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Promise to blow shofar for homebound – binding?


Our synagogue (both Rabbi and administrators) committed itself to blow shofar near our home on the second day of Rosh Hashana, and sent us a schedule, but no one came. Apparently they went to other blocks and apartments and just forgot our block. Did they have a halachic obligation? If so, which halachos apply?

What are the consequences if we (an elderly couple) would not have heard the shofar?

Thank you in advance for your help


This must have been very frustrating for you. How knows why they didn’t or couldn’t come. Regarding their commitment, unless to paid them to come blow shofar for you, they are not halachically bound to come, rather they are providing a service in these difficult times, to help everyone hear shofar.

Hashem should bless you and your husband with a year of good health and everything that you need.

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  1. Thank you for your response.

    I am confused, because I was raised to be responsible for my promises and commitments, even when not paid, especially when mitzvos are concerned. That Rabbis are not bound by this is a surprise.

    Please note:

    The shul stated why they didn’t come to our stop: they forgot, out of neglect. Previously they had, in writing, circulated lists of shofar blowing stops, including ours, and announced they would provide shofar blowing as service to all shul members. We are paid members.

    They did not ask for separate payment for shofar, but offered it as service to their members

    Since they are not bound to provide the services they commit themselves to, we will ask for our fee to be refunded and cancel our membership.

    By the way: on Rosh Hashana, just as our group was about to give up waiting outside in the heat, after an hour, a Chabad Rabbi happened to pass by. When we told him what happened he asked us to wait, brought a shofar and blew it for us.

    I have already made a donation in his honor – despite his protests that we do not owe him anything, that HE is grateful for the opportunity to do a mitzvah – and plan to give the recovered shul fees to his organization.

    1. 100% correct, we should all be responsible, and fulfill any commitments that we make. I was not suggesting that a person commit and not keep what they promise, even if one is not paid. As you wrote they meant to come, but they forgot to come, which is incorrect, but mistakes do happen, especially on a day like Rosh Hashana when we can’t communicate by phone etc. You’re question though was post facto, from the angle of the offended person, what can be done now that they didn’t come? If you want to cancel the year’s worth of membership over this mistake, consider the fact that membership helps pay for the whole year worth of services.
      Boruch Hashem, Hashem took care of you and sent a different messenger to blow the shofar for you, and I am very happy to see that you did in fact hear the shofar. You see Hashem takes care of you!

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