web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

How Many Must Hear The Torah Reading?

This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

In this week’s parshah the Torah informs us that after Bnei Yisrael miraculously crossed the yam suf, they traveled in the desert without water for three days. The Gemara in Baba Kama 82a expounds on this pasuk and explains that the word “water” is a reference to Torah. So the pasuk is actually telling us that Bnei Yisrael went three days without Torah – and they wilted. The Gemara says that it was at this point that Moshe Rabbeinu instituted the practice to read from the Torah on every Shabbos, Monday and Thursday so that we will not go three days without Torah. Later, Ezra HaSofer instituted the practice that the reading should consist of no less than ten pasukim and divided into three aliyos.

In order to read from the Torah a minimum of ten men over the age of thirteen must be present. There is a machlokes whether all of the men must still have an obligation to hear the Torah reading, or if someone who has already heard the reading can be included in the minyan of the ten men. The Be’er Halacha (143:1) says that the Chayei Adam was unsure about this halacha. The Be’er Halacha also says that a certain adam gadol showed him that the Ran, in Megillah 3a in the dapai haRiff, says explicitly that it is sufficient if only a majority of the men have not yet heard the Torah reading.

The Birchas Shmuel (Yevamos, siman 21) says that his rebbe, Reb Chaim Soloveitchik, explained the two sides of this quandary as follows: is the obligation that there must be ten adult men present a prerequisite of the obligation and whenever the situation lacks ten adult men there is no obligation to read from the Torah, or is each individual obligated to read the Torah regardless of whether there are ten men present? One will only be able to read if ten adult men are present; however, perhaps this is merely a condition as to how one must read the Torah – not as to the nature of the obligation.

If the halacha that ten adult men must be present is part of the obligation, and without ten men there is no obligation to read from the Torah, we cannot include one who has already fulfilled his obligation. On the other hand, if the obligation rests on the individual and the halacha that there must be ten men present is the only manner whereby the Torah must be read, we would then be able to include men who have already heard the Torah reading. This is so because we can apply the rule of rubo kekulo, since the obligation exists without the presence of ten men. But if the obligation only exists when there are ten adult men who have not yet heard the Torah reading, we cannot apply rubo kekulo to create an obligation.

Reb Chaim disagreed with the Be’er Halacha and held that one cannot draw a proof from the Ran in Megillah that it suffices to only have a majority of men who have not yet heard the Torah reading. The Ran there discusses the following question: why did the Mishnah in Megillah 23b, which lists different obligations that require a minyan of ten adult men, not list the reading of Megillas Esther among them? The words of the Ran’s answer are translated as follows: all of the obligations mentioned in the Mishnah are obligations on the tzibur. One cannot perform them unless there are ten men, or if a majority of them are still obligated, e.g. if they had not yet heard Kaddish or Barchu – whereas Megillas Esther only requires ten people, in order to publicize the miracle. Therefore, if even one person had not heard the Megillah nine others who had already heard it may be included in the minyan.

At face value the Ran seems to say that it suffices to have a majority of ten men who have not yet fulfilled their obligation. However, Reb Chaim said that perhaps one could read the Ran differently and thus change the implication. Reb Chaim asks why it is that the Ran said “ten men or a majority of them”; why didn’t the Ran just say a majority of ten men?

I would add another question. Why did the Ran single out Kaddish and Barchu from everything listed in the Mishnah? Reb Chaim suggests that the Ran is contrasting Megillas Esther and the other mitzvos. There is no obligation to hear Megillas Esther with a minyan; the obligation is to publicize the miracle, which must be done with ten men. All other mitzvos that are required to be performed with a minyan can be classified in two categories: those whose obligation only comes about when there are ten adult men, and other mitzvos whereby the obligation is on the individual.

When the obligation is on the individual, as we explained earlier, we can apply the rule of rubo kekulo and it is sufficient if a majority of the minyan has not yet fulfilled its obligation. When the Ran says “ten men or a majority of them,” he is referring to both categories of mitzvos that require a minyan. Some mitzvos require that all ten still be obligated in the mitzvah, while other mitzvos suffice with merely a majority. However, one cannot deduce from the Ran that reading the Torah is a mitzvah that suffices only if there is a majority of a minyan that has not fulfilled its obligation. The Ran only says that Kaddish and Barchu suffice with a majority of the ten men that have not yet fulfilled its obligation.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “How Many Must Hear The Torah Reading?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A scene from the opera "Death of Klinghoffer." Protests at Lincoln Center start Sept. 22, at 4:30.
Klinghoffer: Pretending Art Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Latest Judaism Stories
15th century Book of the Torah

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Leff-091214

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

e are in a time of serious crisis and must go beyond our present levels of chesed.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

They ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

The Rambam says that in order to honor Shabbos, one must wash his hands, face, and feet with warm water on Friday.

The talmid is not allowed to speak up due to any fear. If he remains silent, he is in violation of this prohibition.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/how-many-must-hear-the-torah-reading/2013/01/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: