Q. My father bought me an Israeli shofar that has a decorative silver covering. Can I use it on Rosh Hashana.
A. Shulchan Aruch (O.H. 586: 16-18) rules that if a shofar has a gold decorative covering and it reaches the place of the mouth or the inside parts, it becomes disqualified. The same applies if the covering in any way changes the natural sound of the shofar. Mishna Berura (16) debates what opening is being addressed, and rules to include both.
On question 860 regarding an engraved shofar with outside decorations that are only superficial or if it has only engraved the initials of the owner or a label with his name, we wrote: “Shulchan Aruch (O.H. 586: 17) rules that it is improper to paint the shofar. Tur quoting Ramban explains that the paint may change the sound of the shofar. (See also Mishna Berura and Kaf Hachaim ibid.) However Remo (ibid.) writes that it is permitted to engrave decorations on the shofar itself. The reason being that even if the sound changes it is from the shofar itself and not due to some extraneous material painted or laid on it. Changing the sound in itself is not detrimental, since all voices from a shofar are acceptable.
However Kaf hachaim (586: 122,) Piskei Teshuvos (ibid.) Zichron Terua (p. 69) and others maintain that it is better not to engrave the shofar at all, since one may accidentally perforate the shofar and disqualify it.
Gluing a label with an identifying name on it, as mentioned before regarding paint, is also improper (Piskey Teshuvos ibid. 10)
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit”a opinion is that it is of utmost importance to maintain the traditional ways of observing mitzvos and not to absorb new meaningless alterations, since there are many reasons why we comply with time-honored traditions. This is especially important in regards to the essential mitzva of shofar. (If someone is afraid that his shofar mat be taken by others, he should place it in a becoming bag with his name on it, as we do with the ta’alis and tefilin)”
Since it is very difficult to asses whether there was a change on the sound of the shofar real due to the silver covering and there are real possibilities that some small cracks may have been created during the covering process, the Rov maintains that this shofar should be avoided when it is blown for complying with the mitzva. However it could be used for the added stringent voices some do after davening
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a