Positioning of Shofar on the mouth

Previous: [1] If feasible, it is proper to blow the Shofar from the right side of one’s mouth.[2] It is proper to position the mouth of the Shofar facing upwards as opposed to having its mouth point towards the side.[3] [It however is not necessary to position the Shofar in a slanted position with the far end elevated higher than the end on one’s mouth.[4]]

 

Q&A

From which side of the mouth should a lefty blow from?

Some Poskim[5] rule he is to blow from the left side of his mouth. Others[6] however rule it is to be placed on the right side of his mouth, and so is the ruling of Admur.[7] Nevertheless in a case of difficulty one is to hold it from whichever side is most comfortable.[8]

 

With which hand should the Shofar be held?

The Shofar is to be held in one’s right hand during the blows.[9]

A lefty:[10] A lefty is to hold the Shofar with his right hand.

 

What is the law if one blew without holding the Shofar in one’s hand?[11]

One fulfills his obligation.[12] However initially one is to hold the Shofar in his right hand as stated above.[13]

 

What is the law if one held the Shofar with a Chatzitza, such as with a towel and the like?[14]

One fulfills his obligation. Therefore it is permitted to allow a set Baal Tokeia to blow the Shofar even if he has a cast or bandage on his hand that he will be using to hold the Shofar.

 


[1] 586/19; If one slightly distanced the Shofar from his mouth and blew from it he has not fulfilled his obligation. See Chapter 1 Halacha 11!

[2] 585/6; Rama 585/2 in name of Minhagim; Shlah brought in M”A 585/4; Kaf Hachaim 585/29

The Reason: The right side holds special significance being that the verse states that the Satan stands by ones right, and the blowing of the Shofar confuses the Satan. [Admur ibid; Levush 585] Hence it is proper to blow the Shofar on the right side where the Satan stands. Alternatively this is based on Kabala. [Shlah ibid unlike Levush ibid which rules that according to Kabala one is to hold it by the left side of his lips] Alternatively it is because the Tefillin protect the left side. [M”A 585/4]

The order of this Halacha in Admur: To note that the Kuntrus Hashulchan states that in truth this Halacha in Admur is the beginning of 585/7 and not the end of 585/6. This would explain the lack of connection between this Halacha and the earlier statements in 585/6.

Is one to invalidate a Baal Tokeia if he is unable to blow from his right side? If he has other advantages over the other candidates, such as he is a Torah scholar and the like then he receives precedence. [See Mahram Shick 294; Dovev Meisharim 2/38]

[3] 585/7; Rama 585/2 in name of Rokeiach 201 and Mahril p. 288; M”A 585/5

The Reason: As the verse states that G-d was elevated with the blow of the Teruah. [ibid]

[4] Machatzis Hashekel 585 on M”A 5

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that one is to slant the Shofar in a way that the far end is higher than the end on one’s mouth. [Levush brought in M”A 585/5] In Shaar Hakavanos p. 98 it is written on the contrary that the end by the mouth is to be higher than the far end and it is hence to be slanted downwards. [Kaf Hachaim 585/30]

[5] M”A 585/4 based on Hagahos Haminhagim and Aguda that it is dependent on the side one wears Tefillin; Elya Raba 585/9; M”E 585/4; P”M 585 A”A 4

[6] Shaareiy Tziyon 585/18 in name of Chemed Moshe; Kaf Hachaim 585/29 in name of Poskim, and that so is evident from all the Poskim that omit the ruling of the M”A ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 585/5

[7] As he plainly writes to place it by the right side and omits the ruling of the M”A regarding a lefty. So understands to be the opinion of Admur: M”B in Shaareiy Tziyon 585/18; Kaf Hachaim ibid.

Other opinions in Admur: Some learn that even according to Admur a lefty is to blow from the left side of his mouth. [Dinei Iter p. 215; chapter 18 based on the explanation of P”M ibid that the Satan stands on the opposite side of the Tefillin, and based on Sichas Kodesh 1971 Haazinu which mentions this understanding of the P”M in the M”A] In my opinion however this is a mistaken understanding in Admur and an unintended use of Halacha from the Rebbe’s Sicha. Regarding Admur: Admur rules to hold it by the right side and omits not only the ruling of a lefty brought in the M”A but also the entire reason of the Tefillin mentioned in the M”A. It hence seems like a gross misinterpretation to enter into Admur such an opinion, especially after the greatest of Poskim that we lean on today understand Admur as stated above. Regarding the Rebbe’s Sicha perhaps in the Sicha the Rebbe was simply explaining the opinion of the M”A or P”M ibid as is done many times to explain an issue even though it may not be in accordance to the specific opinion of Admur. The Rebbe stated on numerous occasions not to use especially unedited Sichas for deriving Halachic matters. Hence there is not enough evidence from the Sicha to reinterpret Admur not in accordance to his simple understanding.

[8] Kaf Hachaim ibid

[9] M”E 585/4; Siddur Yaavetz; Admur 206/8 regarding all Mitzvos; See Tosafus R”H 34b regarding the general obligation of holding the Shofar

[10] Piskeiy Teshuvos 585/5; Based on Poskim in previous Q&A! See the other opinions mentioned there!

[11] Rambam Shofar 1/3 “The Mitzvah is only to hear the sound. Even if one did not lift it or touch it he fulfills his obligation”; Mikraei Kodesh Yamim Noraim 12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 585/5; Chasam Sofer Drashos R”H 2

[12] The reason: As there is no invalidating obligation to hold the Shofar in one’s hand but merely to blow it and hence it is valid even if it was blown while on a table. [Mikraei Kodesh Yamim Noraim 12]

[13] See Tosafus R”H 34b regarding the general obligation of holding the Shofar while blowing it as opposed to blowing it while on a table and the like. However see Mikraei Kodesh ibid that explain that this is not an actual obligation that invalidates the Shofar.

[14] Sheivet Hakehasi 2/196; Piskeiy Teshuvos 585/5; See Michaber 586/20; Admur 586/20 that one may blow with a Shofar within a Shofar so long as the sound is not changed. No mention is made regarding Chatzitza. See also 586/16 regarding a plated Shofar.

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