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    Shofar notes – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. What system does the ba’al toke’ah use to know what sounds to make with the shofar?

    shofar rosh hashanah pray daven synagogueA. The Torah calls Rosh HaShanah Yom T’ru’ah (Num. 29:1). It is left to rabbinic tradition to analyse what is meant by T’ru’ah.

    The rabbis also explain that T’ru’ah is preceded and followed by a P’shutah – a long, straight sound, our T’ki’ah.

    The T’ru’ah is variously explained as sighing, moaning, wailing, sobbing, or a combination of them. The result is three options – Sh’varim/T’ru’ah, Sh’varim and T’ru’ah. In this pattern Sh’varim is a sighing sound and T’ru’ah a sobbing sound.

    The whole pattern – abbreviated in rabbinic enumeration as TaShRaT (T’ki’ah, Sh’varim/T’ru’ah, T’ki’ah), TaShaT, TaRaT, is blown after the Torah reading.

    There are also shofar blasts during the Amidah: in some synagogues only during the Repetition of the Amidah and in others during the Silent Amidah as well. Additional blasts are blown after the Amidah in order to bring the number of blasts up to 100, a number denoting completeness.

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