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Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayyim 586:21 (excerpt):

הָיָה הַשּׁוֹפָר בְּרֹאשׁ הָאִילָן ...וְאֵין לוֹ שׁוֹפָר אֶלָּא הוּא, אֵינוֹ עוֹלֶה בָּאִילָן

If a shofar was in a tree ... and he has no other shofar besides this one, he does not climb the tree.

Several years ago, between Mincha and Ma'ariv on the 1st day of Rosh Hashanna, our rabbi was reading this paragraph with the cong. A man asked the rabbi, "What would a shofar be doing in a tree?" The rabbi had no answer.

Now, I know that M.Y. is not a substitute for my rabbi :-) But, I'm not asking for psak, here, as we all know what the ruling already is. But, I assume that the Shulchan Aruch stated this rule b/c in their time, at some point, a shofar was caught in a tree, even though we may not have that happen now. (I once planted a shofar, but, alas, no shofar tree. My kids were disappointed!)

So. I repeat the old man's question - how would the shofar have gotten in the tree?

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    Why do you assume that it is anything more than a theoretical example of a mitzvah blocked by a rabbinic prohibition? – mevaqesh Aug 24 '15 at 20:26
  • I have actually been wondering about this myself. Someone mentioned a shofar in a tree in an answer to my question about Shabbos goyim. – Wad Cheber Aug 24 '15 at 20:39
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    @DanF - Were you under the impression that goats and Rams were animals? They're actually fruit. (I linked the wrong picture last time) – Wad Cheber Aug 24 '15 at 21:10
  • @WadCheber Your link in your last comment didn't display anything. It could me some proxy settings that are blocking it. At any rate, can you describe, in words, what you are saying, and more specifically, how this relates to my question? – DanF Aug 22 '16 at 15:46
  • @DanF I was able to link to the picture and it showed goats photoshopped as standing on the branches of a tree. It is just a joke and has nothing to do with the question. – sabbahillel Aug 22 '16 at 19:57
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Presumably because someone put it there.

Perhaps he was walking along the road on the 25th of Elul holding a shofar and decided to rest it on a branch (or trunk bifurcation) for a moment while he adjusted his backpack. Then, when he started walking again, he forgot it there.

Or perhaps he was using a mirror in a shofar as a sort of periscope, leaning it on a tree branch to peer around the tree, and left it there for future use.

Or perhaps he was butchering a ram in the middle of a lime grove and putting the parts on various trees as decoration. He completely hollowed out the shofaros before putting them up because he wanted to put them around the branches rather then balance them on the branches.

I can probably think of even more outlandish examples if you like; but the first one actually seems quite plausible.

  • I'm not sure if you are making up these ideas or not. I'm not discounting that anything is possible. But, again, my question does state what happened that the SA would be concerned abou this. I don't believe that SA gives examples that aren't actually presentations of events that somehow occurred on some level. Why would it be so concerned about a theoretical possibility, esp. something rather miniscule? – DanF Aug 24 '15 at 20:45
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    DanF, I have no doubt that, many times, people have put stuff down on branches (or trunk bifurcations) while passing by. Probably even shofaros. – msh210 Aug 24 '15 at 20:48
  • I let this sit around for a while, as you can see. I've accepted your answer, and changed my mind. It is possible, but, I still think, improbable. I guess someone who went camping during Ellul might leave the shofar in the tree. But, walking in the same forest on Rosh Hashanna and he sees his lost shofar still there and remarks, "THERE it is! I was looking for it. Too bad I can't get it, now!" Hmmm ... this guy must love to hike on the same forest trail specifically on Rosh Hashanna ... – DanF Aug 22 '16 at 15:55
  • @DanF, does the S"'A say it must be the owner of the long lost Shofar who seeks to retrieve it? – Seth J Aug 22 '16 at 16:18
  • @SethJ No, it doesn't. "My bad"... Of course, someone else walking by may wonder also what that shofar is doing in the tree. – DanF Aug 22 '16 at 17:24
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The Shulchan Aruch (586:21) just uses this example since it was an example of the Mishna in Rosh Hashana (4:8) (32b in the Gemara).

You make no mention of the Mishnah and assume that is must have been common in the time of the Shulhan Arukh.

  • This answer "recycles" my question. I wasn't asking why the Shulchan Aruch cited this. I was asking how the description in SA or Mishnah actually could occur. Presumably, when the Mishnah mentions something like this, it is not theoretical. Related to your more recent comment, thanks for the reminder. I am accepting another person's answer. – DanF Aug 22 '16 at 15:50
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    @DanF You asked: But, I assume that the Shulchan Aruch stated this rule b/c in their time, at some point, a shofar was caught in a tree, even though we may not have that happen now You make no mention of the Mishnah and assume that is must have been common in the time of the Shulhan Arukh. This assumption is shown to be spurious by my answer. It is a prompt for a different question; a question regarding the Mishnah. – mevaqesh Aug 22 '16 at 15:54
  • Yes, that's a valid point, that I missed. Vote changed. – DanF Aug 22 '16 at 15:58
  • @DanF Thank you חכם אינו מדבר בפני מי שהוא גדול ממנו בחכמה ואינו נכנס לתוך דברי חבירו ואינו נבהל להשיב שואל כענין ומשיב כהלכה ואומר על ראשון ראשון ועל אחרון אחרון ועל מה שלא שמע אומר לא שמעתי ומודה על האמת This is particularly admirable in our more subjective case, if I do say so myself. – mevaqesh Aug 22 '16 at 17:45
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    That's a very kind compliment; I appreciate it. Seriously, one is OBLIGATED to do the right thing. Thus, the compliment is really unnecessary, but I appreciate it nonetheless. Since you cited Pirkei Avot, another Mishnah states that the wise person is one who learns from every person. It doesn't say "Every OTHER person". This implies that one can learn from his own errors. – DanF Aug 22 '16 at 18:04
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A shofar in a tree is just an example of a situation that requires one to be oiver an issur d'rabanan (a rabbinical prohibition ) in order to procure the shofar. Any other answer might be intelligent and cute but it is not the truth.

  • I think you really have this backwards. Blowing shofar is d'oraisa. The rabbis were the ones who placed a prohibition against retrieving the Torah from a tree. The Mishnah ruling is rabbinical. What is the source for your stating this? – DanF Aug 22 '16 at 17:22
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Mark! Consider reading this Beginners' Guide. Hope you choose to stick around the site. – mevaqesh Aug 22 '16 at 17:55
  • There is a rabbinical prohibition to remove something from a tree on Shabbat or Yomtov. This prohibition has no relation to the laws of shofar. However, in order to create a scenario whereby one has to violate a rabbinical prohibition in order to fulfill the Biblical commandment of blowing shofar, a theoretical scenario of a shofar stuck in a tree is used. – Mark A. Aug 23 '16 at 5:24

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