Select Page
By Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld | Series: | Level:

It is customary to blow a horn (SHOFAR) after the morning service during the month of Elul, and to get up at night and recite SELICHOS during (part of) that month; see 581:1. It is customary to fast on some of these days, especially the day before ROSH HA-SHANAH; see 581:2. The horn is not blown, and TACHANUN is not recited, on that day (581:3); for other customs on that day see 581:4. The person who leads the SELICHOS and the services on ROSH HA-SHANAH and YOM KIPPUR should be learned, righteous, and acceptable to the congregation; see 581:1.

During the ten days from ROSH HA-SHANAH to YOM KIPPUR, the endings of the third and eleventh blessings of SHEMONEH ESREH are changed to “the Holy King” and “the King of Judgment” (582:1-3), and passages about (the Book of) Life are added to the first two and last two blessings (see 582:5). During that period a person should recite many SELICHOS and confessions; see 602:1. Bans should not be imposed and oaths should not be sworn (602:1). A person should be especially careful about religious observances, and should engage in self-examination and repentance (603:1). Some have the custom of reciting the AMIDAH on ROSH HA-SHANAH and YOM KIPPUR in a bowed posture (see 582:4) and audibly (see 582:9). HALLEL is not recited, but “Our Father, our King” is recited, except on the Sabbath (584:1).

On ROSH HA-SHANAH, it is customary to greet people with the wish that they be inscribed for a good year (582:9); to eat foods that symbolize sweetness and positive concepts (see 583:1-2); not to sleep in the daytime (593:2); and to recite the verse… “and cast all their sins in the depths of the sea” near a body of water (583:2). On the wording of the AMIDAH see 582:6-8; on KIDDUSH see 600:2; on the readings from the Torah and Prophets see 584:2 and 601:1; on circumcisions see 584:4. The morning service is prolonged until noon by reciting many PIYUTIM; see 584:1. ROSH HA-SHANAH is observed for two days even in the land of Israel; see 600:1-2 and 601:2.

The person who blows the SHOFAR (see 585:3-4;589:1-7;592:4) on ROSH HA-SHANAH stands on the BIMAH (585:1) and recites the blessings “…Who commanded us to hear the sound of the SHOFAR” and “…Who kept us alive…” (585:2;600:3). If possible, the SHOFAR should point upward and be blown on the right side of the mouth, and each note should be named before it is blown; see 585:2. Any hollow horn of a kosher animal, except a cow, may be used, but a bent ram’s horn is preferable (586:1). There are no requirements on how the SHOFAR sounds (586:6), but it must be blown with the mouth in contact with its narrow end (586:12,19;590:9). It must be blown intentionally and the sound must be heard directly; see 587:1-3 and 589:8-9. For other requirements on the SHOFAR see 586:2-5,7-11,13-18,20-22; on cleaning it see 586:23.

The SHOFAR is blown during the day (588:1) and is not blown on the Sabbath (588:5). It is first blown between the Torah reading and the MUSAF service; see 585:2 and 590:9. The basic requirement is to blow three warbling notes, each preceded and followed by a simple (“straight”) note; but because the definition of the warbling note is uncertain, it is customary to blow three different versions of this pattern (see 585:2;588:2-4;590:1-2). On the lengths and spacing of the notes see 590:3-6; on errors in the sequence see 590:7-9.

The MUSAF AMIDAH should not be recited until after the third hour of the day; see 591:8. It consists of nine blessings; on their wording see 591:1-3,7. The three middle blessings contain ten verses each that mention (respectively) G-d’s Kingdom, His remembering, and the SHOFAR; see 591:4-6. When the leader repeats MUSAF, the SHOFAR is blown at the end of each of these three blessings; see 592:1-2. It must be blown even if the blessings are not recited, and vice versa if possible; see 593:1-2 and 595:1. One person may recite the blessings or blow the SHOFAR for another; see 594:1. On the custom of blowing additional notes after MUSAF see 596:1. There should be no interruption between the blessings on the SHOFAR and the end of the blowing; see 592:3. On fasting on ROSH HA-SHANAH see 597:1-3; on the afternoon service see 598:1.

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project Genesis, Inc.

Torah in Your Inbox

Torah in Your Inbox

Our Best Content, Delivered Weekly

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This