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Can a woman blow the shofar?

Can a woman blow the shofar?


Blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) is a mitzvah (a commandment.) Women are not obligated in time-bound positive mitzvot, because of their overriding family responsibilities. However, it is certainly meritorious for a woman to hear the sounds of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. A woman who hears the shofar being blown every year on Rosh Hashanah is considered to have taken a vow to do so, and should continue hearing it every year. There are some authorities who teach that Jewish women as a whole have accepted this commandment upon themselves.

Can a woman blow the shofar? She can certainly blow it for herself. Since her level of obligation in the mitzvah is different than that of a man, she cannot blow for a man. There are various rabbinical opinions on whether a woman can blow for other women.

This is all concerning the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. A woman can definitely blow the shofar on other occasions during the year.

Yours truly,

Mrs. Rochel Chein

Mrs. Rochel Chein is a member of the Ask the Rabbi team.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Discussion (11)
April 21, 2016
Suppose a woman were the only competent person in a mixed group to be able to blow the shofar on RH. She is still not allowed to blow it for men, and yet if there is no woman present a man can perform one of the only mitzvot proscribed for a woman. Lighting sabbath candles..
June 19, 2013
Women and Shofar
Chapter and verse of the Tanakh please only where it says women cannot use the shofar and hen it can be used. I only accept the scriptures as God's holy word. This where we need to start. chapter and verse.
July 29, 2011
women blowing shofar
If the overriding reason a woman is not to fulfill all positive mitzvot is her family duties, then it would follow that a single woman without such duties would be allowed to blow shofar for Rosh Hashanah
paz mayim
Stillwater, MN
January 21, 2010
Can women blow the shofar!
Well it's not written in the bible, that women blew the shofar? Why is it different today?
September 23, 2008
Restatement for clarity
A person who is obligated in the mitzvah may also perform it for others, as long as everyone has the intent that by hearing the sounds they fulfill the mitzvah. And at this point, the only obligated ones are men.

Are women obligated?

Some opinions (by valid poskim) say that since this is a time bound mitzvah, women are not obligated. So they may blow for themselves, but not for others.

Other (perfectly valid) opinions say that women have, as a class, opted to become obligated, and therefore all women are obligated and may blow for themselves and others.

Other opinions say that each woman who opts to hear the shofar on three times that a man is obligated to hear it has now taken the obligation individually, and may blow for herself, and others with the same status.

Who is right? We each depend on how our rabbi/posek rules.

Who called Judaism an organized religion?
Sarah Masha
w. bloomfield, mi/usa
September 17, 2008
RE: Then what is the answer to the question?
There are various rabbinical opinions on whether a woman can blow for other women for them to fulfill the mitzvah on Rosh Hashanah.

Since the shofar should only be blown on Rosh Hashanah in order to fulfill the mitzvah, a woman (and a man as well) should not blow for people who are not planning on fulfilling the mitzvah at this time.
Rochel Chein, author
September 16, 2008
Then what is the answer to the question?
If there is no outright prohibition yet she cannot blow the shofar for a man, can she blow the shofar for women? (This is the question then?)

Is it not a mitzvot to blow the shofar in itself?

If we use this logic, then a woman should be able to blow the shofar if it did not interfere with other obligations and it was not for the purpose of allowing others to hear the shofar only (if they heard it a second time blown by a man it would be permissable) then this is OK?

Is the answer...there is no answer? Perhaps the person who asked did not want to partake in an outright violation of the law and it was not just for curiosity.
J. Ruscha
Boulder, USA
September 16, 2008
RE: In her own company
On Rosh Hashanah, the shofar should only be used for the mitzvah. Both men and women should not use the shofar for any other purpose during the holiday.
Rochel Chein, suthor
September 16, 2008
In her own company?
Could a woman than blow the shofar in her own company?

Or blow the shofar in the company of others as long as it was not for the purpose of the others to fufill the mitzvot of hearing the shofar?
J. Ruscha
Boulder, CO
September 15, 2008
comment to overly logical logician.
after twisting my untrained mind into a pretzel trying to figure out what your're saying, i realize that i can't even find "prohibition" in the rabbis response. you cite "prohibition" in giving an example of the 'fallacy'. the response meant that a woman cannot blow for a man, meaning that the man will not fulfill his obligation. she's not prohibited, it simply will not accomplish its intent.