Shofar blasts


In the traditional Temple/Synagogue service, one hundred notes are sounded during the Rosh Hashanah service.

The Shofar blast order on Rosh Hashanah is in two main series of Shofar blasts, each consisting of a number of sets. The Shofar is first taken out of the Shofar bag and the Shofar blessing recited and thirty Shofar blasts are blown while the congregation is sitting. The first series (30 Shofar blasts) is blown before the Musaf silent prayer (Amidah). The Shofar is then returned to the Shofar bag until the beginning of the second series (30 Shofar blasts) during the repetition of Musaf.

Finally Ten blasts are made at the end of the prayer, according to a tradition left by the Geonim. These are usually blown while in the midst of saying the “Kaddish Tiskabal.” Finally, a very long sustained blast is made at the end of all these, concluding the Shul service, and the Shofar blasts order on Rosh Hashanah.

 The Shofar is also blown at the recess of Yom Kippur, when four blasts are made (Mnemonics: TaSHRaT – Teki’ahShevarimTeru’ahand Teki’ah). Several reasons are given for this practice, one of which is said to have the effect of confusing Satan.

There are considerable variations in the performance of the Shofar blasts as well – In some Sephardic and Ashkenazi traditions, the quavering blast (Teru’ah) is believed to be a string of many short-lived, broken blasts made by the tongue (e.g. tut-tut-tut-tut, etc.), rather than a long, trembling blast originating from the stomach as practiced by the Yemenite and Babylonian Jewish communities.