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Shofar has four sounds and a number of rules
By Elizabeth Clarke, Palm Beach Post Staff
Friday, September 6, 2002
Shofar blowers learn to make two primary -- but four total -- sounds on the instrument. Each is made in a prescribed order totaling 100 blasts on Rosh Hashana. Just one blast is sounded on Yom Kippur, at the end of the day of fasting and prayer. Here are the sounds:
Tekiah -- one long simple note, like an alarm.
Shevarim -- three medium blasts
Teruah -- nine short blasts.
Tekiah gedolah -- a single blast that lasts until the blower runs out of breath.
Hearing the shofarThe Torah commands its people to
hear the shofar on Rosh Hashana. But the Talmud -- the
collection of Torah commentaries that constitute Jewish law --
sets out the rules on a shofar's use. Some denominations
follow these more precisely than others.
A shofar must:
Who can blow the shofar?Each denomination has its own
rules about who can blow the shofar during services. Most
Reform synagogues allow anyone to blow the horn. Many
Conservative temples permit anyone who has become a bar or bat
mitzvah at the age of 13. Orthodox and Lubavitch congregations
ban women and children from blowing the shofar. They believe
only those who have become bar mitzvahs -- and often only a
rabbi -- can perform the task.
Any day but the Sabbath, for someThis year, Reform
temples will be the only ones sounding the shofar on the first
day of Rosh Hashana. Because the first day falls on the
Sabbath, Conservative and Orthodox synagogues will be quiet on
Saturday. Their traditions ban the practice on the Sabbath.
But these denominations, unlike the Reform tradition, observe
two days of Rosh Hashana and will sound their shofars on
Sunday. Typically, they would blow the shofar both days.
Traditional temples also sound the shofar every morning --
except the Sabbath -- of the Hebrew month preceding Rosh
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica; Rabbi Isaac Jeret, Temple Emanuel, Palm Beach; Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui, Chabad Lubavitch of Palm Beach, North Palm Beach; Cantor Norman Brody, Temple Beth El, West Palm Beach; Cantor Ann Turnoff, Temple Beth El, Boca Raton.