Question:

Shofar for children

At what age can a child be introduced to learning to blow a shofar?

I have a non-orthodox family member who has introduced it to his non-Jewish (intermarriage) daughter to blow at age 5. I felt this was an issue for halacha as I do not think in my knowledge that women are to blow the shofar and I fear worse chances for his ways to ever become a halachic family.

Am I right to say something to him or my family as the others who do not know halacha have a dire hate of discussing any matters Jewish and I am blamed as a ba’al teshuvah for discussing the merit of Torah.

I apologized and said that if I am wrong, I will admit it was an error, but I was concerned about halacha and the family and the daughter who might be trying something that will lead her to hate Israel and increase toeivah and self-pity in later years.

This is my concern and perhaps I am reasonably esoteric, but I want to have a family that respects Torah and enjoys halacha.

Many thanks.

Of note: I am male and did not and have not learned to blow a shofar and I am in my 4th decade. I have a small one that is very poor that I can blow but get a very poor sound (likely bad shofar). I would myself enjoy it as I think that after a bar mitzvah it would be permissible to learn, but I feel that a child prior to bar mitzvah should not learn this mitzvah. Am I correct?

Thanks.

Answer:

I am impressed with your concern for the spiritual future of your family. With this issue however there is no need for you to be concerned. The mitzva of shofar is that everyone is to hear the blowing of the shofar, not necessarily to do the actual blowing. In the orthodox Synagogues one person blows and everyone else listens. In fact the text of the blessing is “to hear the sound of the shofar”. You do not have to feel bad if you’re not good at blowing the shofar… neither am I.

I wouldn’t stop the children from blowing shofar, because it will instill in them a feeling that Judaism is fun and enjoyable. We want to make as many positive associations with Judaism as we can, this will get children more interested in researching their heritage.

Non- orthodox people often feel belittled when we tell them that they are not doing things correctly. We have to be encouraging to them and that will make them less scared of the torah.

May you have much success, in getting your family to follow the torah path, and a K’siva V’chasima Tovah

 

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