4. Who amongst those valid should be appointed to blow the Shofar?

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4. Who amongst those valid should be appointed to blow the Shofar?[1]

*See Halacha 1-2 for those who are invalid for blowing Shofar. This Halacha is discussing only regarding who should be chosen amongst those who are valid!

It is proper to appoint a righteous and upright individual to blow the Shofar[2] [for the congregation], as long as there is no quarrel [amongst the community] regarding his selection.[3] [Thus it is better to have a less righteous blower which is accepted by the community without conflict, than to have a righteous blower amongst controversy.] The Baal Tokeia should be at least thirty years of age [and be married] and have a full beard, just as is the law regarding a Chazan.[4] See Chapter 2 Halacha 15 J regarding a Chazan!

Removal of an appointed Shofar blower:[5] One may not remove the annual Shofar blower [i.e. Baal Tokeia] from his position without a valid reason. [If the Baal Tokeia does not usually Daven with a Minyan it is considered a valid reason to demote him from the position.[6]]

May one who is exempt from hearing Shofar blow for others?[7]  No. Thus, a woman, child, and deaf person cannot blow Shofar for others. See previous Halacha!

Seder for the Baal Tokeia:

  • Must be expert in the laws of the Tekios.
  • Learn the Mamar “Lehavin Inyan Tekias Shofar”
  • Avoid any matters of impurity [including marital relations[8]] for three days before Rosh Hashanah.[9]
  • Review the Nusach of the Davening before and after the Tekios
  • Verify the Kashrus of the Shofar.
  • Announce that everyone is to have intent to fulfill the Mitzvah and the Brachos, and that one is not to talk until after the Tekios of Musaf. One does not answer Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo.
  • Review the Seder of the Musaf Tekios.
  • Confess between sets.
  • Buy new clothing for Shehechiyanu.

Spiritual preparation of the Baal Tokeia:[10]

Three days prior to Rosh Hashanah the Baal Tokeia must remove himself from all matters of impurity and he must add in all matters of holiness.[11] [The Baal Tokeia should study the Kavanos of the Tekios from the Zohar.[12]]

The Baal Tokea is to be an expert in Halacha and learn a Mamar:[13] The בעל התוקע should study the Chassidic Discourse titled “להבין ענין תקיעת שופר”, in addition to being expertise in the laws of the blowing. A general Kavana of the meaning and effect of Shofar must be studied by every individual listener as one does not fulfill his obligation of the “Kavanos” with the Kavanos of the Baal Tokeia.[14]               

If there are two appointed Shofar blowers, one for the first day and another for the second day; who blows the Shofar in a year that Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos?[15]

The Shofar blower of the first day receives the merit to blow the Shofar on the second day of Rosh Hashanah in this year’s occurrence. [If, however, the matter will lead to dispute then they are to split the Tekios of Meyushav and Meumad to the two Baalei Tokeia.[16]]

May an Avel be the Baal Tokeia?

This receives the same law as an Avel being Chazan on Rosh Hashanah.[17] See the section on Elul Halacha 15J in Q&A. Practically if he is not the set Baal Tokeia from previous years then he is not to be the Baal Tokeia at the current year, unless there is no one else available or of his stature.[18] If however he is the set Baal Tokeia from previous years then the Chabad custom is to allow him to be the Baal Tokeia even within his year of Aveilus[19], and so rule other Poskim.[20]

Is the Avel to recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu if he is the Baal Tokeia?[21] Yes.


[1] Admur 585:3; Sefer Chassidim 761; M”B 585:3

[2] This follows the same laws as the criteria for being a Chazan, as explained in the section on Elul Halacha 15J. [M”E 585; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:6 and 9] In fact, the Baal Tokeia must be an even more upright individual than the Chazan. [Keren Ledavid 22]

[3] May a single individual protest the appointment of a Baal Tokeia? See 53:23 [Elul Halacha 15J in Q&A] that we no longer pay attention to claims of an individual against the appointment of a Chazan. Based on the reason of Admur there it is understood that the same applies by the appointment of a Baal Tokeia, that we follow the majority opinion of the Shuls members. However based on the reason of the M”A there some Poskim [Alef Lecha Shlomo 356; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:9] rule that an individual can protest his appointment.

If he intends not to be Motzi a certain individual: The Baal Tokeia must intend to fulfill the obligation of every member of the congregation. If, however, he has an enemy and he intends not to be Motzi him, then the other members of the congregation are likewise not Yotzei. [Chavos Yair 186; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:9 as it carries the same law as a Chazan; However, see there footnote 62 that perhaps there is a difference between a Shliach for prayer and a Shliach for a Mitzvah. However, from the Chavos Yair ibid and Salmas Chaim 348 it is evident they learned that the entire congregation is not Yotzei the Tekios.] The Salmas Chaim ibid ruled that a certain Shul was permitted to tell their Baal Tokeia to not be Motzi the women who come to shul in immodest dress being that women are anyways not obligated in Mitzvos. From his reason it is understood that he can’t have in mind not to be Yotzei other men. The Chavos Yair ibid rules that a community may condition the Baal Tokeia not to be Yotzei those individuals that refuse to pay for his salary, and furthermore if he breaks the condition and intends to be Motzi everyone then no one is Yotzei, as he lost his status as a Shliach. However, if no condition was made then he can never intend not to be Motzi others. The Shaareiy Teshuvah 585:54 argues on the Chavos Yair in this matter and states that the Baal Tokeia is not considered like a Shliach which can lose his status if he changes the conditions. See Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:9!

One who is self-appointed: One who is unbefitting in righteousness and appoints himself as the Shofar blower out of haughtiness is to be protested by the community and not allowed to be the Baal Tokeia. [Ikarei Daat 30:32; Kaf Hachaim 589:3]

[4] Mateh Efraim 589:7

[5] 588:8; See M”A 581:6; M”B 5871:11 that this applies also regarding a Chazan.

[6] Birkeiy Yosef 581:12; Shaareiy Teshuvah 581:7; Kaf Hachaim 581:44

[7] 588:6

[8] Alef Lamagen 581:99

[9] See Kaf Hachaim 581:39 based on Zohar; Mathe Efraim 581:48

[10] Shlah brought in M”A 581:9; See Kaf Hachaim 581:39 based on Zohar regarding the Chazan

[11] See Gilyonei Mahariy, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 581 footnote 39 that this applies to all the listeners of the Shofar as well.

[12] Shlah ibid; M”A ibid brought in M”B 581:11

[13] Sefer Haminhagim p. 119 [English]

[14] See Hamelech Bemisibo 1:68, Shulchan Menachem 3:284; Tzafnas Panieach 3 Geirushin regarding the custom of repeating the ten sons of Haman

[15] Panim Meiros 2:125; Or Olam 13; Shaareiy Teshuvah 581:7; Kaf Hachaim 581:48

[16] Kitzei Hamateh 581:65

[17] Kitzur SHU”A 128:8; M”E 585:7; Elya Raba and Hagahos Chasam Sofer 581 in name of Dvar Shmuel 85; Kaf Hachaim 585:23; 589:4

[18] Dvar Shmuel 85; Kaf Hachaim 589:4

[19] Igros Kodesh 7:363 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:94] A certain Chazan of 25 years was in Aveilus and he was told by the Rebbe to continue being the Baal Tokeia.

[20] Dvar Shmuel 86; M”E ibid; Kaf Hachaim 589:4

[21] SSH”K 65 footnote 122 in name of Rav SZ”A as otherwise it would be public Aveilus; See also the following Poskim which allow an Avel to recite Shehechiyanu by Megillah reading of Purim: Teshuvah Meahava 2:286; Mishmeres Shalom ibid; Gesher Hachaim 23:4; Beis Yitzchak Yoreh Deah 2:158; Minchas Elazar 2:32; See Nitei Gavriel 37:4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 692:6

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