Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shofar, part I


On Rosh haShanah we fulfill the biblical mitzvah of blowing the shofar.

We blow three types of blasts; here is a brief explanation of the popular Ashkenazi practice:

Tekiah - A long, straight blast
Sh'varim - A set of three short blasts. Some people specifically make each of the short blasts a flat sound; others have them turn 'up' at the beginning or end.
T'ruah - A set of nine staccato blasts

The blasts are blown in three types of sets:
Tekiah - Sh'varim - Tekiah (Each of these should last 2-3 seconds)
Tekiah - T'ruah - Tekiah (Each of these should last 2-3 seconds)
Tekiah - Sh'varim & T'ruah - Tekiah (Each Tekiah should be 5-6 seconds, as should the combined Sh'varim & T'ruah)

The key rules are that the T'kiot (plural of T'kiah) must be at least as long as the sounds they sandwich, and that the individual short blasts of the Sh'varim should not be long enough to constitute T'kiot, themselves.

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 590:3; Mishneh Berurah 590:13)

Have a great day,

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