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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘berachah’

Ha’azinu: Giving Praise

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

“When I proclaim the name of Hashem, give greatness to our G-d (32:3). When we hear a berachah, it is proper to exclaim “Baruch Hu u’Baruch Shemo” (“He is blessed and His name is blessed”) when Hashem’s name is pronounced. But much more is intended. The mention of that most important word (in any language) should evoke the greatest reverence and love and devotion. How much should we exert ourselves in this function? “We shall sanctify Your name in the world just as they sanctify it in the heights above” where “they continually relate the glory of G-d.” But to do this requires preparation, for it cannot be done on the spur of the moment.

This requires a store of gratitude for the countless kindnesses granted to us and for the countless kindnesses to our progenitors, and for a world filled with countless devices and provisions of kindly purpose. A store of immense admiration is also required for the infinite Wisdom of the Creator, which is the most open of all the testimonies of the world.

But the verse does not state merely “Give greatness to G-d” but “to our G-d,” thereby multiplying Israel’s obligation immensely; for He has designated us as His chief interest in all the Universe (10:14), in this world and also in the Afterlife (see Bamidbar 23:10). From this infinite store of devotion and adoration for “our G-d,” we summon the expression of His greatness whenever His Name is mentioned.

David said: “Hashem is great and is to be exceedingly praised; and there is no searching out His greatness” (Tehillim 145:3), which means that His greatness is infinite. And he added: “And Your greatness I shall relate” (ibid. 145:6). Thus we follow his model to recognize Hashem’s greatness as much as we are able and to speak of it always. It is essential to know that this is the measure of our future happiness in the Afterlife.

In Shemoneh Esrei we declare: “You are holy.… Blessed are You, O holy G-d.” The expression of thanks is suitable for health or for sustenance or other benefits, but what benefit do we gain from Hashem’s holiness that we should thank Him for being holy? The answer is that His holiness includes all of His greatness, and this greatness affords the supreme happiness of gazing at Him in the Afterlife.

Rav said (Berachos 17a), “In the World to Come, there is no eating or drinking… but the righteous sit with their crowns upon their heads and they enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah.” Thus the greater the splendor of Hashem’s greatness, so much greater is the reward of those who gaze at this splendor. Because His greatness is endless, we thank Him for the endless joy that awaits us when we shall view that greatness.

Moshe therefore speaks Hashem’s words: “Give [render, attribute] greatness to our G-d,” for thus we can gain a crown of glory (Rambam explains the “crown of glory” as the crown of True Knowledge) whereby we are enabled in the Afterlife to gain the utmost in true happiness.

We must utilize all the phenomena in order to gain more Awareness of Hashem’s greatness. When we see any of the infinitely countless wonders around us, we recognize more of the Creator’s greatness. Thus we are able to acquire the Crown of Awareness of Hashem’s greatness. “Accustom yourself to saying His blessings [i.e. praises, admiration] in this world, so that you become more capable of [praising and admiring] them in the World to Come” (Rashi, Berachos 63a).

Thus this verse “Give greatness to our G-d” is the program for a life of supreme achievement. (Fortunate Nation)

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Maftir Yonah

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

There is a machlokes between the Mechaber and the Rema concerning the berachos recited on the Yom Kippur haftarah by Minchah. The Mechaber says (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 622:2) that we take the Torah out and read the parshah of arayos and then read Maftir Yonah. He says that we recite the berachos of the haftarah before and after the haftarah. If Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos, we mention Shabbos in the berachos. The Rema argues that we do not recite the berachah of “al haTorah v’al ha’avodah” by Minchah.

The Vilna Gaon explains that this machlokes is based on a fundamental difference of opinion as to the nature of why we read the Torah and haftarah at Minchah on Yom Kippur. The Mechaber holds that the reason why we read the Torah and a haftarah at Minchah on Yom Kippur is because it is part of the service of Yom Kippur. This is similar to the fact that we read from the Torah on Shabbos by Minchah. Therefore the Mechaber rules that the berachah of “al haTorah…” is recited, like it is recited on Shabbos. And if Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos, we mention Shabbos in the berachah.

The Rema’s view is that the Torah reading at Minchah on Yom Kippur is unrelated to the kedushah of Yom Kippur; rather, we read the Torah and the haftarah because Yom Kippur is a fast day, and on all fast days we read the Torah and haftarah at Minchah. Even though on a general fast day the reading of the Torah is from the parshah of “Vayechal Moshe…” the specific reading may be changed. On a regular fast day we do not recite the berachah of “al haTorah”; therefore the Rema rules that we should not recite that berachah on Yom Kippur.

A halachic ramification should result from this machlokes. Take this scenario, for example: If a man is sick on Yom Kippur and must eat, may he receive an aliyah by Minchah? If the essence of why we read the Torah by Minchah on Yom Kippur results from the kedushah of Yom Kippur, this sick man may receive an aliyah since he has not violated the kedushah of the day. But if the reason why we read the Torah is because Yom Kippur is a fast day and on fast days we read the Torah by Minchah, then he would not be able to receive an aliyah, as he is not currently fasting. As the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 566:6 rules: one who is not fasting may not receive an aliyah on a fast day.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger, in Teshuvos 24, rules that one who must eat for medical reasons may receive an aliyah at Shacharis on Yom Kippur. This is because the Torah reading at Shacharis definitely stems from the kedushas hayom. However, he says that he is unsure if he may receive one at Minchah, for perhaps that Torah reading results from the fact that it is a fast day.

Based on the Vilna Gaon’s explanation, this matter should depend on the machlokes between the Rema and the Mechaber. According to the Mechaber one should be able to receive an aliyah even if he is not fasting. According to the Rema he should not be able to receive an aliyah.

The difference between whether the Torah reading results from the kedushas hayom or if it results from the fact that it is a fast day is a fundamental difference in the essence of the Torah reading. If it results from the kedushas hayom, it is a regular Torah reading that is essentially public study of Torah. If we read the Torah because it is a fast day, then the purpose of the reading is essentially to rebuke the congregation. The main rebuke is actually found in the haftarah, except that we cannot read a haftarah only without reading from the actual Torah first. This is the understanding behind the opinion in Megillah 22b that says that only one aliyah is required on a fast day, since the main purpose is to reach the rebuke found in the haftarah.

There are two different sources for why we read the parshah of the arayos at Minchah on Yom Kippur. Rashi, in Megillah 31a, says that it is because one who has committed the sins of arayos should do teshuvah. Similarly Tosafos there says that we read that parshah because women dress nicely on Yom Tov and thus we want to remind everyone of the possible aveiros about which they should be cautious.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Shehakol Bread?
‘One Recites A Blessing On The Primary Food’
(Berachos 44a)

The mishnah on our daf states that whenever a person eats a primary food (an ikar) and a subordinate food (a tafel), he should only recite a berachah on the ikar. For example, if someone eats salted food and subsequently eats bread solely for the purpose of absorbing the salt, he should only recite a berachah on the salted food, not on the bread. He should recite neither hamotzi nor birkas hamazon.

Set Before Him

Tosafos (sv. “b’ochlei…”) assert that the berachah on the ikar does not exempt the tafel unless the tafel was in the person’s presence when he recited the berachah on the ikar and intended to eat the tafel afterwards. However, if someone recites a berachah on salty fish without intending to eat bread at that time, and then afterwards decides to eat some bread to absorb the salt, he must recite a berachah on the bread.

Two Explanations

The Chazon Ish (Orach Chayim 27) suggests two possible reasons why a tafel does not require a separate berachah. First, the tafel is ancillary to the principal food and as such is considered too insignificant to require its own berachah. Second, the tafel, being ancillary to the ikar, is subject to the same berachah as the ikar. Thus, the berachah recited on the ikar covers the tafel as well. In other words, the tafel as not insignificant and does require a berachah according to this second explanation. However, the berachah recited on the ikar satisfies this requirement.

A Matter Of Intent

The Chazon Ish adduces proof from Tosafos that his second explanation is the correct one. According to the first explanation, even if someone did not originally intend to eat a tafel, it should still be exempt from a berachah since, in the end, it is being eaten as an ancillary to the ikar. And yet, Tosafos rule that the tafel is not exempt.

According to the second approach, however, Tosafos is more understandable. According to this explanation, the tafel is always subject to a berachah, only that the berachah on the ikar covers it. When one recites a berachah on the ikar, however, without intending to eat a tafel afterwards, the tafel cannot be subsumed under the berachah of the ikar and needs its own separate berachah.

Interestingly, the Magen Avraham rules (Orach Chayim 212 sk2) that in such an instance – where one only decides, for example, to eat bread as a tafel after making a berachah on an ikar like fish – the berachah for the bread would be shehakol, like the berachah one recited on the fish.

Berachah Acharonah?

The Shulchan Aruch Harav (op cit. sk10) notes that if someone only decides to eat a tafel after making a berachah on an ikar, he must make both a berachah rishonah and a berachah acharonah on the tafel. It is not covered by the berachah acharonah of the ikar.

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Mentioning Rosh Hashanah In Davening

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah 32a lists the Yom Tov’s berachos and the order in which we must daven on Rosh Hashanah. The Mishnah says in the name of Rabbi Akiva that we begin with the berachah of avos. We then recite, in this order: gevuros (atah gibor); kedushas Hashem; kedushas hayom (we incorporate malchuyos in that berachah); zichronos; and shofros. This is followed by avodah hoda’ah and birchas kohanim (sim shalom). The Gemara there brings a beraisa that cites a source in the Torah for reciting each one of these berachos.

The Achronim discuss two basic questions on this Gemara: First, why does the beraisa need to bring a special pasuk to tell us that we must recite a berachah on the kedushas hayom of Rosh Hashanah? The Gemara in Sukkah 46a derives from the pasuk, “Baruch Hashem, yom yom,” that we must always mention in our davening and bentching the kedushah of that day. Why then would Rosh Hashanah differ from every Shabbos, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh when we always mention the kedushas hayom?

Second, why does the beraisa that is discussing the source for reciting the berachos of the Rosh Hashanah amidah need to bring pasukim that are the source for reciting the first three and last three berachos of the amidah? We only change the middle berachos of the amidah, while the first three and the last three are always recited and never change. Why then did the Mishnah have to mention that we recite those berachos, and why did the beraisa deem it necessary to cite a pasuk as the source for it?

The Pnei Yehoshua, in Rosh Hashanah, suggests that the Gemara in Berachos says that one is forbidden to add praise of Hashem to his davening; rather we can only recite the praises that Chazal, based on pasukim, instituted. Since the Torah commanded us to recite malchiyos zichronos and shofros on Rosh Hashanah, one may have thought that we should omit the general praise that we recite in the amidah and only recite the praises of malchiyos zichronos and shofros. Therefore the Mishnah and the beraisa felt that it was necessary to teach us that we do indeed recite the first three berachos of the amidah – even on Rosh Hashanah.

The Aruch LaNer points out that the Pnei Yehoshua’s answer does not explain why the beraisa also included the source for the last three berachos. I would suggest that perhaps once the beraisa must mention the first three and the middle berachos it is not strange for it to continue to mention the last three berachos. The Aruch LaNer suggests that the beraisa is in fact a Tosefta (Rosh Hashanah 2:11) and there the Tosefta does not mention any of the first three or last three berachos – only the middle ones. The Gemara here in Rosh Hashanah added the source for the other berachos based on the beraisa from the Gemara in Megillah, since it was mentioning the source for the other berachos.

The Aruch LaNer concludes that at a later point in time he received the Ritvah’s commentary on Rosh Hashanah and noticed that the Ritvah asks this same question. The Ritvah answers that the Mishnah wrote the first three and last three berachos to teach us that we may not add to those berachos; rather we must recite them as we always do. The Ritvah adds that this is contradictory to our custom to add zachreinu l’chaim, mi kamocha, vekasveinu, and b’sefer chaim. However, he says that our custom is based on the Masechta Sofrim, which is implicit that we should add those prayers into those berachos.

The sefer, Harirai Kedem, suggests that the opposite can be deduced from our Mishnah and beraisa. Maseches Sofrim says that each berachah on Rosh Hashanah is different from the rest of the year. Our Mishnah and beraisa are teaching us that very same idea. Thus it was necessary to write about those berachos as well, in order to teach us that there is a new obligation to add to those berachos.

Regarding the question of why the beraisa needed to write the source for why we mention the kedushas hayom on Rosh Hashanah when we should have already known that we must mention it (as we do on every other Shabbos or Yom Tov), the Harirai Kedem offers this beautiful explanation: It is clear from this that there is a new and separate halacha that requires us to mention the kedushas hayom of Rosh Hashanah on Rosh Hashanah – aside from the general halacha. Based on this we can explain a discrepancy that is found between the mentioning of the kedushas hayom of Rosh Hashanah and that of all the other Yamim Tovim. On all other Yamim Tovim we do not mention the particular Yom Tov; rather we conclude the berachah with “mekadesh Yisrael vehazmanim.” On Rosh Hashanah we conclude the berachah by mentioning the actual essence of the day, for we say, “melech al kol ha’aretz [malchuyos]… mekadesh Yisrael v’Yom Hazikaron.” This exclusive mention of the actual kedushah is only done on Rosh Hashanah because there is a new halacha on Rosh Hashanah to mention the kedushas hayom.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

A Vicious Cycle
‘Many Different Kinds Were Set Before Him’
(Berachos 41a)

Our Gemara discusses the order of priority in reciting berachos over foods. If a person plans to eat fruit with different berachos, most poskim maintain that he should first make a berachah over the fruit he prefers to eat. For example, if he wishes to eat grapes and a pineapple, and he prefers the pineapple, he should first recite borei pri ha’adamah over the pineapple, and afterward borei pri ha’eitz over the grapes.

Shivas Haminim

This is so despite the fact that grapes are one of the shivas haminim and that the berachah of borei pri ha’eitz is more distinguished than borei pri ha’adamah (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 211:1; Mishna Berurah s.k. 9). However, if someone is eating two fruits with the same berachah, he should make a berachah over the shivas haminim item first. For example, if he wishes to eat grapes and a peach, even though he prefers the peach, he should still recite the berachah of borei pri ha’eitz over the grapes first (Shulchan Aruch, ibid.).

Everything’s Just Peachy

Based on the above rulings, the following question arises. What is the halacha if a person wishes to eat a peach, a pineapple, and grapes, and his most favorite food is peach, second favorite is pineapple, and least favorite is grapes? If he wants to make a berachah over the peach first, we should object that the grapes must precede it since they too are borei pri ha’eitz fruits and are one of the shivas haminim. If he wants to make a berachah over the grapes first, we should object that the pineapple must precede it since it has a different berachah than that of grapes and he prefers it to the grapes. If he wants to make a berachah over the pineapple first, we should object that the peach must precede it since he prefers it to the pineapple. Which lead us back to square one.

Advantage Plus

The Steipler Gaon, zt”l, offered the following solution to this problem. He said the person should recite the berachah over the grapes first. The answer to the objection that the pineapple should precede the grapes since the person prefers it is that the berachah over the grapes, borei pri ha’eitz, is also the berachah for his first preference, the peach. The grapes have the advantage of being both one of shivas haminim and possessing the same berachah as the preferred fruit (the peach).

Indeed, the heart of the halacha that one should eat one’s preferred fruit first is that one should say the berachah of the preferred fruit first. Normally, one says the berachah over the preferred fruit directly. In this case, however, where there are considerations at play, one says the berachah of the preferred fruit over a different fruit.

The Steipler stressed that the above solution is a point for consideration and should not necessarily be relied upon in practice (sefer Zichron Chai 2:9; see also VeZos HaBerachah, Birur Halachah 47).

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Daf Yomi

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

A Two Way Street?
‘Joining Geulah To Tefillah Is Preferable’
(Berachos 30a)

The halacha tells us to begin Shemoneh Esreh immediately after the berachah of ga’al yisrael, without interrupting to answer even Kaddish or Kedushah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 66:8,9).

An Early Maariv

The Steipler Gaon, Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievski, zt”l, writes that the Rishonim disagree as to whether one must adjoin Geulah (i.e., ga’al yisrael) to Tefillah (i.e., Shemoneh Esreh) for Tefillah’s sake or for the sake of Geulah (Kehilos Yaakov 2). Rabbeinu Yonah (2b s.v. “umi sheyirtzeh”) rules that if a person finds himself in a community where the minyan davens Maariv before nightfall, he should daven Shemoneh Esreh with the community without saying Kerias Shema or its berachos. He should say them instead on his own after tzeis hakochavim. At that time he should also preferably daven Shemoneh Esreh again.

Rav Ashi Repeated It At Home

Normally, a person who already davened Shemoneh Esreh may not say it again unless he has a particular request to add. But saying Shemoneh Esreh together with the berachos of Kerias Shema adds to the quality of the Tefillah, and therefore one may say it again, according to Rabbeinu Yonah. We thus see that Rabbeinu Yonah believes that adjoining Geulah to Tefillah is considered an enhancement of Tefillah.

From the Rosh we see the opposite – that adjoining Geulah to Tefillah is an enhancement of Shema and its berachos (but not necessarily Tefillah). Our Gemara states that Rav Ashi would lecture the entire morning, starting before dawn. He was thus unable to daven Shachris during its proper time. Nonetheless, when the time for Kerias Shema came, he would recite Shema with its berachos and daven Shemoneh Esreh sitting down while the meturgeman was explaining his lecture to the students. (If he stood, it would inconvenience all the talmidim to stand in his honor.) When he returned home after his lecture, he would daven Shemoneh Esreh again while standing since one who prays Shemoneh Esreh while seated does not fulfill his obligation (see Divrei Chamudos, os 70).

Why The First Prayer?

If Rav Ashi did not fulfill his obligation to daven Shemoneh Esreh while seated, why did he daven then? Why didn’t he just wait until he returned home?

One can suggest that he davened while seated in order to fulfill the injunction to adjoin Geulah to Tefillah, but if this injunction is in order to enhance Tefillah, Rav Ashi accomplished nothing since reciting Shemoneh Esreh while seated is improper (and does not even absolve one of one’s obligation to daven Shemoneh Esreh)!

Clearly then, Rav Ashi davened Shemoneh Esreh while seated to adjoin Geulah to Tefillah and thereby enhance the berachah of Geulah (not Tefillah). So although Rav Ashi did not fulfill his obligation to daven Shemoneh Esreh with this Tefillah, he was able to thereby enhance his berachah of Geulah.

It is worth noting that the Rosh does not necessarily argue with Rabbeinu Yonah’s presumption that Geulah enhances Tefillah. Perhaps both are true. The Rosh certainly maintains that Tefillah enhances Geulah, but perhaps he believes that Geulah enhances Tefillah as well.

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Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part XIV)

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Question: What should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? Some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashanah 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that one not appear as a denier of G-d to whom the congregation is praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan and compares the question of what congregants should do during Modim to the question of what congregants should do during Birkat Kohanim, as discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Birkat Kohanim is part of chazaras hashatz but is said by kohanim (unless none are present in which case the chazzan says it). One prayer recited during Birkat Kohanim is “Ribono shel olam,” which the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1, citing Berachot 55b) states should be said by anyone who has a dream which he doesn’t understand. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 128:58) says this prayer should be recited while the kohanim are melodiously drawing out the last word of each verse.

He and the Aruch Hashulchan also discuss saying the “Adir bamarom” prayer at this time. The Aruch Hashulchan, clarifying Berachot 55b, explains that someone who cannot complete “Ribono shel olam” in time should say the shorter “Adir Bamarom,” while Taz and Magen Avraham say the shorter prayer is recited after the longer, time permitting. The Aruch Hashulchan concludes, based on the Rif and Rosh that the congregation should say “Adir Bamarom” during the drawn-out last word.

During Birkat Kohanim, the kohanim should look downward so as not to interrupt their concentration. The congregation should likewise concentrate and face, but do not to gaze upon, the kohanim, who customarily spread out a tallit over their heads. Some also cover their hands (see Rema, Bet Yosef, and Tur, Orach Chayim 128:23). The Mechaber (128:24, citing Sotah 38b) writes that people standing behind the kohanim are not included in their blessing.

* * * * *

The Mishnah Berurah (to Orach Chayim 128:24) in his Bi’ur Halacha commentary (s.v. “afilu mechitza shel barzel…”) cites Elyah Rabbah, who mentions the ruling (in Orach Chayim 55:20) that there can be no separation between the person saying and the person responding to Kaddish and Kedushah. The Elyah Rabbah asserts that the same rule should apply to Birkat Kohanim. If a wall separates people from the kohanim, those beyond the wall should not be included in the berachah.

The Mishnah Berurah, however, cites Sefer Ha’Eshkol which states that the law is different for Birkat Kohanim regarding people in the fields and have no need to answer “Amen” to the berachah. What, then, is the basis of the Elyah Rabbah’s opinion that the standard rule of separation does apply to Birkat Kohanim? The Mishnah Berurah speculates that perhaps the Elyah Rabbah was referring to a case where people were either in the synagogue’s courtyard or outside but quite close to the synagogue. These people are too close to the synagogue to be considered anusim and faultless and therefore are not included in Birkat Kohanim.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-chazzan-and-congregation-part-xiv/2012/08/29/

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