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.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The “Mechaye Ha’Metim” Blessing

In the previous Halacha we have explained that one who sees a truly dear friend or relative after thirty days f not seeing him and is happy to see him recites the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon seeing him. The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who se......

Read Halacha

Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing Upon Seeing a Dear Friend or Loved One

Question: If one travels overseas, returns home more than thirty days later, and is happy to see his wife or a dear friend when he returns, must one recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who sees his frie......

Read Halacha

Giving Birth on Shabbat

Question: If a pregnant woman knows that there is a reasonable chance that she will be giving birth on Shabbat (for instance, if her due date is on Shabbat) and as a result, if she begins experiencing contractions on Shabbat, Shabbat will have to be desecrated on her behalf by travelling to the hosp......

Read Halacha

Disassembling Doors and Windows on Shabbat

Question: May one remove a door from its hinges or a window from its frame on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that one of the works forbidden on Shabbat is building. However, just as it is forbidden to build something or add anything to a standing edifice on Shabbat, it......

Read Halacha


The Forbidden Work of Building on Shabbat

Question: May one sweep the dirt and small rocks in the front yard of one’s home on Shabbat? Answer: One of the thirty-nine forbidden works on Shabbat is building, as the Mishnah (Shabbat 102b) states, “One who builds on Shabbat, even if it is a small addition to an existing edifice, ......

Read Halacha

The Law Regarding Eggs or Garlic that were Left Peeled Overnight

Things Forbidden Because of the Danger they Pose The Gemara (Niddah 17a) states in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that if one does any one of five specific things, one takes his life into his own hands (meaning that one is endangering himself). One of these things is eating an egg, garlic, or ......

Read Halacha

Tu Bishvat Customs

Tonight, Sunday night, marks Tu Bishvat. There are unique customs observed on the night of Tu Bishvat, as we shall explain. The Prohibition of Fasting and the Customary Reading of the Zohar It is forbidden to fast on the day of Tu Bishvat. Some customarily hold an order of learning on the eve of......

Read Halacha

Baby Monitors on Shabbat

Question: May one place a baby monitor (intercom) in a baby’s room on Shabbat in order to be able to hear if the baby cries and to be able to adequately care for his/her needs? Answer: At first glance, it would seem that the baby monitor is similar in the way it works to a microphone which ......

Read Halacha