Q. After having read your answer (3322) regarding all the possible Halacha difficulties and problems in buying a Kosher Shofar these days, I went to buy a Shofar at a respectable Judaica store owned by honest frum people who I fully trust. I did ask them if they can certify that the shofar I was about to purchase was not changed in form by heating it in hot water and they told me that they can’t, since it is a common practice even by the top certified Shofaros. Does Horav Shlomo Miller agree that thet are Kosher?
A. Some Poskim are indeed stringent when any change was done on the Shofar’s shape from the way it grew on the animal (See Minchas Yitzchok 8: 54, Piskei Teshuvos 586: 9: n. 28).
On question 856 regarding one that was given a Shofar as a present, it had a good sound but it was rather straight and only slightly bent. He was told that if one heats the shofar one can soften it and bend it, if that permitted. We answered: “The Talmud Rosh Hashana 27b mentions that a Shofar is required to fulfill the “Derech Haavaroso” prerequisite or the way it was grown on the head of the animal, without being changed from the natural way it grew.
Poskim disagree as to what that change means. From the Talmud it is apparent that it becomes disqualified only if it was changed inside out or by reversing the side one blows into.
Pri Megodim (Mishbetzos Zahav 586) debates as to if a natural straight ram shofar is preferable to a common Shofar that was bent by softening the Shofar with hot water. It would seem that he rules that there is no difficulty in using such a Shofar. Likewise Zichron Terua (p. 68) maintains that the custom of Ashkenazim and others that if the changes made by softening the Shofar in hot water are small and are made only to better its appearance it is permitted. However, Piskey Teshuvos (586: 9) avers that from the Rav’s Shulchan Aruch and Mate Efraim, it is apparent that any physical change made to the shofar, that deviates from the way it naturally grows, disqualifies. Therefore, even small changes made for the purpose of making it easier to blow should be avoided. Minchas Yitzchok (8: 54) quotes Toras Chaim (O.H. 586: 2) that indeed disqualifies an artificially bent Shofar for the reason mentioned above.”
However, Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit”’a opinion is that one can be lenient and it is a common practice to change them a bit.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a