעַ בַּבּוֹר, אֲבָל לֹא יְבָרֵךְ שֵׁנִית, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן בָּרוּר לוֹ שֶׁשָּׁמַע קוֹל הֲבָרָה,ט דִּסְפֵק בְּרָכוֹת לְהָקֵל:5

2 To whom does the above apply? To people standing outside7 the cistern.8 The person sounding the shofar and those standing with him in the cistern have fulfilled their obligation, for what they heard was certainly the sound of the shofar.

The above applies with regard to a cistern, or a structure that is mainly underground, or a cave. By contrast, since a large barrel echoes loudly, it is possible that what was heard by the person sounding the shofar and those standing with him was an echo. Accordingly, if they are certain that they heard the sound of the shofar, they have fulfilled their obligation; if [they are] not [certain], they have not fulfilled it.

ב בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בְּאוֹתָם הָעוֹמְדִים חוּץ7 לַבּוֹר,8 אֲבָל הַתּוֹקֵעַ עַצְמוֹ וְכֵן אוֹתָם הָעוֹמְדִים עִמּוֹ בַּבּוֹר – יָצְאוּ,י שֶׁבְּוַדַּאי קוֹל שׁוֹפָר שָׁמְעוּ.יא

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בְּבוֹר וְדוּת וּמְעָרָה, אֲבָל בְּחָבִית גְּדוֹלָה שֶׁהֲבָרָתָהּ גְּדוֹלָה, אַף הַתּוֹקֵעַ וְהָעוֹמְדִים עִמּוֹ בְּתוֹכָהּ אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּשְׁמְעוּ קוֹל הֲבָרָה, לְפִיכָךְ אִם בָּרוּר לָהֶם שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ קוֹל שׁוֹפָר – יָצְאוּ, וְאִם לָאו – לֹא יָצְאוּ:יב

3 If one began to sound the shofar in a cistern and [while doing so] ascended from the cistern and [outside it] completed the tekiah which he began while inside,9 he has fulfilled his obligation.10 For everything he heard, the part [in the cistern] and the part [outside it], was certainly the sound of the shofar. If, as he ascended, his ears were already above the edge of the cistern before he raised the shofar [to that height], he did not fulfill his obligation unless he is certain that what he heard at that moment was the sound of the shofar. Since it is not feasible that the ears of this individual and his shofar should both [reach that height] at exactly the same time, it is preferable that the shofar be raised above the edge of the cistern before his ears [reach that height], for then he will certainly hear the sound of the shofar, since [by that time] the shofar will be outside, in a place where there is no echo.

The people who were standing with him in the cistern while he began sounding the shofar fulfilled their obligation with his shofar blasts even though they did not ascend together with him. For when a person is in a cistern and the shofar is outside it, he certainly heard the sound of the shofar and not the sound of an echo, as explained above.

ג אִם הִתְחִיל לִתְקֹעַ בַּבּוֹר וְעָלָה חוּץ לַבּוֹר וְגָמַר אֶת הַתְּקִיעָה שֶׁהִתְחִיל בַּבּוֹר9 – יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ,יג,10 שֶׁכָּל מַה שֶּׁשָּׁמַע בֵּין כְּשֶׁהָיָה בִּפְנִים בֵּין כְּשֶׁהָיָה בַּחוּץ הָיָה בְּוַדַּאי קוֹל שׁוֹפָר.יד וְאִם כְּשֶׁעָלָה מֵהַבּוֹר הוֹצִיא אָזְנָיו חוּץ לַבּוֹר קֹדֶם שֶׁהוֹצִיא הַשּׁוֹפָר לַחוּץ – לֹא יָצָא,טו אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן בָּרוּר לוֹ שֶׁבָּרֶגַע הַהִיא שָׁמַע קוֹל שׁוֹפָר. וּלְפִי שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְצַמְצֵם שֶׁיּוֹצִיא הָאָזְנַיִם וְהַשּׁוֹפָר כְּאֶחָד, לָכֵן טוֹב שֶׁיּוֹצִיא הַשּׁוֹפָר תְּחִלָּה קֹדֶם לָאָזְנַיִם,טז דְּאָז בְּוַדַּאי יִשְׁמַע קוֹל שׁוֹפָר, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהַשּׁוֹפָר הוּא בַּחוּץ בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין שָׁם קוֹל הֲבָרָה.

וְאוֹתָם שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹמְדִים עִמּוֹ בַּבּוֹר בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהִתְחִיל לִתְקֹעַ שָׁם,יז אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא יָצְאוּ עִמּוֹ מֵהַבּוֹר, אַף עַל פִּי כֵן הֵם יוֹצְאִים בַּתְּקִיעוֹת, דִּכְשֶׁאָדָם בַּבּוֹר וְהַשּׁוֹפָר חוּץ לַבּוֹר בְּוַדַּאי שׁוֹמֵעַ קוֹל הַשּׁוֹפָר וְלֹא קוֹל הֲבָרָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר:יח

4 If one hears the sound of the shofar for part of a tekiah and hears an echo for part of it — e.g., he was standing outside the cistern, and the person sounding the shofar began sounding the shofar in the cistern and in the midst of the tekiah left it and completed [the tekiah] — [he has not fulfilled his obligation].11

[This same law applies] if one hears part of a shofar blast when he is not [yet] obligated, e.g., before daybreak, and part after daybreak. [It also applies] if one tells a person who is in the middle of casually sounding the shofar without the intent of having anyone fulfill his obligation: “Have the intent of enabling me to fulfill my obligation,” and [the person sounding the shofar] thereupon extends the tekiah for the required length of time.

In all these instances, since the tekiah is partly invalid, even though the valid part is extended for the required measure as defined in sec. 590[:4-7], one has not fulfilled his obligation — because [a tekiah] must be valid from beginning to end, even if it is very extended.

ד הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ מִקְצָת תְּקִיעַת קוֹל שׁוֹפָר וּמִקְצָת קוֹל הֲבָרָה, כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיָה עוֹמֵד חוּץ לַבּוֹר וְהַתּוֹקֵעַ הִתְחִיל לִתְקֹעַ בַּבּוֹר וּבְאֶמְצַע הַתְּקִיעָה יָצָא חוּץ לַבּוֹר וּגְמָרָהּ שָׁם,יט,10 וְכֵן הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ מִקְצָת תְּקִיעָה שֶׁלֹּא בְּחִיּוּב כ דְּהַיְנוּ קֹדֶם אוֹר הַיּוֹם וּמִקְצָתָהּ אַחַר אוֹר הַיּוֹם,כא וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר לְמִי שֶׁמִּתְעַסֵּק בִּתְקִיעוֹת בְּלֹא כַּוָּנָה לְהוֹצִיא שׁוּם אָדָם בִּתְקִיעָתוֹ וּבְאֶמְצַע הַתְּקִיעָה אָמַר לוֹ כַּוֵּן לְהוֹצִיאֵנִי וְתָקַע כב וּמָשַׁךְ בָּהּ שִׁעוּר תְּקִיעָה, כָּל אֵלּוּ כֵּיוָן שֶׁמִּקְצָת הַתְּקִיעָה הוּא שֶׁלֹּא כְּתִקְנָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבְּמִקְצָתָהּ שֶׁהִיא כְּתִקְנָהּ יֵשׁ בָּהּ שִׁעוּר תְּקִיעָה כג שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תק"צ כד – לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ, לְפִי שֶׁכָּל תְּקִיעָה צְרִיכָה שֶׁתְּהֵא בְּכַשְׁרוּת מִתְּחִלָּתָהּ וְעַד סוֹפָהּ אֲפִלּוּ הִיא אֲרֻכָּה הַרְבֵּה:

5 [The following laws apply if] a person sounds a shofar in a synagogue and there are people standing outside, at a slight distance. If they are not certain that they heard the sound of a shofar, they must hear [the shofar]11 a second time, because they may [merely] have heard an echo. If, however, it is clear to them that what they heard was the sound of the shofar, they need not impose an [unnecessary] stringency upon themselves and [endeavor to] hear [the shofar] a second time.

ה הַתּוֹקֵעַ בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת וְיֵשׁ עוֹמְדִים בַּחוּץ רָחוֹק קְצָת מִבֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת, אִם אֵין בָּרוּר לָהֶם שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ קוֹל שׁוֹפָר – צְרִיכִים לִשְׁמֹעַ הַתְּקִיעוֹת11 שֵׁנִית, לְפִי שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ קוֹל הֲבָרָה, אֲבָל אִם נִרְאֶה לָהֶם בָּרוּר שֶׁקּוֹל שׁוֹפָר שָׁמְעוּ – אֵינָם צְרִיכִים לְהַחְמִיר עַל עַצְמָן וְלִשְׁמֹעַ שֵׁנִית:כה

As to listening to the shofar by means of a hearing aid, the Rebbe differentiates (in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 21, p. 496) between an electronic device, and a mechanical device that operates like a simple trumpet. With the former — even if its use does not entail labors forbidden on Yom-Tov — one does not fulfill his obligation, for what he hears is not the sound of the shofar itself, but the sound of the hearing aid. By contrast, a mechanical device presents no difficulty. (See also sec. 588, footnote 24 below.)

The above requirement — that one must hear the original sound, direct and unmediated — is what rules out the possibility of fulfilling one’s obligation to hear the Megillah on Purim, via the telephone (loc. cit.) or the speakers of a microphone. (Needless to say, this question does not even arise in relation to hearing the shofar on Rosh HaShanah because, regardless of this consideration, neither telephone nor microphone may be used on Yom-Tov, just as on Shabbos.)
In the original, dus; i.e., a walled tank fixed in the ground. Some contemporary authorities apply this ruling to a basement as well.
Rosh HaShanah 27b. Noting that this law restates a mishnah, the Mishnah Berurah (sec. 587:1) quotes Rishonim — Rabbeinu Nissim and Ritva — who observe that this law dates from the era of Roman persecution, when Jews hid underground to fulfill the mitzvah. The same law became relevant again during the Spanish Inquisition and in other grim eras of Jewish history.
In addition (see sec. 589:7), both the person sounding the shofar and the person hearing the blasts must have the intent that the listener fulfill his obligation thereby.
And no blessing should be recited. For the recitation of almost all the blessings was instituted only by Rabbinic Law, and if the blessing one recites was not required, G‑d’s name was uttered in vain.
And one need not consider the possibility that he heard no more than an echo. (In the original, the above parenthetical statement appears earlier, in the middle of a long Hebrew sentence.)
As evident from subsection 3, what matters is not where a person is standing but whether his head is in the cistern or outside it.
Rosh HaShanah, loc. cit.
I.e., the same shofar blast.
Ibid. 28a.
In the original, “the tekios.” In its plural form, as here, this word signifies not only the first of the three statutory sounds of the shofar (viz., tekiah-shevarim-teruah; see sec. 590:1), but also the shofar blasts collectively.
טור. לבוש ס"א.
משנה כז, ב. טור ושו"ע ס"א.
משנה שם. מ"א ס"ק א.
רש"י עירובין קב, ב ד"ה של בור. מ"א שם. וראה לעיל סי' תנה סכ"ג.
מ"א שם.
רמב"ם פ"א ה"ח. שו"ע שם.
משנה וגמרא שם, לפירוש רש"י שם ד"ה אותן, ורמב"ם שם , ושו"ע שם, שביאר הרא"ש פ"ג סי' ח, וב"י ד"ה ומ"ש הרא"ש, הובא בט"ז ס"ק א. לבוש שם.
רא"ש שם.
ט"ז שם.
גמרא שם. טור ושו"ע שם.
רש"י שם.
ר"ן (ז, א) ד"ה גמרא, בדעת הרמב"ם פ"א ה"ח. לבוש שם. (ר)מ"א סק"ב.
גמרא כח, א. טור ושו"ע ס"ב.
רש"י שם ד"ה בתוקע. טור ושו"ע שם.
גמרא שם. מ"א סק"ג.
מ"א שם.
גמרא כז, סע"ב (כשכל התקיעה בפנים). רמ"א ס"ב (כשתחלת התקיעה בפנים). ב"י ד"ה ומ"ש אבל הוא (כשכל התקיעה בפנים). מ"א ס"ק ד (כשתחלת התקיעה בפנים). עיין מ"א סק"ג ודו"ק.
שטוב שיוציא השופר תחלה קודם לאזניים.
גמרא כח, א. טור ורמ"א ס"ג.
רבנו ירוחם נתיב ו ח"ב (מח, ד). שו"ע ס"ג.
רבה שם (קודם שיעלה עמוד השחר. וראה לקמן סי' תקפח ס"א). טור ושו"ע רס"י תקפח. ט"ז כאן ס"ק ב.
רבנו ירוחם שם. שו"ע שם.
טור בשם בעל העיטור הל' שופר (צט, א). רא"ש פ"ג סי' ח (מדסתם נראה דהיינו אפילו במשך שיעור תקיעה). רבנו ירוחם שם (שכן עיקר). דעה הא' בשו"ע שם. מ"א ס"ק ה (שכן עיקר). לבוש ס"ג. וראה גם לקמן סי' תקצב ס"ח.
סעיף ז.
ט"ז סק"א.
Translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and Sholom B Wineberg.
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