Halacha for Wednesday 25 Elul 5779 September 25 2019

Blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

  מרן זצ"ל בעצרת תשובה בעיר בת ים

It is a positive Torah commandment to hear the Shofar blasts on the day of Rosh Hashanah, as the verse states, “It shall be a day of [Shofar] blasts for you.” One may not speak between the various sets of Shofar blasts and certainly not during the blasts themselves. The Poskim disagree regarding whether or not it is permissible to recite the order of confession (which is printed in most Rosh Hashanah prayer books). Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules that one may not recite this confessional prayer between the sets of the Shofar blasts, for this causes one to enter the realm of a blessing in vain and it becomes doubtful whether or not one must recite the blessing on the Shofar blasts again; even if one has customarily recited this confessional prayer in the past, one must discontinue this custom at once. Nevertheless, if one would like to read this confessional prayer with one’s eyes only and ponder it in one’s heart, this is indeed permissible between the sets of blasts; however, during the time the Shofar blasts are actually being sounded, one must sit silently and listen carefully to the Shofar blasts.

Women are exempt from hearing the Shofar blasts since this is positive, time-bound Mitzvah and women are exempt from such Mitzvot as we have discussed on several occasions. Nevertheless, it is customary that women act stringently and come to the synagogue to hear the Shofar blasts. A woman did not have the opportunity to come to the synagogue on the morning of Rosh Hashanah may indeed hear the Shofar blasts at home (or later on in the synagogue during the afternoon hours of Rosh Hashanah, as has become the prevalent custom in many synagogues). When one blows the Shofar for women, one may not recite the “Lishmo’a Kol Shofar” blessing since women are exempt from such positive, time-bound Mitzvot. There are some Ashkenazi women who customarily recite the blessing on the Shofar by themselves and they indeed have on whom to rely. Nonetheless, the one blowing the Shofar should not recite a blessing when blowing for women, even according to this opinion.

The Mitzvah of hearing Shofar blasts may be fulfilled throughout the entire day of Rosh Hashanah, beginning from sunrise until sunset. Therefore, if one would like to blow the Shofar for women, one may do so all day, until sunset.

We have a great rule that “Mitzvot require intention,” as we have discussed in a special Halacha. Thus, before hearing the Shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah, one must pay attention and have in mind to fulfill the positive Torah commandment of hearing the Shofar blasts when hearing the sound of the Shofar.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

Taking Tylenol, Advil, and Sleeping Pills on Shabbat and the Tenth of Tevet

Question: May one take Tylenol or sleeping pills on Shabbat? Also, may Tylenol be administered to an infant who is running a fever on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halachot we have explained that an individual who is not truly ill (i.e. lying down in bed) may not take medication on Shabbat. We......

Read Halacha

Setting a Trap on Shabbat

Question: May one set a trap for animals when the trap continues to operate on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have established that one of the thirty-nine works forbidden on Shabbat is trapping. This means that if one traps a living creature on Shabbat, one is liable for Shabbat dese......

Read Halacha

Taking Vitamins and Non-Medication Pills on Shabbat

We have explained in the previous Halachot that our Sages prohibited one who is not truly ill to take medicine on Shabbat. Only if one feels ill throughout his body or must lie down in bed may one take medication to heal one’s self. We have discussed several details regarding this law. Conc......

Read Halacha


Laying a Mouse Trap on Shabbat

Question: May one lay a mouse trap on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halachot we have discussed that one of the forbidden works on Shabbat is trapping; one who traps an animal on Shabbat is liable for the Torah prohibition of Shabbat desecration. We have written that if one traps animals which ......

Read Halacha

Bandages on Shabbat

Question: May one stick an adhesive bandage onto a wound on Shabbat? Answer: Regarding using adhesive bandages on Shabbat, there are three issues we must discuss: The first issue is healing on Shabbat, for as we have already explained in previous Halachot, our Sages have forbidden performing a......

Read Halacha

Taking Medicine on Shabbat

The Laws of Taking Medicine on Shabbat Our Sages teach us in Masechet Shabbat that performing any sort of healing, including taking medication to heal any sort of illness, is forbidden on Shabbat. The reason for this prohibition is because the Sages of the Talmud understood that when one was in dis......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Medicine on Shabbat-Continued

In the previous Halacha, we have explained in general that our Sages enacted that one may not take any sort of medication on Shabbat, for they were concerned that as a result of one’s distress when a family member is ill, one may transgress Torah prohibitions in order to heal him, such as by g......

Read Halacha