Beware of Silicon-Treated Shofaros; Buy Only Shofar With Certification

YERUSHALAYIM -

Rabbanim have issued a  proclamation cautioning the public to make sure that the shofaros they use on Rosh Hashanah are not treated with silicon, and that they buy only shofaros that bear authorized kashrus certification.

“Since in recent years production of shofaros has been done for the most part by people who are not Torah-observant or who are not meticulous when it comes to halachic details, inspection has revealed that many shofaros — including those that are sold for high prices — contain holes that were patched up during manufacture with materials that are not of the same material as the horn itself (lo mino), causing grave concern that these shofaros cannot be used to fulfill the mitzvah of tekiyas shofar,” the proclamation reads. “One who is not expert in this cannot detect that a hole is present at all.

“We therefore call upon the public to be careful only to buy a shofar with an authentic hechsher, and when a shofar has already been purchased, it is fitting to have it checked by an expert who knows how to determine its kashrus. It is a great mitzvah for anyone who is adept in identifying such patchwork to come forward and help remove this stumbling block by checking the kashrus of shofaros.”

Signatories are Harav Menachem Mendel Shafran, Harav Yaakov Meir Stern, Harav Moshe Shaul Klein, Harav Sariel Rosenberg, Harav Yehudah Silman and Harav Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt.

Hagaon Harav Aharon Yehuda Leib Steinman, Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky and Harav Nissim Karelitz added their signatures to the declaration.

The problem came to light when a baal toke’a from Rechovot went to an expert in shofaros to learn a technique that makes shofar-blowing easier. The expert inspected the shofar, which had been purchased for several hundred shekels, and discovered that there was a hole in it that had been sealed with silicon, rendering it passul. After a few moments of filing with a machine, the hole became visible.

The distraught baal toke’a went to Harav Yitzchak Yeshaya Weiss, Rav of Neveh Achiezer, noting that he had used this shofar in recent years on Rosh Hashanah before over 100 mispallelim.

Rav Weiss checked into the details of the case with the expert, who claimed that there are hundreds of such shofaros on the market and that people are unwittingly using them on Rosh Hashanah. The matter was brought before several Gedolei Yisrael, resulting in the proclamation.