Laws & Guidelines for blowing Shofar on Mivtzaim
The following Chapter is a compilation of the relevant laws that have been written throughout our sefer and website article which are especially applicable to Mivtzaim. For the full details on the subjects discussed below, please refer to our Sefer or website!
Knowing the Halachos:
One who takes the great initiative of going on Mivtzaim on Rosh Hashanah and blowing Shofar for other Jews is certainly doing a great deed. Nevertheless, to ensure that the Mitzvah is done properly the person blowing must be aware of the Halachas involved in blowing Shofar. The following is a list of laws that one must know:
- Who may blow?
Men below 18: On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, a man cannot be Yotzei the blowing of Shofar with the blowing of another man unless that man is above age 18 or has grown a nice amount of facial hair. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, a man may be Yotzei the blowing of Shofar with the blowing of a boy above Bar Mitzvah even if the boy is under age 18 and has not begun to grow facial hair. Nonetheless, initially, it is proper to be Yotzei the Shofar of even the second day through a man who is above age 18 or has grown facial hair. See Chapter 10 Halacha *2!
Women? Women may blow Shofar with a blessing on behalf of themselves or another woman. However, they may not blow on behalf of another man or even a male child. Furthermore, it is best for a man to blow Shofar for a woman rather than have a woman blow for herself or for another woman. Nevertheless, from the letter of the law she may do so.
Directives for Mivtzaim:
When performing Mivtza Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, precedence should always be given to a Bochur above age 18 or with facial hair, to perform the blowing. This applies on both days of Rosh Hashanah, but especially on the first day when blowing for men. Thus, it is proper for those below age 18 or without facial hair to partner up with one above 18 or with facial hair, who can blow the Shofar. If this is not possible, then so long as one is over Bar Mitzvah he may blow Shofar on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and blow Shofar for woman on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Furthermore, if the boy in truth knows that he has developed the growth of two pubic hairs, he may blow Shofar for men on even the first day of Rosh Hashanah, if there is no other choice available and they would not hear Shofar otherwise. He should not be discouraged from doing so, and meriting other Jews with this great Mitzvah.
- Who to blow for:
- Is the Shofar Kosher?
One must verify that the Shofar is Halachicly valid. This means that:
- It must be purchased under a reliable Hashgacha to verify it comes from a valid animal.
- One must check that it does not contain cracks or holes that can invalidate it.
See Chapter 1 for the full details of these laws.
- How to hold the Shofar:
The Shofar needs to be placed on one’s lips when he blows. If feasible, it is proper to blow the Shofar from the right side of one’s mouth. It is proper to position the mouth of the Shofar facing upwards as opposed to having its mouth point towards the side. See Chapter 2 Halacha 10 for the full details of this subject!
- How many sounds must one blow?
Initially one is to blow 30 blows Tashrat 3x, Tarat 3x and Tashat 3x for each and every group of individuals. If one is unable to do so then some Rabbanim permit one to blow Tashrat three times having in mind by the Shevarim Teruah that whichever is not correct is considered like the voice of an animal, not being done for the sake of a Mitzvah. See Chapter 3 Halacha 1 for the full details of this subject!
- How long is each sound to be?
The Tekiah of Tashrat is to be at least 18 Terumatin long. The Tekiah of Tashat and Tarat is to be at least nine Terumatin long. Each Shever is to be exactly three Terumatin long. One is to blow at least nine Terumatin in the Teruah. One may lengthen the Tekiah as much as he desires. One may blow as many Terumatin as he desires within the Teruah blow. One is not to blow more than three Shevarim although some are accustomed to adding a small sound after the three Shevarim and so is the Chabad custom. See Chapter 3 Halacha 7 for the full details of this subject!
- When to take breaths:
One must take a breath between each blow. Each individual blow must be done in one breath. The Shevarim- Teruah of Tashrat is to be done in one breath, although making a small break between the Shevarim and Teruah. In Musaf the Shevarim-Teruah of Tashrat is to be done in two breaths although one is not to delay more than the amount of a single breath between the two blows.
 Sefer Haminhagim: The Baal Tokeia is to review the Mamar, and this is of course in addition to being expert in the laws of blowing.
 Admur 589:2; Michaber 589:6; R”H 33a as rules Rebbe Yossi and Rebbe Shimon; Rabbeinu Tam; Ran; Rosh there; Beis Yosef 589; See Kaf Hachaim 589:22
The reason it is allowed for women to blow Shofar on Rosh Hashanah despite it being a Shvus: Although blowing Shofar on Shabbos or Yom Tov is forbidden if it is not done for the sake of the Mitzvah and women are not obligated in the Mitzvah nevertheless the Sages allowed women to blow it if they intend to do so for the sake of the Mitzvah. The reason for this is because this specific prohibition of blowing a Shofar is not an actual complete Shvus as it is merely forbidden due to Uvdin Dechol, thus for the sake of appeasing the women the Sages permitted this light Rabbinical matter. [589:2]
 M”E 589:8; Kaf Hachaim 589:15
 Halichos Beisa 15 footnote 91 in name of Rav SZ”A; Piskeiy Teshuvos 589:2
 Shaagas Aryeh 105; Machazik Bracha 589:4; Shaareiy Teshuvah 589; Kaf Hachaim 589:26
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 589:2
 The reason: As seemingly, the entire law of verifying the growth of two hairs by a Biblical command is for the person to initially be Yotzei, if however, in truth the boy has two hairs, then even if this was unbeknownst to the person, he is Yotzei Bedieved, in the eyes of Heaven, as in truth the boy is an adult! Now, although it’s possible to learn that until testimony is given regarding his development, he is considered a child even in the eyes of heaven regarding another person, since it is customary for all Jewry to immerse in a Mikveh on Erev Rosh Hashanah, certainly testimony exists, and hence the man is Yotzei with him Bedieved. Accordingly, in Mivtzaim when dealing with an unobservant crowd who would not hear Shofar otherwise, one below age 18 who does not have facial hair should not be discouraged from blowing for other Jews, if they would not hear Shofar otherwise!
 Admur 17:3; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger 1 Hashmatos; See Ashel Avraham Butchach 689 and Mahadurah Tinyana 592; so is implied also from Kitzur SHU”A 129:19; Ateres Zekeinim 689
 M”E 589:4; M”B 587:16; Kaf Hachaim 589:5; Gemara R”H 33B; Erechin 2b; Admur 343:2 regarding all Positive commands; See Admur 592:8 regarding children below Chinuch and 596:2 regarding educating children in how to blow Shofar; See Mikraie Kodesh 20 for why this law was not explicitly written in Shulchan Aruch here, as it is written regarding Shema; Tefila; Lulav; Megillah [Rama 596].
 As is the simple implication of the ruling of the Gemara Rosh Hashanah 34b, and Michaber:Admur in 590:1-2 that the 30 blows are Biblically required due to doubt as what consists of a Teruah, and so rules Ramban in Milchamos Hashem. However there are opinions in the Rishonim [Rosh:Chinuch:Ran] which bring Rav Haiy Gaon which rules that in truth only 9 blows are needed and there is no doubt at all, as all the sounds of the Teruah are valid.
 The length of the blows is measured by the amount of Terumatin [טרומטין] worth they contain. טרומטין refers to a short blow similar to that contained in the Teruah. [i.e. Tu, Tu, Tu = three טרומטין]. Thus if one were to say that a Tekiah must contain 10 Terumatin this would mean that the length of the Tekiah must be long enough for one to blow 10 Terumatin within that amount of time. So if it takes five seconds to blow 10 Terumatin the Tekiah would have to be five seconds long.
 Admur 590:8-9