Shofar Blowing is the highlight of Rosh Hashana, and the biblical command that is unique to the day. While the custom is to sound one hundred blasts, the first thirty are the main ones. These are sounded now, after the Torah reading but before Mussaf. The exception to this is if the first day of Rosh Hashana falls out on a Shabbos, in which case the shofar is not sounded at all. In those years, we blow the Shofar only on the second day of Rosh Hashana.

The Shofar blowing ceremony begins with Psalm 47 which is read seven times. Then, the Tokea (Shofar blower) recites a prayer silently, entreating G-d for help. After that, the Tokea recites specific verses aloud, followed by the congregation. The first letters of six of these stanazas reads “kra satan” which means destroy the adversary. It is a prayer that Hashem not allow the Satan to accuse.

The Tokea now recites two blessings, and the congregation responds Amen. The blowing starts immediately, and includes various styles of blasts, all of which are made up of Tekiah, Shevarim and Teruah sounds.

Before the Tokea blows, the Makrei calls out the type of blast so that he knows which one to blow. If the Chazzan fails to make the right sound, the Makrei will tell him to go back and redo it until he gets it right. After the Tokea blows all thirty sounds, the congregation recites a short prayer and a few more verses are read aloud. Then, the congregation continues with Ashrei and the Mussaf prayer.