The shofar is steeped in Jewish culture. It’s a call to repentance at Rosh Hashanah, it’s a call to prayer, and it’s a sound that every practicing Jew will know. The shofar isn’t limited to only Judaism, Christians also use it as a call to prayer, and you can find similar instruments used in other religions like Islam and Hinduism.
Most people associate the shofar with a visit to the synagogue or for a religious holiday. You can blow the shofar in your home – keep on reading to learn about the reasons and the rules.
When Does The Shofar Usually Sound?
During a Rosh Hashanah service, a shofar sounds up to 100 times. To signal the end of Yom Kippur, it’s one single, long, loud blast.
Rules For Blowing The Shofar In Your Home
The best time to blow the shofar in your home is before you start a prayer – this can be at any point between sunrise and sunset on Rosh Hashanah unless it’s Shabbos. If you’re blowing the shofar at a different time to davening, there’s only a need to blow once. If it’s during davening, it’s 30 times.
The ordering of the shofar blasts are as follows:
- tekiah shevarim teruah tekiah
- tekiah shevarim tekiah
- tekiah teruah tekiah
To signal the end of Yom Kippur, you’d only need to sound the shofar once.
Preparing To Sound The Shofar
Before you blow the shofar, you must check for any damage like cracks that might alter the sounding of the shofar. Once the sounding of the shofar begins, the rule is that there should be no interruption. The sequencing – especially at Rosh Hashanah – is essential; if it’s not followed in the correct order or the sound isn’t as it should be, the sequence should start again.
There shouldn’t be any interruptions or conversation from the minute the brachos are made to the end of the shofar sounding. Before blowing the shofar, you need to make two brachos, as said in the machzor. It’s usually the person blowing the shofar that creates the brachos. The person fulfilling the mitzvah can also recite them if the person sounding the shofar has already fulfilled their mitzvah.
Blowing the shofar is symbolic for many reasons – a sound not limited to one Jewish celebration. Anyone can blow the shofar – it doesn’t have to be a rabbi at the synagogue. As long as you have the correct technique, the symbolic meaning follows the sounds wherever they’re heard.