Blowing in area that echoes

Previous: [1]

One is required to hear the pure sound of the Shofar blow without any other sounds intertwined. If one heard mixed sounds he has not fulfilled his obligation and must re-blow the Shofar with a blessing.[2] Therefore when blowing in an area that echoes[3] those which can hear the echo only fulfill their obligation if they are positive they heard the sound of the Shofar.[4] Even in such a case that one is positive that he heard the sound of the Shofar it is proper to be stringent and rehear the Shofar blowing without a blessing.[5]

What areas are considered to give off an echo?[6] The following areas are assumed to release an echo: One who is blowing inside a large barrel releases an echo both to those standing inside and outside.[7] One who is blowing inside a pit or cave or one who is blowing inside a building that majority of its area is beneath the ground releases an echo only to those outside. (If however majority of the building is above the ground while minority of it is within the ground then it has the same status as a house [and does not release an echo at all].[8])

Standing inside versus outside:[9] As explained above, in certain areas that contain an echo it is possible that those standing outside the area in which the Shofar is being blown will hear an echo while those standing inside will not hear an echo. In such a case those which are inside fulfill their obligation, while those outside only fulfill the Mitzvah if they are positive they heard the Shofar sound and not its echo.[10] If they are unsure as to what they heard they must hear the blowing again as explained above.[11] Even in such a case that one outside is positive that he heard the sound of the Shofar it is proper to be stringent and rehear the Shofar blowing without a blessing.[12]

Hearing Shofar from outside a building:[13] One who was standing outside the Shul and heard the Shofar being blown [and had in mind to fulfill his obligation] then if he is sure that he heard the sound of the Shofar and not of an echo, he is not required to be stringent upon himself and rehear the blowing. [This applies even if the windows of the Shul were closed.[14]] However if he is unsure whether he heard the sound of the Shofar or the sound of an echo then he is to rehear the blowing being it is possible that he heard the sound of the echo rather than the Shofar.  

 

Summary:

One is required to hear the pure sound of the Shofar blow without any other sounds intertwined. If one heard mixed sounds he has not fulfilled his obligation and must re-blow the Shofar with a blessing.  Even if one is certain he heard the Shofar blow and not the echo, if there was also an echo he is to rehear the Shofar blowing.

 

Q&A

May one listen to Shofar outside a Shul which is within a basement or bunker [Miklat]?[15]

Any building which is majority in the ground is assumed to release an echo to those outside and hence follow the same laws as stated above regarding a place that echoes.[16] If however the basement has windows near its roof, and the windows are above ground, then it is questionable whether it releases an echo to those outside.[17] Practically, due to this, it is proper that all the listeners of Shofar enter inside the Shul if the Shul is found in a basement or bunker. Nevertheless by women there is room to be lenient to allow them to remain outside if the windows are open and they are sure they are hearing the sound of the Shofar and not the echo.[18]

 

May one blow Shofar in a building that has acoustic ceilings?

This matter requires further analysis.


[1] 587/1; Michaber 587/1; Gemara R”H 27b; The Ran ibid and Ritva ibid write in the name of Rav Haiy Gaon that the reason these laws were needed to be mentioned is because in those times the kingdom had forbade the Jews from hearing Shofar and they would thus blow the Shofar underground while in hiding. [Kaf Hachaim 587/1]

[2] However see 590/14 in which Admur rules the blow is valid even if other sounds were intertwined, such as the sound of a trumpet. One must hence say that there is a difference between an echo of the Shofar, which sounds like the Shofar sound and cannot be differentiated, and other sounds. See Piskeiy Teshuvos 587 footnote 6

[3] See next!

[4] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Rambam Shofar 1; Beis Yosef in name of Rashi

If one is unsure: If one is not positive that he heard the sound of the Shofar and not the echo then he has not fulfilled his obligation as the echo mixes together with the sound of the Shofar and it is possible that he only heard the sound of the echo and not the Shofar. [ibid]

[5] Admur ibid regarding those outside of the pit; Taz 587/1; Elya Raba 587/2; M”E 587/1; M”B 5877; Kaf Hachaim 587/5

The reason: One should not rely on his assertion that he definitely heard the Shofar sound [being that it is possible that he is making a mistake as we see in many matters today that we are no longer considered an expert-Taz ibid]. Nevertheless he should not re-blow the Shofar with a blessing being that Safek Brachos Lihakel. [ibid]

[6] 587/1-2

[7] When blowing in a large barrel it is possible that even the people inside the barrel hear an echo. [587/2]

[8] Admur ibid; M”B 587/2

[9] 587/2; Michaber 587/1

[10] Admur 587/1; Michaber ibid; Rambam Shofar 1; Beis Yosef in name of Rashi

Other opinions: The Rosh rules that the people standing outside the pit or basement always hear an echo and are thus not Yotzei. [brought in Taz 597/1]

[11] Regarding if the blower exited the echo area in midst of the blow-see 587/3-4

[12] Admur ibid; Taz 587/1; Elya Raba 587/2; M”E 587/1; M”B 5877; Kaf Hachaim 587/5

The reason: One should not rely on his assertion that he definitely heard the Shofar sound [being that it is possible that he is making a mistake as we see in many matters today that we are no longer considered an expert-Taz ibid]. Nevertheless he should not re-blow the Shofar with a blessing being that Safek Brachos Lihakel. [ibid]

[13] 587/5; Taz 6587/1; Chayeh Adam 141/5; M”E 587/1; Kaf Hachaim 587/6

[14] Aruch Hashulchan 587/6

[15] Piskeiy Teshuvos 587/1

[16] Admur 587/1; M”B 587/2

[17] Biur Halacha 587 “Oa” leaves this matter in question. See Piskeiy Teshuvos 587/1 that if the windows are closed it certainly has the status of an area that echoes to those outside.

[18] In a case that the Ezras Nashim is on the second story of the Shul and the Shul is underground, this matter requires further analysis. [Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Mikraeiy Kodesh 8 footnote 216]

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