The job of the Rav:
The Rav of the town is responsible for checking prior to R”H that the Shofar is valid without any question or doubts of cracks and chips and the like.
A Shofar that was made through welding together pieces of horn:
If one glued [or welded] many pieces of Shofar together and made it into a complete Shofar, it is invalid. This applies even if the Shofar contains a single piece of horn which is a Tefach in length from the narrow end of the Shofar.
A Shofar with a hole:
Some Poskim rule that a Shofar that contains a hole on its side is valid to use for blowing on Rosh Hashanah. Other Poskim rule, that the Shofar is invalid [unless it is properly patched as explained in the next Halacha]. Practically if another Shofar is available one may not use this Shofar. However if no other Shofar is available then it may be used. This allowance applies even if the sound of the Shofar has changed due to the hole. [This allowance applies even if the hole is within one Tefach from the narrow hole of the Shofar. However it only applies if majority of the Shofar remains intact. If however majority of the Shofar length contains a hole then it is invalid even after the fact. If the Shofar has a hole which covers majority of its circumference in that area then it is required to have Shiur Shofar (8 cm) remain from the narrow end until the hole for the Shofar to remain Kosher.]
A Shofar that has a hole on its side may only be used if there is no other Shofar available. Even then it is only valid if the hole does not cover majority of the length of the Shofar, and if the hole covers majority of the circumference of that area then there must be 8 cm. from the narrow end of the Shofar until the hole.
Must one check a Shofar in water to verify it does not contain a hole?
Some are stringent to do so in order to verify that it does not contain any hole at all.
Is the Shofar initially valid if it has a very small hole?
If the sound of the Shofar has changed then the Shofar is initially invalid as explained above. If the sound has not changed then this matter is disputed in Poskim and it is proper to initially be stringent.
Alef Hamagen 586/32
The reason: As such a Shofar is not Halachicly considered a Shofar. [ibid]
 Meaning even if one welded pieces of horn to a Kosher Shofar which was at least one Tefach in length, in order to increase its size, nevertheless the Shofar becomes invalid due to these additional pieces. The reason for this is because the sound of the Shofar protrudes through the broken pieces and the Torah validated only the sound which protrudes from a single Shofar and not from two Shofros. [ibid]
 Michaber 586/7; Gemara R”H 27b; This Halacha is missing from the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch
 Michaber ibid; The Michaber ibid rules like the Yerushalmi that if the hole was not stuffed or patched with material then it remains valid to use for blowing on Rosh Hashanah.
 This is in contrast to a crack which receives different laws. [Taz 586/8] See Halacha C!
Kol Bo and Teshuvos Harosh [Klal 24/8] brought in Rama ibid forbid using a Shofar with a hole that was not patched up. [See Kaf Hachaim 586/53] So rules also Ritva brought in Kaf Hachaim 586/52
The reason: The reason for the stringent opinion is because the sound of the Shofar is damaged when it has a hole. [M”A 586/8 based on Kol Bo; Elya Raba 586/10; Chayeh Adam 140/11; M”E 586/10] Another reason recorded for invalidating a Shofar with a hole is that just like Hashem blows with a complete Shofar similarly our Shofar is to also be complete without holes. [Yifei Laleiv 2/1 based on Pesikta brought in Kaf Hachaim 586/55; Biur Hagr”a; Rokeiach 203; Sheivet Halevy 8/133]
If a Tefach remains of the Shofar remains without a hole: This stringent opinion prohibits the Shofar even if there is one Tefach remaining from the hole until the narrow end of the Shofar. [M”A 586/8 based on Kol Bo; Elya Raba 586/10; Chayeh Adam 140/11; M”E 586/10]
The law if the sound of the Shofar did not change: It is implied from the Rama, Rosh and the first explanation in the Kol Bo, that the Shofar is invalid even if one knows that the sound did not become damaged and even if a Tefach has remained. Practically one must initially be stringent in this matter. [Kaf Hachaim 586/52, 53, 54] Some are accustomed based on this stringency to check whether a Shofar has a hole by placing it in water. [See Sheivet Halevi ibid] However some Poskim rule that if the sound did not change due to the hole then it may be used according to all, even initially. [M”B 586/28; Sheivet Halevy 8/133; Piskeiy Teshuvos 586/6]
 Rama ibid
If the sound did not change: This stringency applies even if the sound of the Shofar did not change and even if there is a Tefach remaining from the narrow end until the hole [Kaf Hachaim ibid], although some Poskim are lenient. [See previous footnote]
A small hole: Based on the above stringent opinion of the Kaf Hachaim ibid even if the hole is very small and the sound has thus not changed the Shofar should not be initially used. This certainly applies according to the reason recorded above from the Peskita. See Sheivet Halevy ibid
 Rama ibid
Ruling of Sefaradim: The Michaber rules that it is valid even initially to use this Shofar even if other Shofars are available. Practically even Sefardim are to be stringent in this matter like the Rama. This especially applies regarding Shofar being that it is a positive command and one thus should try to fulfill his obligation according to all opinions. [Kaf Hachaim 586/52-53]
 Michaber ibid
The reason: The reason for this is because all sounds that come out of a Shofar are valid. [M”B 586/27; Kaf Hachaim 586/51 in name of Tur and Yerushalmi] In truth however this matter is disputed amongst Poskim as the Ritva rules that if the sound changed the Shofar is invalid. Practically in any event Lechatchilah we do not allow using the Shofar even if the sound did not change, although when no other Shofar is available one may use it even if its sound changed. [Kaf Hachaim 586/52]
Taz 586/7 based on Reim brought in Beis Yosef; Elya Raba 586/10; Peri Chadash; Meaning that even if there does not remain the minimum Shiur of a Shofar from the area of the hole, nevertheless it remains Kosher. [M”B 586/27]
Peri Chadash; Bach; Kneses Hagedola 586/6; brought in Peri Megadim 586 M.Z 7; M”B 586/27; Kaf Hachaim 586/52; This applies even if there is a Shiur Shofar remaining from the narrow end until the hole, nevertheless if majority of the Shofar’s length contains a hole it is invalid. [Shaareiy Tziyon 586/55] See Biur Halacha “Af Al Piy” for a discussion on this matter and the novelties he concludes.
Peri Chadash ibid; Shaareiy Tziyon 586/56
 See Sheivet Halevi 8/133
 This follows the stringent ruling of the Kaf Hachaim 586/53-54 that the Shofar is initially invalid if it has a hole even if the sound has not changed. See footnotes above.
 See Kaf Hachaim 586/53-54; footnotes ibid regarding the law if the sound did not change according to the stringent opinion.
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