Must a shofar come from an animal that had a kosher shechita

It is preferable to use a shofar from a ram for tekiyas shofar. Since a ram was the sacrifice that was offered instead of Yitzchok Avinu, it serves as remembrance of the Akeidah. The ram should be at least a year old. If a shofar from a male is not available, one from a female is also acceptable. B’dieved, a shofar from any kosher animal is acceptable. If there is a choice, a shofar from a domesticated animal takes precedence over one from a wild animal. Preferably, the horn should come from an animal that had a kosher shechita. A shofar from a non-kosher animal is not acceptable. If that is the only one available, it should be blown without a brochah.
[שו"ע תקפ"ו, א ומשנ"ב א,ב,ג וח ביאורים ומוספים דרשו 1,2,ו7]

Can an altered shofar be used on Rosh Hashonah?

It is proper to use a curved shofar for tekiyas shofar. A curved shofar conveys the proper attitude for Rosh Hashonah -- that our hearts should be subservient during the tefillos. B’dieved, a straight shofar is acceptable. A curved shofar from an animal other than a ram is preferable to a straight shofar from a ram. It also takes precedence over a shofar that blows a clearer blast. To achieve this preferable status, the shofar must be naturally curved and not altered. A slight curve is acceptable.

[שו"ע תקפ"ו, א,ומשנ"ב ה, ביאורים ומוספים דרשו 4-5]

Should the makri announce the first tekiya?

Rema records a custom of appointing a makri--one who stands to the right of the ba’al tokaya and announces the name of the tekiya before each blast. This is done to prevent the ba’al tokaya from confusing the tekiyos. The source of this custom comes from Birchas Kohanim, during which the chazon announces each word of the brochos before it is recited by the Kohanim. Some say that the makri should have in mind the lofty Kabbalistic meanings of each of the tekiyos, and the ba’al tokaya should blow according to the intentions of the makri. The custom is for the makri to announce the first tekiya, even though there is no issue of confusion at that point. If a particular congregation does not have this custom, they should not adopt it, since it serves as an unnecessary break between the brochos and the first blast.

[שו"ע תקפה, ד, משנ"ב יח, ושעה"צ לא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 27 ו־29]
  • It is proper for the ba’al tokaya to blow the shofar from the right side of his mouth. Blowing from right side has the power to dispel the Soton who stands on the right, ready to prosecute.

  • There is disagreement about whether a left-handed person should also blow on his right side.

  • It is customary to cover the shofar during the recitation of the brochah.

  • Can a shofar be used without permission?

  • Can a brochah be recited when blowing a stolen shofar?

  • Is a shofar that was used for idol worship acceptable for tekiyas shofar?
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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