The gemarah (rosh hashana 32b) asks why we wait until mussaf to blow the shofar and answers that the ruling enemies of the Jews mistook the shofar sound for a rallying war cry and forbade it. They also positioned guards to check to see if it was being sounded. However the guards got lazy and by mussaf they would abandon their post. Tosfos asks why, in their own time years later after the fear of reprisal had abated, we didn't re-institute an earlier tekia, they answer that perhaps it would reawaken the enmity.

Why then do we not blow shofar earlier nowadays? Zrizim makdimim l'mitzvos.

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    I don't understand. Tosfot asks the question and gives the answer. You cite them in your question. What is left to ask?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 4:19
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    tosfos answer is far fetched at best and certainly no longer in any way practical. i am asking why we have not revisited the issue Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 4:38
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    Then please clarify that in the question. FWIW this is definitely not first on my list for issues that should someday be revisited.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 4:40
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    @vram, please remember that the mitzva of shofar is all day. The idea of zerizin makdimin is an external logic which is easily ignored for practical reasons. So Tos. answer is not farfetched. As for your question of the reason not being practical, you are basing your question on a very short timespan of Jewish history- 70 years out of a few thousand. Things change.
    – YDK
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 5:04
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    @vram, also, if your actual question is as stated in your comment, your original question does not reflect that. If you edit your question to assume an understanding of Tos, I will delete or modify my posted answer.
    – YDK
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 5:06

3 Answers 3


As an answer, I am merely clarifying the gemara and tosfos as DoubleAA alluded to..

The gemara's question: Why do we blow shofar during the additional prayer service. We should blow earlier during the morning service based on the idea that the meticulous perform mitzvos as soon as possible (z'rizin makdimim).

The Bavli's Answer: The mishna was learned during the time of a government ban (on blowing the shofar).[Once the time for morning service was over, the guards went home, so they blew during the additional service. Rashi]

The Yerushalmi's answer: Blowing the shofar during the morning service put the Jews in danger as the government thought they were sounding an attack. So they moved it to the additional service so that the gov't would see that they are merely performing a series of religious practices.

Tosfos asks on the Bavli: The mishna was learned during a time of a gov't ban on shofar. So the mishna is an exception. Now that there is no ban, let's re-institute the original law of blowing during the morning service?

Tosfos answers: Since there is a chance that (wherever Jews may roam) the gov't may institute a similar ban, we keep the custom as stated in the mishna and forgo the preference of "z'rizin makdimin".

Tosfos continues: My question does not apply according to the Yerushalmi, since (at least in Tos' time) there is always a danger of the gov't mistaking the shofar for an attack signal.

  • See the Ritva there as well.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 5:07
  • @DoubleAA Are you bringing the Ritva l'ravcha d'milsa, or was there something that in my answer that wasn't accurate?
    – YDK
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 5:17
  • The former. He has a few other answers as well.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 10:57

The Yerushalmi 5:8 learns that we blow shofar during mussaf from a completely different limmud. It also cites a variant of the "it was dangerous" reason but then offers another reason based on limmudim from pesukim.


As I recall the poskim say oldsters and others can't stick around for all of davening, so we do the Tekios before Mussaf. Another reason, which is brought in a post on Shofar Sounder and in the Chayei Adam, Klal 142, is that the Satan (i.e. the Yetzer Hara) wants to mess up everything for us during the Mussaf tekios, so we blow the shofar to knock him off his feet.

  • This doesn't seem to address the question.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 4:43

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