The Significance of Yom Teruah - Yom Teruah Scriptures


II. Yom Teruah Scriptures:

The Torah’s teaching on this feast is very brief, consisting of only two passages:

Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:23-25 HaShem said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with shofar blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to HaShem by fire.

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:1 "'On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the shofarot.


Chazal, our sages, teach us that we are NOT to sound the shofar on Shabbat in accordance with the above passage from Vayikra (Leviticus). This pasuk indicates that the shofar in not sounded but commemorated. This is in accordance with the understanding that we do do not carry, even a shofar, from a private domain to a public domain on Shabbat. The reason we do not carry is because carrying from a private to a public domain was one of the labors required to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The Talmud also speaks of this issue of carrying a shofar on Shabbat:

Rosh HaShana 29b MISHNAH. IF THE FESTIVE DAY OF NEW YEAR FELL ON A SHABBAT, THEY USED TO BLOW THE SHOFAR IN THE TEMPLE BUT NOT IN THE COUNTRY: AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE, RABBAN JOHANAN BEN ZACCAI ORDAINED THAT IT SHOULD BE BLOWN [ON SHABBAT] IN EVERY PLACE WHERE THERE WAS A BETH DIN. R. ELIEZER SAID: RABBAN JOHANAN BEN ZACCAI LAID DOWN THIS RULE FOR JABNEH ONLY. THEY SAID TO HIM: IT APPLIES EQUALLY TO JABNEH AND TO ANY PLACE WHERE THERE IS A BETH DIN. JERUSALEM HAD THIS FURTHER SUPERIORITY OVER JABNEH, THAT IN EVERY CITY FROM WHICH IT COULD BE SEEN OR HEARD AND WHICH WAS NEAR AND FROM WHICH IT WAS ACCESSIBLE THEY USED TO BLOW [ON SHABBAT], WHEREAS IN JABNEH THEY USED TO BLOW IN THE BETH DIN ONLY.

GEMARA. Whence [in the Scripture] is this rule derived? — R. Levi b. Lahma said: One verse says, a solemn rest, a memorial of blast of horns, while another verse says,it is a day of blowing the horn unto you! [Yet] there is no contradiction, as one refers to a festival which falls on Shabbat and the other to a festival which falls on a weekday. Raba said: If the prohibition [on Shabbat] is from the Written Law, how comes the shofar to be blown in the Temple? And besides, [the blowing] is no work that a text should be needed to except it. For it was taught in the school of Samuel: [When it says], Ye shall do no servile work [on New Year], this excludes the blowing of the shofar and the taking of bread from the oven, these being kinds of skill and not work! — No, said Raba. According to the Written Law it is allowed, and it is the Rabbis who prohibited it as a precaution; as stated by Rabbah; for Rabbah said, All are under obligation to blow the shofar but not all are skilled in the blowing of the shofar. [Hence] there is a danger that perhaps one will take it in his hand [on Shabbat] and go to an expert to learn and carry it four cubits in public domain. The same reason applies to the lulab and the same reason to the Megillah.

Shabbath 35b The School of R. Ishmael taught: Six blasts were blown on the eve of the Shabbat. When the first was begun, those who stood in the fields ceased to hoe, plough, or do any work in the fields, and those who were near [to town] were not permitted to enter [it] until the more distant ones arrived, so that they should all enter simultaneously. But the shops were still open and the shutters were lying. When the second blast began, the shutters were removed and the shops closed. Yet hot [water] and pots still stood on the range. When the third blast was begun, what was to be removed was removed, and what was to be stored away was stored away, and the lamp was lit. Then there was an interval for as long as it takes to bake a small fish or to place a loaf in the oven; then a teki'ah, teru'ah and a teki'ah were sounded, and one commenced the Shabbat. R. Jose b. R. Hanina said: I have heard that if one comes to light after the six blasts he may do so, since the Sages gave the hazzan of the community time to carry his shofar home. Said they to him, If so, your rule depends on [variable] standards. Rather the hazzan of the community had a hidden place on the top of his roof, where he placed his shofar, because neither a shofar nor a trumpet may be handled [on the Shabbat]. But it was taught: A shofar may be handled, but not a trumpet? -Said R. Joseph: There is no difficulty: The one refers to an individual[‘s]; the other to a community[‘s].


Since Yom Teruah lasts for forty-nine hours and spans two days, even when one day is Shabbat, the other will be a weekday. This means that on Yom Teruah the shafar is ALWAYS sounded!