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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.