Friday, January 12, 2007
Posted by Avromi at 1/12/2007 01:47:00 PM
Posted by Avromi at 1/12/2007 12:37:00 PM
Thursday, January 11, 2007
There are several different customs regarding the saying of tal during Shemoneh Esrei. It can be implied from Tosfos that in the winter season, they would say mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem u’morid hatal. The Ran writes that they would not say morid hatal in the winter. The Rambam in Hilchos Tefillah (2:15) rules that morid hatal is not recited during the winter season.
In regards to the summer season, the Tur (114) and the Rama write that it is the Ashkenazi custom not to mention tal at all. The Rambam cites the minhag Sfard that tal is mentioned during the summer months. The Gr”A states that this viewpoint can be found in the Yerushalmi.
The Bach explains the opinion of the Tur to mean that they would recite mashiv haruach u’morid hatal. The Beis Yosef disagrees and maintains that they would only say morid hatal. The Magen Avraham seemingly states like the Bach; however the Machtzis Hashekel claims that there was a printer’s mistake in the Magen Avraham and in truth, he holds like the Beis Yosef that mashiv haruach is not said in the summer time.
There are different customs regarding the request for dew. Some have the custom to ask for dew during the summer season and during the winter. It has become our custom to request dew only in the winter.
It is noteworthy that there are different customs regarding dew, wind and clouds even though the Gemora states by all three that one is not obligated to mention them but if one desires to mention them, he may do so. Why is it that we find different customs for each one?
The Ran answers that dew is something that is always desired. It is beneficial in the summer season and during the winter. It is for this reason that dew is mentioned throughout the year. This is in contrast to wind which is only preferred in the rainy season when it is required to dry the soil and that is why mashiv haruach is only mentioned during the winter and not in the summer. Clouds are not mentioned at all since the benefit received from them is not recognizable to the world. [The Ritva has a different approach in answering these questions.]
HALACHAH: "MORID HA'GESHEM" OR "MORID HA'GASHEM"?
QUESTION: In the wintertime Shemoneh Esreh, we mention the praise of Hash-m Who brings rain -- "Morid ha'Geshem" -- in the blessing of Gevuros ("Atah Gibor..."). The custom among Sefardic Jews (Edot ha'Mizrach), as well as those who pray according to Nusach Sefard (such as Chasidim), is to mention "Morid ha'Tal" in the summertime in the blessing of Gevuros (see previous Insight). This is also the custom in Eretz Yisrael, based on the practice of the Vilna Ga'on and the Ba'al ha'Tanya. Most other Ashkenazic communities (outside of Eretz Yisrael) do not make this addition in the Shemoneh Esreh in the summertime.
Many Sidurim vowelize the word "Morid ha'*Geshem*" with a Segol (the "eh" sound) and not "Morid ha'Gashem" with a Kamatz (the "aw" or "ah" sound). This seems grammatically correct, because only at the end of a sentence (or at the semi-sentence break marked by an Esnachta) is the Segol under the Gimel replaced by a Kamatz. The words "Morid ha'Geshem" are in the middle of a sentence in the Shemoneh Esreh, and thus the word "ha'Geshem" should retain its Segol. The fact that the word "ha'Geshem" does not mark the end or pause in a sentence is evident from the words of the TUR (OC 114). The Tur writes that the reason why we recite "Morid ha'Geshem" immediately before the words "Mechalkel Chayim" (and not at another point in the blessing) is because rain is also a form of Kalkalah (sustenance) and Parnasah (livelihood). Hence, the mention of rain is the beginning of the passage which mentions Kalkalah, and it is not the end of the previous passage ("Atah Gibor...").
However, there is an apparent inconsistency in the Sidurim. In most Sidurim which include the text "Morid ha'Tal" (for the summertime), the word "Tal" is spelled with a Kamatz (pronounced "ha'Tawl" in the Ashkenazic pronunciation) and not with a Patach ("ha'Tahl"). According to the rules of grammar, the word should have a Patach and not a Kamatz since it comes in the middle of a sentence and not at the end. When the word "Tal" appears in the Torah, the letter "Tes" usually is vowelized with a Patach, which changes to a Kamatz only when it is at the end of a sentence or at a pause marked by an Esnachta (see, for example, Shemos 11:9, Devarim 32:2). Since "Morid ha'Tal" is recited in place of "Morid ha'Geshem" and is in the middle of a sentence, why is the word "Tal" spelled with a Kamatz and not a Patach? If the Sidurim consider "Morid ha'Tal" (with a Kamatz") to be the end of the sentence, why do they not spell "Morid ha'Gashem" with a Kamatz as well? [CLICK WHERE IT SAYS "READ MORE" FOR THE ANSWERS]
(a) RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l (IGROS MOSHE OC 4:40) writes that the Kamatz of "Tal" is correct because this phrase is indeed at the end of the sentence (as many Sidurim place a period after "Morid ha'Tal"). Accordingly, it is proper to say "Morid ha'Gashem" with a Kamatz as well, in contrast to the spelling in many Sidurim. Such an opinion is cited by the LIKUTEI MAHARICH. This is the way the word is punctuated ("ha'Gashem") in the authoritative Redelheim Sidur.
(b) Others, however, point out that the text of "ha'Geshem" (with a Segol) appears in all early Sidurim, of all Jewish communities, as well as most current Sidurim (except for those based on the Redelheim Sidur). Moreover, as mentioned above, the logical flow of the sentence clearly indicates that "Morid ha'Geshem" is not the end of the sentence (regardless of whether or not the printer placed a period there). According to SEFER MECHALKEL CHAYIM, Rav Moshe Feinstein himself retracted his opinion. Why, then, do most Sidurim spell "ha'Tal" with a Kamatz and not a Patach?
The author of SEFER SHA'AR HA'KOLEL, printed in the back of the SHULCHAN ARUCH HA'RAV (who explains the Nusach of the Sidur of the Ba'al ha'Tanya) suggests that the word "Tal" is spelled with a Kamatz because it is not part of the regular text of the Shemoneh Esreh as established by the Anshei Keneses ha'Gedolah (as indicated by the fact that many Ashkenazic communities do not say it, and the Gemara says that it is not obligatory). Rather, it was added to the text of the Shemoneh Esreh by the Mekubalim. As such, it is a separate insertion that stands by itself and is not part of the phrase that follows, and therefore it has a Kamatz and not a Patach.
(c) RAV YAKOV KAMINETZKY zt'l (IYUNIM B'MIKRA, p. 26) suggests that "Morid ha'Geshem" is part of the sentence which continues with "Mechalkel Chayim," as the TUR says, because rain brings Kalkalah and Parnasah. In contrast, the words "Morid ha'Tal" do not refer to the Parnasah-providing elements of dew. Rather, they refer to the Tal of Techiyas ha'Mesim, the Tal which will resurrect the dead. It is mentioned at this point because it follows the phrase "*Mechayeh Mesim* Atah Rav l'Hoshi'a." As such, it is actually a continuation of the previous sentence and it does not flow into the following sentence. Therefore, it is appropriate to pause after "Morid ha'Tal" before the phrase "Mechalkel Chayim," which discusses a different topic. Accordingly, "Morid ha'Tal" is the end of the previous sentence which discusses Techiyas ha'Mesim, while "Morid ha'Geshem" flows into the following sentence which discusses Parnasah! (Even though the verse in Tehilim 68:10 refers to "*Geshem* Techiyah" (see Targum there), that is not the Geshem to which we refer in the Shemoneh Esreh.)
(d) Grammarians point out that this may not be an inconsistency at all. Although the Segol of "Geshem" becomes a Kamatz only when the word completes a sentence or a clause (either at the end of a verse or at an Esnachta pause), the Patach of "Tal" is different. It becomes a Kamatz even at a "semi-stop," such as when the word "Tal" has the cantillation "Zakef-Katan" (see, for example, Shemos 16:13 and Devarim 33:13). (It is easier to turn a Patach into a Kamatz than a Segol into a Kamatz.) Since a slight pause (a "comma") follows the words "Morid ha'Tal" in the blessing, even though it is not a full stop the word "Tal" acquires a Kamatz.
(It is also possible that the pronunciation of the word in rabbinical texts may differ slightly from the Biblical pronunciation. Perhaps in the times of the Mishnah, the word "Tal" was commonly pronounced with a Kamatz, like "Par" or "Har," unless it was associated with the word that followed it, such as "Tal ha'Shamayim" or "Tal Techiyah.")
Rabbi Yehuda ben Beseira maintains that we begin mentioning rain on the second day of Sukkos. The Gemora cites a Scriptural allusion indicating that the water-libation services began on the second day of Sukkos and therefore that is the time designated to begin mentioning morid hageshem.
Rabbi Akiva rules that we begin mentioning morid hageshem on the sixth day of Sukkos. The Gemora cites a Scriptural verse allusion indicating that the water-libation services began on the sixth day of Sukkos and therefore that is the time designated to begin mentioning morid hageshem.
The Gemora cites a Mishna in Sukkah (42b) that the water-libations were performed on all seven days of Sukkos and the Gemora inquires as to who the author of this Mishna could be. The Gemora assumes that all the Tannaim maintain that the commencement date of the water-libation services coincide with the beginning of mentioning morid hageshem. Rabbi Yehoshua rules that we begin mentioning morid hageshem on Shmini Atzeres and it would therefore emerge that the water-libations are performed for only one day and not seven. Rabbi Akiva maintains that we begin mentioning morid hageshem on the sixth day of Sukkos and it would therefore emerge that the water-libations are performed for only two days and not seven. Rabbi Yehuda ben Beseira holds that we begin mentioning rain on the second day of Sukkos and it would therefore emerge that the water-libations are performed for only six days and not seven. The Gemora concludes that the Mishna can be following Rabbi Yehoshua’s viewpoint that the mentioning of rain begins on Shmini Atzeres but the water-libations is for seven days. We do not mention rain until Shmini Atzeres since rain during Sukkos is nothing more than a curse and the water-libations are for seven days was learned from Moshe at Sinai. (2b -3a)
DEW AND WIND
The Gemora cites a braisa which rules that it is not compulsory to mention dew and winds in Shemoneh Esrei since the world cannot exist without them. If one desires to mention them, he may do so. The Gemora cites Scriptural verses that dew and wind are never withheld.
Based on this braisa, Rav Chanina rules that if someone, during the summer season, states “He makes the wind blow,” (which is supposed to be recited only in the winter) does not have to repeat the Shemoneh Esrei since the wind is never withheld anyway. If, during the summer season, he says “He makes the rain fall,” will have to repeat Shemoneh Esrei since the rain can at times be withheld. If, during the winter season, one does not recite “He makes the wind blow,” is not required to repeat the Shemoneh Esrei since the wind is not withheld anyway but if he does not recite “He makes the rain fall,” he must repeat Shemoneh Esrei.
The Gemora cites a braisa which is contradictory to the first braisa regarding clouds and winds. The Gemora resolves the contradiction by stating that there are two kinds of clouds and two types of winds. The clouds which come prior to the rain are never withheld and therefore there is no need to mention them but the clouds that come after the rain can be withheld at times. Normal winds are never withheld and therefore we are not obligated to mention winds in our tefillah but an unusual wind can be withheld. (3b)
CLOUDS, WIND AND SUNLIGHT AFTER THE RAIN
The Amoraim explain a braisa that clouds and winds that come after the rain are beneficial. The Gemora concludes that we are referring to a gentle rain and the wind which came afterwards did not lift the dust and therefore it is beneficial, however a fierce wind that comes after a strong rain will pick up the dust and will be disadvantageous.
Rav Yehuda states that wind, clouds and sun after a rain is extremely beneficial, however the glow after sunset and the sunlight between the clouds is not favorable. (3b)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
It is written in the name of the Gaon that the three keys have the roshei teivos 'chosem.' The first letter of each of the three words spells out 'chosem.'
חיה - Childbirth
תחייה - Resurrection of the Dead
מטר - Rain
It is written in Parshas Tzezaveh ופתחת עליו פתוחי חותם קדש לה and you shall engrave upon it like the engraving of a seal: Holy to Hashem.
The Gaon explains that we can interpret the word ופתחת to mean a key as the word for key in לשון הקדש is מפתח. The keys of the 'chosem' is kodesh since the keys for childbirth, Resurrection and rain are not given over to any agents but rather limited to Hashem Himself.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
The commentators ask from the tefillah which we recite on Shmini Atzeres when we say that Af-Bri is the name of the Heavenly angel who is appointed over the rain clouds.
The Gemora in the third perek (25b) cites Rabbah who said that he saw an image of the angel Ridya who is the angel placed in charge of rain (Rashi).
Tosfos in Niddah (16b) answers that the angel Af-Bri can only accomplish his mission with the permission of Hashem.
One can infer from Tosfos that the other emissaries of Hashem do not require His permission before performing their task. Mishna L’melech in his sefer Perashas Derochim (21) asks on Tosfos that is it possible to say that Yurkani, the angel appointed on hail and Gavriel, the angel placed in charge of fire can perform their mission without permission being granted from Hashem. There is nothing in this world that can function without Hashem’s authorization.
The Peri Megadim in Mishbitzos Zahav (114:9) explains that all matters are given over to an intermediary and Hashem’s supervision is constantly upon them. The exception is regarding rain where Hashem did not give over this responsibility to a messenger at all. When Hashem decides to give rain, He instructs Af-Bri to carry out His will.
Sfas Emes writes that Hashem Himself opens and closes the storerhouse of rain and after they are opened, permission is granted to Af-Bri to cause the rain.
The Perashas Derachim answers based on a braisa cited later in the perek (10a). The braisa states that Eretz Yisroel is watered personally by Hashem but the remainder of the world is water by Hashem’s messenger. Our Gemora is referring to the rain in Eretz Yisroel which is administered solely by Hashem. The angel Ridya and Af-Bri are appointed on the rainfall of all the rest of the world.
The Chidah in his sefer Pesach Einayim answers that while Hashem gives the rain, the angels distribute it to different places. The Tosfos HaRosh in Niddah seems to say similar to this.
The Maharsha answers based on Rashi that our Gemora means that the three keys were never given together to one messenger but they could have been given one at a time. This would answer a question that Tosfos asks. Tosfos cites a Gemora in Sanhedrin (113a) where the Gemora records an incident that Eliyahu was given over the keys for rain and for reviving the dead. According to Rashi, this is not difficult since our Gemora means that all three keys were not given over to the same messenger at the same time.
The Raavad answers Tosfos’ question by stating that Eliyahu was not handed the keys to bring forth rain, rather he was given the key to prevent the rain from coming.
The Mishna begins by asking when is the time in the year that we begin to mention the Powers of Rain. [This is referring to the “morid hageshem” that we recite in the second brocha of Shemoneh Esrei.] Rabbi Eliezer maintains that we begin on the first day of Sukkos and Rabbi Yehoshua holds that we begin on the last day of Sukkos. Rabbi Yehoshua asked Rabbi Eliezer that it is not proper to mention rain during Sukkos when rain is regarded as a curse (since there is no obligation to sit in a sukkah during the rain). Rabbi Eliezer responded that this is why rain is only mentioned on Sukkos but we do not ask for rain.
Rabbi Yehuda rules that we begin mentioning the Powers of Rain on Shmini Atzeres (the last day of Sukkos). The chazzan for Shacharis does not mention it but the chazzan for Mussaf does. We cease to mention the Powers of Rain on the first day of Pesach. The chazzan for Shacharis does mention it but the chazzan for Mussaf does not. (2a)
POWER OF RAIN
The Gemora elaborates on why this addition that we mention is referred to as the Powers of Rain. The Gemora cites verses that compare the Creation of the World and rain. Just like the Creation indicates Hashem’s power, so too power is associated with rain. [The Gemora states that rain descends by Hashem’s power. The Perisha (114) writes that the second brocha of Shemoneh Esrei begins with the word ‘gibor,’ strength, so too it was instituted to mention rain in this brocha with a language of strength and power.] (2a)
Rabbi Yochanan states that there are three keys that Hashem does not delegate to the hands of an agent. They are the key to rain, the key for childbirth and the key for reviving the dead. The Gemora cites Scriptural sources which indicate that these three matters are not entrusted to a messenger but rather are administered by Hashem Himself. In Eretz Yisroel they added that Hashem does not give over the key for sustenance either. Rabbi Yochanan did not incorporate this in his listing because it is included in the key for rain since rain provides basic sustenance. (2a – 2b)
WHEN TO BEGIN –
BY NIGHT OR BY DAY?
Rabbi Eliezer maintains that we begin mentioning rain on the first day of Sukkos. The Gemora inquires if we begin on the first night of Sukkos or during the daytime on the first day. This depends on where Rabbi Eliezer learned that the time to begin mentioning rain is the first day of Sukkos. If he derived it from the mitzva of lulav (which begins on the first day of Sukkos), we can say that just like the mitzva of lulav begins by day, so too the mentioning of rain begins by day. Perhaps he learns from the water-libation service (which begins on the first day of Sukkos), and just like that can be performed even at night, so too the mentioning of rain begins at night. Rav Avahu cites a braisa which explicitly states that Rabbi Eliezer derived the designated time for mentioning rain from the mitzva of lulav. This would indicate that we begin mentioning rain during the daytime and not at night.(2b)
WHICH DAY SHOULD WE BEGIN?
The Gemora cites a braisa which discusses several different opinions regarding the correct date to begin mentioning rain. Rabbi Eliezer states that we begin on the first day of Sukkos and this is derived from the mitzva of taking the lulav. Rabbi Yehoshua maintains that we begin mentioning rain on Shmini Atzeres, the day after we put down the lulav. Rabbi Eliezer explained his opinion by saying that just like the lulav and the other species are taken in order to beseech from Hashem to issue a positive judgment regarding water and just like these four species cannot grow without water, so too the entire world cannot survive without water. This would indicate that we should begin to mention rain on the first day of Sukkos corresponding to the day in which we begin to take the lulav.
Rabbi Yehoshua asked Rabbi Eliezer that it is not proper to mention rain during Sukkos when rain is regarded as a curse (since there is no obligation to sit in a sukkah during the rain). Rabbi Eliezer responded that this is why rain is only mentioned on Sukkos but we do not ask for rain. Rabbi Eliezer proves that it is fitting to mention rain even prior to its appropriate season from the fact that we constantly mention the Resurrection of the Dead even though it will only happen in its proper time. Rabbi Yehoshua countered that the Resurrection of the Dead can be mentioned all year since every day can potentially be its suitable time.
Rabbi Yehuda ben Beseira maintains that we begin mentioning rain on the second day of Sukkos. Rabbi Akiva rules that we begin on the sixth day of Sukkos. Rabbi Yehuda said in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua that we begin mentioning the Powers of Rain on Shmini Atzeres (the last day of Sukkos). (2b)
Harav Moshe Feinstein in Igros Moshe (O”C 2:29) writes that this is true even according to the Sages who disagree with Rabban Gamliel. The reason the chazzan davens quietly beforehand is in order to prepare him for his recitation out loud.
Rav Moshe rules that the chazzan, in his quiet Shemoneh Esrei, is required to daven in the same nusach as he will be using when he davens out loud. The reason he is davening the quiet Shemoneh Esrei is to prepare him for the recitation out loud and it can only be regarded as preparing if he is using the same nusach. Rav Moshe cites support for his opinion from the Magen Avraham (O”C 124:3) who writes that the reason the chazzan is davening the quiet Shemoneh Esrei is to prepare him for the recitation out loud.
Rav Elyashiv Shlita disagrees and maintains that the chazzan can recite the quiet Shemoneh Esrei according to his usual nusach of tefillah. Rav Elyashiv maintains that the Magen Avraham only means that one should prepare himself for anything that will prevent him from discharging his obligation of Tefillah. The nusach of Tefillah, however, will not preclude him from fulfilling his obligation of Tefillah. Thus, he is permitted to daven according to his usual nusach of Tefillah.
The editor of Rav Elyashiv’s sefer relates an incident that took place with the Cahfetz Chaim in Radin. A chazzan asked of him if he was required to daven in his quiet Shemoneh Esrei with the same nusach as he will be using in the repetition. The Chafetz Chaim responded that logically he is correct, however the ruling is that he can daven in his usual nusach.
Dayan Weiss (6:31) was asked this question and he ruled that the chazzan is not required to daven with the same nusach that he will be using during the Repetition of Shemoneh Esrei. His reason is based on Shulchan Aruch (101) that we now use a siddur and therefore there is not such a concern that he will make a mistake when he repeats the Shemoneh Esrei.
Rav Elyashiv writes that one can argue with the reasoning of the Magen Avraham, as perhaps it is only Rabban Gamliel who maintains that the congregation davens prior to the chazzan davening out loud because we want to give the chazzan time to prepare his tefillah. This rationale, however, will not apply according to the Sages, because the reason the chazzan davens quietly is for the same reason that the congregation davens. Although the congregation has already fulfilled the mitzvah of tefillah when they daven their tefillah, the Chachamim instituted that the congregants should listen to the tefillah of the chazzan. The chazzan is equivalent with the rest of the congregation and he must daven his own Shemoneh Esrei first and then recite the tefillah out loud. [Rav Elyashiv also writes that according to Kabbalah, every worshipper must daven twice, once quietly and then a second time with the chazzan.]
Monday, January 08, 2007
The Mishna had stated that if one davened Mussaf without hearing the shofar and later a shofar became available to him, he should blow the shofar then. It can be implied from the Mishna that if he would have had the shofar at the time that he was davening Mussaf, he should blow then according to the order of the brochos even though he is davening by himself.
The Gemora records a connected incident. Rav Pappa was davening by himself and he told his attendant that when he signals to him that he finished one of the brochos, he should blow the shofar for him. Rava said to Rav Pappa that shofar is blown together with the brochos only by the congregation and not when an individual is davening.
The Gemora cites a braisa which supports Rava’s viewpoint. The braisa states explicitly that the shofar is blown according to the brochos when the congregation is davening and not by the tefillah of an individual.
The braisa continues that one who did not blow shofar may hear it from someone else but one who did not recite the brochos of Mussaf may not fulfill his obligation by hearing it from someone else.
The final halacha in the braisa is that the Biblical mitzva of hearing shofar takes precedence over the Rabbinical mitzva of davening Mussaf. If there is one city that he can certainly hear tefillas Mussaf and another city where he might hear the shofar (if he arrives on time), he should go to the city where the shofar will be blown even though he might arrive too late and thereby miss the blowing of the shofar. (34b)
DISPUTE REGARDING THE CHAZAN’S TEFILLAH
The Mishna had stated that each individual must recite the tefillah himself and cannot rely on the tefillah of the leader to fulfill his obligation. Rabban Gamliel disagreed and maintains that the leader can discharge the congregation’s obligation for them.
Rabban Gamliel is cited in a braisa explaining as to why the congregation davens before the leader davens out loud. He says that it is to give the leader time to prepare his tefillah. Rabban Gamliel asked the Sages why the leader davens out loud if the congregation does not fulfill their obligation by listening to him. They responded that one who doesn’t know how to daven will fulfill his obligation by listening to him. Rabban Gamliel replied that just like the leader can discharge the obligation of someone who cannot daven, so too he can discharge the obligation of someone who has the ability to daven himself and chooses not to.
There is a discussion in the Gemora if the Sages ultimately agreed with Rabban Gamliel that the leader can discharge the congregation’s obligation for tefillah even though they are able to daven themselves.
Rabbi Meir conceded to the opinion of Rabban Gamliel in regards to the tefillah of Rosh Hashanah and Yovel. The Gemora explains that since the tefillah contains many lengthy brochos and people can become confused, the leader can discharge the congregation’s obligation for this tefillah. (34b – 35a)
PREPARING YOUR TEFILLAH
Rabbi Elozar states that one should prepare his tefillah in advance and only then should he begin to daven. Rabbi Abba qualified this ruling to be referring to the tefillah of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and other festivals; however this would not be necessary for the tefillos of the entire year, which are commonly recited.
Rav Yehuda would finish reviewing his learning every thirty days and only then would he have time to daven. He would prepare his tefillah beforehand since he only davened once every thirty days. (35a)
DISTINCTION BETWEEN PEOPLE IN THE FIELDS AND IN TOWN
It was said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Chasida that Rabban Gamliel exempted only the people working in the fields from davening themselves and they can rely on the leader’s tefillah because they are preoccupied with their work; however people who are in the city must daven themselves. This is analogous to the halacha regarding the people who stand behind the kohanim during the Priestly Blessing. The people in the shul are not included in the kohanim’s brocha since they have the opportunity to stand before the kohanim. The people in the fields are included in their brocha since they are preoccupied with their work and are unable to come. (35a)
Pnei Yehoshua states that there would be a difference in the tekios based on where it is learned out from. Rav Avahu instituted that one should blow a tekiah, three shevarim, teruah and tekiah. This cycle is done three times. The Gemora explains that Rav Avahu was uncertain that perhaps a teruah should be a moaning and a sobbing sound and therefore he blew a teruah and a shevarim together. The Gemora asked that perhaps the teruah should precede the shevarim. The answer given is that normally, when a tragedy occurs and a person is driven to cry, he will first moan and then he will sob.
The Bach asks on Rav Avahu that he is seemingly against the Mishna which explicitly stated that a teruah is either a sob or a moan but not both.
Pnei Yehoshua explains that actually the entire idea of a teruah on Rosh Hashanah referring to a cry needs further explanation. There is no calamity transpiring on Rosh Hashanah for there to be a reason to sob and to moan. This is why the Tannaim did not entertain the possibility that a teruah should be sobbing and moaning together.
Rav Avahu, however, was concerned for the braisa that derived the blowing on Rosh Hashanah from the sounding of the trumpets in the desert. They blew in the desert when a calamity was developing or during a war. This is why Rav Avahu stated that a teruah can be referring to a sob and then a moan.
Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld cites a Chasam Sofer that in actuality, there are two reasons to sound the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. Besides the obligation to blow on account of the mitzva, there is a requirement to blow because the enemy is besieging us. The Evil Inclination that is within us is the greatest adversary one can have. This is why the shofar was blown in the Beis Hamikdosh even on Shabbos. The Sages negated the obligation to blow on Shabbos but that was only the obligation due to the mitzva. It is still compulsory to blow on account of the battle is within us.
The Gemora cites Scriptural proof that there is an obligation to blow the sets of tekiah, teruah, tekiah three times.
The Gemora cites another source demonstrating that a teruah must have a tekiah preceding it and a tekiah should follow the teruah.
A braisa is cited which concludes that there are in total three teruos and six tekios. One opinion in the braisa maintains that two teruah sounds are Biblically required and the third one is only Rabbinically mandated. Rebbe Shmuel bar Nachmani states in the name of Rabbi Yonason that only one of the teruah sounds are Biblically required and the other two are Rabbinic.
The Gemora learns out other halachos from these passages. We learn out that the shofar can be blown by day and not by night. Another phrase is expounded to teach Rav Masna’s halacha that one cannot fulfill his obligation by using an inverted shofar (widening the narrow end and narrowing the wide end). (34a)
The Gemora relates that Rav Avahu instituted that one should blow a tekiah, three shevarim, teruah and tekiah. This cycle is done three times. The Gemora inquires as to what Rav Avahu holds regarding a teruah. If a teruah is the sobbing sounds, then one should blow a tekiah, teruah, tekiah. If a teruah is a moaning sound, then he should blow a tekiah, shevarim, tekiah. For what reason did Rav Avahu combine the two? The Gemora answers that he was uncertain as to what a teruah was referring to and therefore he did both ways. The Gemora questions this reasoning since if a teruah is in fact a sobbing sound, then the shevarim in between should be regarded as an interruption between the tekiah and the teruah. The Gemora answers that afterwards he would blow tekiah, teruah, tekiah without the shevarim. The Gemora asks that this is still not sufficient for perhaps a teruah should be a moaning sound and then there would be an interruption between between the shevarim and the tekiah. The Gemora answers that afterwards he would blow tekiah, shevarim, tekiah. The Gemora persists that if so, what was accomplished by blowing the shevarim and the teruah together (if anyway he would blow tekiah, teruah, tekiah and tekiah, shevarim, tekiah). The Gemora answers that Rav Avahu was uncertain that perhaps a teruah should be a moaning and a sobbing sound and therefore he blew a teruah and a shevarim together. (34a)
SOUNDS OF THE SHOFAR
Rabbi Yochanan rules that if one hears nine sounds of the shofar at nine different hours of the day, he has fulfilled his obligation. The Gemora cites proof to Rabbi Yochanan from a braisa.
The Gemora cites Rabbi Yochanan stating in the name of his Rebbe Rabbi Shimon that one who is reciting hallel and pauses in the middle in the amount of time it would take to complete the entire hallel, he must begin hallel again. Rabbi Yochanan himself does not subscribe to this viewpoint and that is why he can hear nine shofar sounds at nine different hours and fulfill his obligation even though he paused in between the amount of time it would take to blow those sounds.
This issue would apply by krias shema as well. If one would be reciting shema and he would pass by an unclean place and pause during that time; if the interruption was in the amount of time it takes to recite the entire krias shema, he would have to repeat the shema according to Rabbi Yochanan’s Rebbe. (34a – 34b)
BROCHOS AND TEKIOS
During a time of a drought, the Chachamim would establish special fast days where extra brochos were recited in the Shemoneh Esrei and they were accompanied by trumpet sounds. We have learned in a braisa that the brochos and the tekios are not critical to each other. One can fulfill the obligation of the brochos without hearing any trumpets and vice versa as well. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Yovel, this is not the case. Rabbah learned that Hashem had told us to recite before Him Kingship, Remembrance and Shofaros on Rosh Hashanah and Yovel in order that we should accept His dominion upon us and in order that He will remember us favorably we should recite these passages together with the shofar. (34b)
Sunday, January 07, 2007
One of the most important mitzvos of Rosh Hashanah(1) is the Biblical command to blow the shofar. Although the significance of this mitzvah has been expounded at length - Rav Saadiah Gaon enumerates ten different reasons for blowing shofar(2) - still many people are unfamiliar with the basic procedures involved: how many blasts are sounded, how long or short must they be, etc. While the tokea and the makri (the individual who instructs the tokea which blast to sound) must be thoroughly versed in these intricate laws(3) - since it is they who determine if a particular blast was invalid and must be repeated - still it is important for the entire congregation to have some degree of familiarity with the general laws governing this mitzvah.
THE BASIC MITZVAH
The Biblical command is to blow three sets of blasts on Rosh Hashanah. A set of blasts means one teruah sound preceded and followed by a tekiah sound. Thus, the sum total of blasts which one is required to hear on Rosh Hashanah is nine - six tekiah sounds and three teruah sounds.
The tekiah sound was always well defined and agreed upon by all authorities - a long, straight (without a break or pause) blast. The teruah sound, however, was not well defined and the Rabbis were unsure of how, exactly, it was supposed to sound(4). The Talmud(5) describes three possibilities:
Three short, straight blasts - what we commonly refer to as shevarim; Nine(6) very short, staccato blasts - what we commonly refer to as teruah; A combination of both of the above sounds - a shevarim- teruah compound.
To satisfy all of the above opinions, the Rabbis established that the three sets of tekios be blown in three different ways, alternating the teruah sound in each set. Thus we blow tekiah shevarim-teruah tekiah (TaSHRaT) three times; tekiah shevarim tekiah (TaRaT) three times; tekiah teruah tekiah (TaSHaT) three times. All together that adds up to thirty different blasts - eighteen tekios, three shevarim-teruahs, three shevarim and three teruahs. This is the minimum number of blasts that every adult male(7) is required to hear on Rosh Hashanah. These are called tekios d'myushav, since the congregation is permitted to sit while they are being blown. In practice, however, it is universally accepted to stand during these tekios(8).
[A person who is in dire circumstances (a patient in the hospital, for example) and is unable to hear (or blow) thirty blasts, should try to hear (or blow) 10 sounds, one TaSHRaT, one TaRaT and one TaSHaT(9). No blessing, however, is recited over these blasts.]
In addition to these Biblically required blasts, we blow sixty more. Thirty more are blown during Musaf, ten each after the malchiyos, zichronos and shofaros divisions of Shemoneh Esrei. Every adult male is Rabbinically obligated to blow or hear these blasts in their designated places in the Musaf service. They are called tekios d'meumad, since one is required to stand while they are being blown(10).
In addition, it is customary to blow forty more blasts for a sum total of one hundred blasts. While this custom is based on several early sources(11) and has been almost universally adopted, there are various practices regarding when, exactly, they are blown. Generally, these blasts are blown towards the end of and after the Musaf service, and one must refrain from speaking(12) until after all one hundred sounds have been blown.
HOW LONG SHOULD EACH BLAST BE?
The length of a tekiah, both before and after the teruah, must be at least as long as the teruah which it accompanies(13). Thus, since it takes about 2-3 seconds to blow a shevarim or a teruah, the tekiah before and after must be at least 2-3 seconds long. Since it takes longer than that to blow the combination shevarim-teruah sound, the tekiah which precedes and follows these sounds must be longer as well. Most congregations allot about 4-5 seconds for each of these tekios. The makri is responsible to keep time.
[It is important to remember that each tekiah must be heard in its entirety no matter how long it takes. If, for example, a tekiah is blown for 7 seconds, which is much longer than required, the entire 7 seconds' worth must be heard by the congregation. Care must be taken not to begin reciting the yehi ratzon until after the blast is concluded(14).]
A teruah is at least nine short blasts (beeps), although in practice, many more beeps are sounded when the teruah is blown. No breath may taken between the short beeps; they must be blown consecutively.
Each shever should be about three teruah-beeps long. B'dieved the shever is valid even if it is only two beeps long, provided that all three shevarim are of that length(15). No breath may be taken between each shever; they must be blown consecutively(16).
SHEVARIM TERUAH - HOW IS IT BLOWN?
There are two basic views of how to blow the shevarim-terurah combination. Some opinions hold that no breath may be taken between them and even b'dieved, a breath between them invalidates the blast. Others hold that a breath may be taken as long as it takes no longer than the split second that it takes to draw a breath. The custom in most congregations is to do it both ways; the tekios before Musaf are blown with no breath being taken between the shevarim-teruah, while the tekios during and after Musaf are blown with a break for drawing a breath between the shevarim-teruah(17).
MISTAKES WHILE BLOWING
There are basically two types of mistakes that the tokea can make while blowing shofar. The most common is that the tokea tries but fails to produce the proper sound. The general rule is that the tokea ignores the failed try, takes a breath, and tries again(18).
The other type of mistake is that the tokea blows the blast properly, but loses track and blows the wrong blast, e.g., instead of shevarim he thinks that a tekiah is in order, or instead of teruah he thinks that a shevarim is due and he blows the shevarim. In that case, it is not sufficient to merely ignore the wrong blast; rather the tokea must repeat the tekiah which precedes the shevarim(19).
When a tekiah needs to be repeated, it is proper that the makri notify the congregation of that (by banging on the bimah, etc.), so that the listeners do not lose track of which blasts are being blown.
As there are different views and/or stringencies pertaining to various aspects of tekias shofar, one who wishes to be extremely particular in this mitzvah may blow (or hear) additional blasts after the davening is over in order to satisfy all opinions. These include the following hiddurim: There are several ways of blowing the shevarim sound; while some blow short, straight blasts, others make a slight undulation (tu-u-tu). Some opinions maintain that l'chatchillah, each shever should be no longer than the length of two beeps(20).
Some opinions hold that when the shevarim-teruha sound is blown, there may not be any break at all between them (even if no breath is taken); the shever must lead directly into the teruah(21). Some authorities insist that the tekiah sound be straight and clear from beginning to the end, with no fluctuation of pitch throughout the entire blast(22). (Courtesy of Rabbi Doniel Neustadt)
1. This year, the shofar is blown only on the second day of Rosh Hashanah as the first day is Shabbos.
2. The most fundamental reason to perform this mitzvah, however, is simply that Hashem commanded us to do so.
3. Mateh Efrayim 585:2.
4. While the basic definition of a teruah is a "crying" sound, it was unclear if that resembled short "wailing" sounds or longer "groaning" sounds.
5. Rosh Hashanah 33b.
6. There are Rishonim who hold that a teruah is three short beeps. B'dieved, we may rely on that view to fulfill our obligation (Mishnah Berurah 590:12).
7. The obligation of women regarding tekias shofar was discussed in The Weekly Halachah Discussion, pg. 532-534.
8. Mishnah Berurah 585:2. A weak or elderly person may lean on a shtender or a table during these sets of tekios (Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 585:2).
9. Based on Mishnah Berurah 586:22 and 620:7. See also Mateh Efrayim 586:7 and Ktzeh ha-Mateh 590:1. See, however, Mateh Efrayim 593:3 who seems to rule in this case that three TaSHRaTs should be blown.
10. Mishnah Berurah 592:2. B'dieved, one fulfills his obligation if he sat during these tekios; ibid.
11. See Mishnah Berurah 592:4.
12. Asher Yatzar, though, may be recited; Minchas Yitzchak 3:44; 4:47.
13. This is based on the minimum length of time required for the teruah, not on the actual time it took to blow a particular teruah.
14. Mishnah Berurah 587:16; haTekios k'Halachah u'Behidur 1 quoting several sources.
15. Shulchan Aruch Harav 590:7.
16. O.C. 590:4.
17. Mishnah Berurah 590:20 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 18. The makri, too, should take a breath between the announcement of shevarim-teruah, so that the tokea will follow his lead (Elef ha-Magen 22).
18. Based on Mishnah Berurah 290:34, Aruch ha-Shulchan 290:20 and Da'as Torah 590:8.
19. Another example is when the tokea mistakenly blows [or begins to blow] two sets of shevarim or teruos in a row. The original tekiah must be repeated.
20. See O.C. 590:3.
21. Avnei Nezer 443; Chazon Ish O.C. 136:1. This is difficult to perform properly.
22. Harav Y.L. Diskin, based on the view of the Ramban and Ritva, see Moadim u'Zmanim 1:5. Chazon Ish, however, was not particular about this; Orchos Rabbeinu 2:183.
QUESTIONS: The Gemara cites an opinion that women may not blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah that coincides with Shabbos, even though children are permitted to blow the Shofar. The Gemara says that this is the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah who says in a Beraisa that "Ein Benos Yisrael Somchos" -- women may not perform Semichah on a Korban. RASHI (DH Ha Nashim) explains that the reason women are not permitted to blow the Shofar on Shabbos is because the act constitutes a transgression of Bal Tosif, adding to the Mitzvos, since women are exempt from the Mitzvah of Shofar.
Rashi's explanation is difficult to understand.
(a) Why does the performance of a Mitzvah which one is not obligated to perform constitute Bal Tosif? Bal Tosif applies only when one is obligated to perform a Mitzvah and he adds some detail to its performance which the Torah does not mandate. If the Mitzvah of Shofar does not apply to women at all, why does their act of blowing the Shofar constitute Bal Tosif? (MAHARSHA)
(b) If Bal Tosif is the reason why women may not blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah that coincides with Shabbos, then women should be prohibited from blowing the Shofar on any day on which Rosh Hashanah occurs, even on a weekday. The Gemara, however, refers specifically to blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah that coincides with Shabbos. If women are prohibited from blowing the Shofar on Shabbos but not on weekdays, then the reason for the prohibition must not be because of Bal Tosif. Rather, the reason must be related to the prohibition against blowing the Shofar on Shabbos when it is not blown for the Mitzvah of Shofar (see 29b). Similarly, it is prohibited for women to perform Semichah on a Korban because -- with no obligation to perform Semichah -- their act of leaning on a sanctified animal constitutes Avodah b'Kodshim, an unauthorized use of a sanctified animal. The reason is not because of Bal Tosif. (TOSFOS, Eruvin 96a; TUREI EVEN)
(a) It is clear from the words of RASHI in Eruvin (96a) that he does not mean literally that a woman who performs a Mitzvah from which she is exempt transgresses the prohibition of Bal Tosif. Rashi there says that "it appears like Bal Tosif." That is, the Rabanan decreed that a woman may not perform an act of a Mitzvah from which she is exempt because it appears as though she is adding a Mitzvah to the Torah. Rashi does not mean that one who performs a Mitzvah from which he is exempt transgresses the prohibition of Bal Tosif. (See Insights to Eruvin 96:1.)
(b) Perhaps Rashi infers from the Gemara in Eruvin that the reason why women may not blow the Shofar on Shabbos is not due to the prohibition against blowing a Shofar on Shabbos. The Gemara in Eruvin (96a) says that according to the opinion that women may not blow the Shofar on Shabbos and may not perform Semichah, women also may not perform the Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel (visiting the Beis ha'Mikdash during the festival). Why may a woman not perform the Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel? TOSFOS in Eruvin explains that the Gemara means that a woman may not perform Aliyah l'Regel in order to offer a Korban Re'iyah; since she is exempt from the obligation to offer a Korban Re'iyah, the animal she would bring into the Azarah would be considered an animal of Chulin (non-sanctified), and one may not bring such an animal into the Azarah.
Rashi may understand that the Gemara there means simply that a woman may not perform a Mitzvah which she is not obligated to do, such as Aliyah l'Regel, because of the Rabanan's decree which prohibits doing an act which has the appearance of Bal Tosif.
When the Gemara here says that women may not do Semichah, it does not limit this prohibition to the opinion which maintains that Semichah must be done with all of one's strength ("b'Kol Kocho"; see Chagigah 16b). Rashi may understand that even according to the opinion that Semichah does not need to be done with all of one's strength, women may not do Semichah. Consequently, the reason they are prohibited from doing Semichah cannot be because of Avodah b'Kodshim, since Semichah done without all of one's strength does not constitute a use of the animal (as one does not actually use the animal to support himself). It must be that the prohibition is due to another reason -- a decree of the Rabanan against performing an act that looks like Bal Tosif. (M. Kornfeld) (Courtesy of Kollel Iyun Hadaf)
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)
SOUNDS OF THE SHOFAR
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)