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I recently came across someone who owns a shofar which has a mouthpiece attachment that circumvents the need to vibrate your lips.

A typical shofar requires a bit of skill and practice in that you need to vibrate your lips to create the sound. This shofar was created with a type of metallic mouthpiece which creates the vibration for the sound. You simply blow air straight in (like a whistle) rather than having to pucker your lips and create vibration.

Does such a change invalidate its use for religious purposes or is this actually valid but just an uncommon alteration?

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That wouldn't be allowed for use on Rosh Hashana. The classic case of a mouthpiece on a Shofar is coating the opening of the Shofar in gold to make it look nicer, which is invalid (OC 586:16). Similarly, blowing into the shofar from a distance is invalid (ibid. :19) because the blower's mouth must touch the Shofar.

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  • Followup: So the Shulchan states the issue is your mouth is not coming into contact with the shofar. If that is the case, would adding the same piece internally (say shoving this same type of piece inside like a cork) which allows full contact between you and the shofar make it valid? – Michael Nov 3 '20 at 14:48
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    @Michael There is also an issue of adding gold to the non-mouthpiece parts of the Shofar if it is significant enough to change the sound of the blasts. It's hard to imagine a way to include this device without it being considered attached and affecting the sound. (Also there's a rule you can't stuff a shofar inside a shofar, though that's not quite this.) – Double AA Nov 3 '20 at 14:57
  • I appreciate the followup. Thank you! – Michael Nov 3 '20 at 15:03

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