The רמ”א (סימן תקפ”א) brings the minhag of בני אשכנז to blow the shofar by Shachris during Chodesh Elul. We start blowing on the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul. The reason for blowing the shofar during Elul is to awaken us to do תשובה. There is a machlokes if these תקיעות have to be כדין. Most poskim say that one does not have to stand for these תקיעות. However the של”ה says that one should stand.
The Shofar is not blown on Erev Rosh Hashana. There are many reasons given for this. One reason is to differentiate between the תקיעות that are only a רשות and the תקיעות that are an obligation. Another reason is to confuse the שטן. This way he will think that Rosh Hashana already passed. The meforshim explain the ענין of ערבוב שטן in different ways. This is also the reason why we don’t say מברכים החודש before the month of תשרי. Also this allows us to make a שהחיינו on the תקיעת שופר by Rosh Hashana. The גר”א says that if a person will hear it for thirty days straight it will no longer have an effect on him.
The minhag for the תקיעות is בציבור. When one is davening ביחידות some are of the opinion that he should also blow. לכתחילה a גדול should blow because of כבוד הציבור. However if only a קטן knows how to blow he may do so.
If someone heard the תקיעות from another minyan before he himself davened, he does not have to hear them again. If someone is holding in the middle of פסוקי דזמרה or in middle of the brachos of Krias Shema בין פרק לפרק, he may stop and blow the shofar if there is no one else to blow. All he is doing is breathing and it is not a הפסק.
If someone is in middle of שמונה עשרה he should not stop to listen to the תקיעות. There are those who are lenient if he won’t be able to hear the תקיעות afterwards. Reb Moshe zt”l says that if for some reason the tzibbur did not blow after Shachris, they should blow by Mincha. The minhag is to blow once during the day and since most people are by Shachris the תקנה was to blow it then. Reb Shlomo Zalman zt’l says that there is no reason to make up the תקיעות.
The רמ”א says that some have the minhag to also blow at night. The ערוך השולחן says that one should never blow at night דאין לעשות התעוררות בלילה, והתקיעות מעוררים המדות העליונות. Reb Moshe zt”l explains that the רמ”א means after Mincha or places where they davened an early Maariv. It is not likely that they actually blew at night since it is not an עת רצון until after חצות.
When there is a bris, first the shofar is blown and afterwards is the bris. Even though milah is more תדיר, blowing the shofar is part of the סדר התפלה and the bris is after davening ends.
One should be מחנך the children in תקיעת שופר and blow for them in Cheder. Women are not מחמיר to hear the shofar during Elul.1
Prepared by R’ Avrohom Yehoshua Ziskind
1Sources:האלולים קודש לה’