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A Call to Action


What: A shofar is a horn of a kosher animal with the marrow removed. Blow into a shofar, and you get a shofar blast. Blow the right sequence of blasts at the right time of year, and you’ve got a great mitzvah.

When: In the Bible, Rosh Hashanah is called “The Day of the Shofar Blast.” That’s the mitzvah of the day: to hear the blasts of the shofar. Since Rosh Hashanah is two days long, we need to hear the shofar blown during the daytime hours of both of those days—unless the first day falls on Shabbat, in which case we blow the shofar only on the second day. This year, 2015, we blow the shofar on September 14th and 15th.

Why: Basically, because it’s a mitzvah. But the blasts of the shofar are also wake-up calls. Rosh Hashanah is the time to shake out of our spiritual slumber, reconnect to our source, and recommit to our divine mission in this world.

Who: While only men over Bar Mitzvah are obligated to hear shofar, the custom is that both women and children hear the shofar as well.

Where: Venue of preference is your local synagogue. There, the shofar is blown after the Torah reading. Click here to find a synagogue closest to you. No way you can make it? Contact your local Chabad rabbi. He’ll do his best to arrange for a shofar-blower to pay you a personal visit.

How: It may look simple, but you’ve got to play by the rules. Unless you know all the rules, leave it to your rabbi or another professional. Here are the basics:

The shofar-blower recites two blessings, and then blows a set sequence of three kinds of blasts: 1) Tekiah—an uninterrupted blast lasting for several seconds. 2) Shevarim—three medium-length blasts. 3) Teruah—a minimum of nine very short blasts.

Do it right, and you end up with thirty such blasts on the shofar. That’s the minimum requirement. In the synagogue, we blow a total of one hundred blasts, with the additional blasts distributed over the course of the prayers that follow the Torah reading.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Discussion (27)
October 14, 2016
Shofar and Prayer
Hello from Arizona,
Sounding the shofar and prayer go hand in hand. Because sounding the Shofar, is another way to pray to Hashem. When I teach a child or adult how to sound the Shofar, I go through many steps. First is the history and customs for the Shofar. Next is explain how the Shofar is made. What Kosher animals can be used or not used.
Next is the mechanics of sounding the shofar, the breathing, the actual sound. Then the various calls of the Shofar and meaning. Then the person tries to make the sound. When they do, I explain you're making noise, not sounding.
Last I teach them, the Shofar is another way to pray.
I tell think of a prayer in your mind. Close your eyes.
And sound. The sound you hear is your prayer lifting up to
Fred Missel
October 7, 2016
Shalom all, or out in Arizona we Shalom'yall.
Hello Jim from Dallas, it is a Mitzvah to hear the sound of the Shofar. The sound proclaims the majesty of Hashem.
And the wonder of the world.
You should go to services.
Before you go, you should open up, one of many videos
on the shofar and learn about the various calls.

Plus to realize that the B'al Tikkiah is continuing a tradition that goes back thousands of years.

La Shana Tova
Fred Missel
Fred Missel
October 2, 2016
You say the Shofar is blown only in the daytime hours.... then why did I hear the Shofar blown last night in Israel at the Wall while men were praying? Is not the Shofar blown to announce the spotting of the Moon coming up on a New Year? Why do you not follow G-d's Scriptures.... Psalm 81...4Sound the shofar on the New Moon, on the appointed time for the day of our festival.
September 29, 2016
very interesting, 2008 to present 2016
and 1 comment is from killen, alabama, usa, betty, 2013, i use to be on a farm there in 1950's, no plumbing! never heard a shofar there either. now I'm in Dallas Texas and don't hear them here. plenty of horns and such without meaning usually! maybe I will impose myself & go to a service if not too late. thanks to all and a tov Rosh Hashanah to us all.
August 19, 2015
My name is Fred Missel, a B'al Tekkiah and this is m y additional commernts to my July 2015 comments.
August 2015. I am once again waiting for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with a sense of pride and wonder. I have talked about the connections I have witnessed for my Shofar students. And for me,, Because 27 years ago I had a major heart attack. One which I was not to have recovered. . And as a miracle I survived. And flourished. Because my heart cells were stunned, not dead. What did I wish to hear a few days later. As an affirmation of my faith in Hashem,, my doctors and family: I am here. It is 27 years later. I bless this day. And the gift from Hashem to teach and sound the Shofar. And blessings to all other Jewish people, al over the world who teach others to sound the Shofar, and who introduce new generations to the mitzvah of the Shofar. And it's mystical powers'
Fred Missel
July 18, 2015
My name is Fred Missel, I live in Arizona. And I am a Ba' Al Tekkiah, I teach men how to sound the Shofar. While I am a Conservative ,, I teach my students based on the Chabad format. And, I teach my students about the great responsibility to sound the Shofar correctly, keeping a clean life. Following the commandments. And remember, people have spent the entire year yearning to hear the sound. I have witnessed miracles that have occurred to my students while they follow their studies. Or, students that have a physical impediment that should prohibit them from making a sound. I believe that Hashem communicates with all human beings, in a sill l small voice. Blessings to al who teach sounding the Shofar.
Fred Missel
September 24, 2014
The sound of the sofar = Sound of heaven a Call for action
Peter Sonne
September 15, 2014
Spiritual meaning
What is the spiritual meaning if someone passes away during the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashannah? As this has occurred to 2 of my cherished aunts
Jason A.
richmond hill, canada
September 3, 2013
kosher shofar
A shofar is required to be either made from a ram (ashkenaz- rambam) or kudu (yemenite). no other animals are halachicly permitted. Check this site and the orthodox union's guides for further detail.
Benyamin Gerard
August 8, 2013
To Anon from Roslyn Heights
During the month of ellul (but not Rosh Hashanah) we blow the following sequence:
Long blast, three medium blasts, nine short blasts, long blast
Long blast, three medium blasts, long blast
Long blast, nine short blasts, long blast
Menachem Posner