Sunday, January 07, 2007

Daf Yomi - Rosh Hashana 33 - Highlights

The Mishna states that one may not go beyond the techum boundary in order to hear the shofar. The Mishna lists other Rabbinical prohibitions that a person cannot violate in order to fulfill the mitzva of shofar. One is permitted to place water or wine into the shofar to improve the sound. The Mishna rules that we do not restrain the children from blowing the shofar and we can even instruct them how to blow the shofar. One who accidentally blew a shofar does not fulfill his obligation and one who hears the shofar from someone who blew accidentally does not fulfill his obligation.

The Gemora infers from the Mishna which rules that we do not restrain the children from blowing the shofar that we do restrain women from blowing the shofar. This is in contradiction to a braisa which states explicitly that we do restrain children and women from blowing the shofar. The Gemora answers that it is a Tannaic dispute. Rabbi Yehuda maintains that we restrain women from blowing the shofar and Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Shimon permit her to. Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Shimon hold that a woman who performs a mitzva that she is not obligated in does not violate the prohibition of adding to a mitzva and therefore she can blow the shofar if she so desires. Rabbi Yehuda disagrees and thereby prohibits a woman from blowing the shofar.

These positions stem from the disagreement between these Tannaim on the issue of semichah - part of the sacrifice ceremony when the person bringing a korban in the Beis Hamikdosh would put pressure on the animal's head before it was slaughtered and brought to the mizbeach. Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Shimon rule that women can perform semichah even though they are not obligated in it, from which we conclude that they generally permit women to perform mitzvos on a voluntary basis, even when they are not obligated in them. Rabbi Yehuda forbids women from doing semichah. (This last paragraph is courtesy of the Aleph Society.) (32a)

The Gemora cites the opinion of Rabbi Elozar that one can instruct children how to blow a shofar on Rosh Hashanah even if it is Shabbos. The Gemora states further that a child that has reached the age where he can be trained to do a mitzva, we instruct him how to blow a shofar, however a child that has not reached that age, we do not instruct him but we do not restrain him from blowing himself. (33a – 33b)

The Mishna teaches the particulars of the shofar blowing. There should be three sets, consisting of three sounds each – tekiah, teruah, tekiah. The length of the tekiah should be equal to that of three teruos. The length of a teruah should be like three short sobs. If one blew a long tekiah for the duration of two regular tekios, he only receives credit for one. Someone who davened Mussaf without blowing and later found a shofar; he should blow a tekiah, teruah, tekiah three times.

The Gemora cites a braisa which conflicts with the opinion ion the Mishna. The braisa states that the length of a teruah should be like three shevarim. Abaye explains the dispute as follows: It is written in the Torah ‘yom teruah’ and the Targum translates this to mean ‘a day of yevava.’ We know from a verse discussing the mother of Sisra crying that ‘yevava’ means crying. The braisa maintains that yevava means moaning, like a sick person where the cries last for some time, and thereby he expresses the teruos as shevarim. The Tanna of our Mishna holds that yevava means to sob, which is a group of very short cries, and therefore he expresses the teruos as short sobs. (33b)

The Gemora cites the Scriptural source showing that one must blow a tekiah, teruah, tekiah. The Gemora also provides the source that there should be three sets of these three sounds. (33b – 34a)