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Shofar

Shofar

A Call to Action

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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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Fred Missel AZ 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
Hashem. Reply

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 Reply

Anonymous Tennessee 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. Reply

jim dallas 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. Reply

Fred Missel Arizona 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' Reply

Fred Missel arizona 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. Reply

Peter Sonne Denmark September 24, 2014

The sound of the sofar = Sound of heaven a Call for action Reply

Jason A. richmond hill, canada via chabadofaurora.com 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 Reply

Benyamin Gerard 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. Reply

Menachem Posner 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 Reply

Anonymous Roslyn Heights, NY August 6, 2013

Is there any specific number or types of shofar blasts that should be heard each morning except on shabbat during the month of Elul Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via mychabad.org August 6, 2013

Re Shofar On Rosh Hashanah the Shofar is blown at various intervals during the morning prayers.

The final blast you are mentioning may be the one that is blown at the conclusion of the Yom Kippur-Day of Atonement fast. Reply

Betty Killen, Alabama, USA August 5, 2013

Can you tell me when the final shofar blast is made during Rosh Hashanah? Reply

patrick July 4, 2013

are there specific times of the day to blow a shofar? Reply

Theresa B. Duluth, Georgia September 19, 2012

Folks Blasting a Shofar How do we know that the person(s) walking around blasting shofars aren't inspired by the Creator to do so duriing these last days...didn't the prophets have "weird" things to be done by the Father's instructions also? Who are we to question a shofar blast - it seems timely to me - at least it raises interest in this one aspect of being Hebrew that may lead to inspiring others to take a closer look and may open their eyes to seek their Maker! Reply

Don B September 17, 2012

"is it right...?" The red hoodie seems a bit odd, but who are we to judge whether his intentions are good or bad by blowing the shofar around the city? I often remind myself that I am not to judge others by their actions or words, only the Father can do this. Whatever the red hoodie man's reasoning, that is between him and his belief. Reply

Anonymous White Plains, NY September 15, 2012

Blow the shofar around the city? No, it is not right. It is NOT appropriate to be a public nuisance in the name of Judiasm or for any other reason. Using a shofar for this purpose is contrary to its traditional use. Most would consider it an annoying sound, which degrades the meaning of the the ritual. We have enough pests in NYC trying to get the attention of passers-by. If I saw this, I would be embarrassed to be of the same ethnic group. Reply

Anonymous Tel Aviv, Israel September 15, 2012

is it right to blow the shofar around the city? There's someone dressed in a red "hoodie" going around LA and now NYC blowing the shofar in all kinds of places -- at Rockefeller Center, on the subway, out a taxi window, in Grand Central station, at a barber shop, on Olvera St. in LA It's sponsored by a synagogue in LA. Seems weird to me and somehow inappropriate. Maybe I'm off base. I didn't think shofar blowing was for public places. Reply

marc via chabadmedford.org August 29, 2012

shofar size Size doesn't matter... as it concerns shofarim. Shorter ones are less expensive and have a higher pitch. I have played a 1-foot shofar as well as one that was almost 4-feet long.

Ram's horn not required, the animal does not need to be kosher. although koshering of the horn is not required. Antlers (solid) not acceptable.

A shofar that has a hole repaired is not kosher. Holes are cleverly repaired using pieces of horn. You must look very carefully if you want a kosher horn. Reply

Llandon Ross August 28, 2012

Shofar Size I'm planing on getting a shofar and I was wondering about the size? I know that Hasidism use a ram's horn but like I said what size?
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