Ethics

For the week ending 27 September 2008 / 27 Elul 5768

So Far for Shofar

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: As the mother of infants I approach Rosh Hashana with trepidation as to how I will be able to hear the blowing of the shofar while caring for my babies. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Although women are exempt from the obligation to hear shofar blowing on Rosh Hashana since it is a time-oriented mitzvah, Jewish women have universally accepted it as a solemn duty and make every effort to fulfill it.

In many communities there are more than one service on Rosh Hashana, so that you can tune in to a later one while your husband who has already completed his prayers baby-sits. In some places mothers park their carriages just outside the synagogue in order to hear the shofar blowing without disturbing anyone. There are even special shofar blowing services held later in the day for the benefit of women who could not make it in the morning.

Whatever solution you find, please remember that you only have to hear thirty blasts of the shofar, which last for a few minutes, and may leave the hearing of a hundred to the men.

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