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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Birkat Kohanim’

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part VII)

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear 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, I hear 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 Shmoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashana 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.

Many do not follow the correct responsive procedure for Kedushah, and since the practice is widespread, it may have to be overlooked (Berachot 45a). If the congregants will miss z’man tefillah, however, the Rema (Orach Chayim 124:2) writes that they should quietly recite along with the chazzan until after Kedushah. At least one person who already prayed, even a child, should answer “Amen” to the chazzan’s blessings to substantiates the shlichut of the chazzan. Those praying with the chazzan may not respond “Amen.”

Another prayer style when time is pressing is as follows: The chazzan begins the Amidah, and after “HaKel HaKadosh,” everyone begins their silent Amidah (while the chazzan continues quietly with his own Amidah). (See Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 124 sk8.) This procedure is commonly performed for Mincha, especially in yeshivot.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. The Mishnah Berurah (sk2) notes that this applies to a latecomer in middle of birkat keriat Shema attempting to catch up to the minyan and debating whether he should start his personal Amidah after the congregants have started theirs. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that he not appear as a denier of G-d to whom they are praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Modim D’Rabbanan is discussed in the Gemara in Sotah. Rav offers a text to recite for Modim and Shmuel, R. Simai, and R. Acha b. R.Yaakov all add more verses to recite. R. Papa says to recite them all – hence the name “Modim D’Rabbanan,” the Modim of (all) the Sages. Our Modim text also includes additions by sages listed in the Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 1:5).

We now continue with an important observation by the gaon Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchick, zt”l.

* * * * *

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Harav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation should say Modim D’Rabbanan and also listen to the entire Modim of the chazzan. This position is similar to that of several Amora’im who maintain that congregants should recite pesukim during Birkat Kohanim in addition to listening to the kohanim.

Not all sages, however, agree with this position. In Sotah 39b-40a, R. Chanina b. R. Pappa asks, “Is it possible that a servant is being blessed and he does not listen?” The Tur (Orach Chayim 128) adopts this standpoint and states that congregants should not say any pesukim while the kohanim are blessing them because, if they do, they will be unable to concentrate fully on Birkat Kohanim.

Rabbi Soloveitchick reasons that the same logic applies to the recitation of Modim D’Rabbanan. Even if the chazzan says his Modim very loudly, congregants will still find it impossible to both listen to the chazzan and concentrate on their own recitation of Modim D’Rabbanan. Therefore, in his synagogue in Boston as well as at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Soloveitchick instituted that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim in a loud voice and then pause somewhat to allow the congregation time to recite Modim D’Rabbanan. The chazzan would then continue with his Modim out loud.

Now, if saying Modim D’Rabbanan causes such difficulties, why say it altogether? After all, many authorities rule that we should not say pesukim during Birkat Kohanim. Why should Modim D’Rabbanan be different?

To answer this, we have to take a better look at the Gemara’s question in Sotah 40a: “At the time that the chazzan recites Modim, what does the congregation say?” We should wonder why the Gemara only asks this question about Modim. Why doesn’t it ask, for example, what the congregation says during the berachah of Techiyat Hameitim, Ata Chonen, or Shema Kolenu? Why does the Gemara assume that the congregation should say something during Modim when none of the other blessings of chazarat hashatz have a corresponding prayer?

The Abudarham (Seder Shacharit shel Chol, p.115) resolves our difficulty. He states: “And when the chazzan reaches Modim [in his repetition] and bows, all the congregation bow [as well] and recite their “hoda’ah ketana – small thanks” [i.e. Modim D’Rabbanan]…because it is not proper for a servant to praise his [human] master and tell him, ‘You are my lord,’ by means of a shliach (messenger). [How much more so when the recipient of praise is Hashem.] Rather, every person has to express with his own voice his acceptance of the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom upon himself. If he accepts via a messenger, it is not a complete acceptance, as he can always deny that acceptance and say ‘I never sent him as my agent.’

“However,” the Abudarham continues, “as regards to the rest of the [blessings in the Amidah that the chazzan recites aloud], which is supplication, one can request one’s needs via a messenger because every person seeks that which benefits him. Thus, he will not deny and say, ‘I never sent him [as my messenger].’ ”

The Sefer Kol Bo (Siman 11, Hilchot Tefillah) interestingly points out that the gematria of the word Modim equals 100. This corresponds to the 100 blessings one is required to say each day (Mechaber, Orach Chayim 46:3; also, see Tur ad loc. who attributes this enactment to King David). We thus see an allusion to the additional efficacy of Modim.

If I may, I might add the following. If one adds the number of words in the opening paragraph of Modim to the number of words in Modim D’Rabbanan (nusach sefard, exclusive of the chatimah, “Baruch E-l Ha’hoda’ot”) one arrives at that same number of 100. Thus, it would seem that the efficacy of this blessing enjoys even further enhancement when the prayers of the chazzan and the yachid are combined.

As we thank Him for all His munificence, we hope and pray that Hashem answer all our supplications.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

Q & A: ‘Bal Tosif’ And The Shofar Blasts (Conclusion)

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003
QUESTION: I do not understand the practice of blowing so many extra blasts of the shofar, as is done in most synagogues on Rosh Hashana. Is that not in violation of the command bal tosif, as stated in Deuteronomy (13:1), “You shall not add to [G-d's commandments]“?
Elliot Solomon
(Via E-Mail)
ANSWER: Last week we discussed the types and the sequence of the shofar blasts. This week we present our conclusion, focusing on the concept of adding to the minimum required number of blasts.

* * *

Tosafot (Rosh Hashana 33b) s.v. “Shiur teruah”, refer to the Aruch (by Rabbi Natan ben Rabbi Yechiel zt”l, a contemporary of R. Gershom Me’or Hagolah and Rashi). We now quote from the text as found in the Aruch, under the entry “arev de’halin”, where he states as follows – referring to the verse (Isaiah 25:8), “Bila hamavet la’netzach… – Death shall be destroyed forever…” and another verse (ibid. 27:13) stating, “Vehayah ba’yom hahu yitaka be’shofar gadol – And it shall be on that day that a great shofar will be sounded…”: When Satan hears the shofar the first time, sometimes he is alarmed and sometimes he is not alarmed. But when he hears the shofar blast a second time, he is suddenly aware that the shofar blast is the great shofar heralding his own destruction, and he is thus shaken and confused and has no time to prosecute. (See Rosh Hashana 16b, where the Gemara explains that some of the blasts are performed while sitting and some while standing in order to confuse Satan).

From here, continues the Aruch, we learn that those who are strict blow 30 blasts while “sitting”, namely, before the amida (of Mussaf); 30 during the silent Shemoneh Esreh; and 30 according to the order [of Malchuyot, Zichronot, Shofarot in the repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh]. These sounds parallel the 100 sobs of the mother of Sisera [when she heard of her son's defeat (Shoftim 5:28)]. Since the blasts listed here only total 90, the Aruch continues, an additional 10 [blasts] are blown when they finish the entire prayer, and this last set must  be TaShRaT, TaShaT, TaRaT, a set of 10 blasts, for a total of 100. (The custom is to blow these 10 blasts during the concluding Kaddish.)

We can now address your interesting question. The Gemara (Rosh Hashana 33b) concludes that we fulfill the mitzva with 30 blasts. Nevertheless, we follow the Aruch and blow an additional 70 blasts. You ask whether, in doing so, we transgress the prohibitory precept of “bal tosif.”

This precept is derived from two biblical verses. One is found in Parashat VaEt’chanan (Deuteronomy 4:2): “Lo tosifu al hadavar asher anochi metzaveh et’chem velo tigre’u  mimenu … – You shall not add to that which I have commanded you nor shall you detract from it…” The other verse is in Parashat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 13:1) “Et kol hadavar asher anochi metzaveh et’chem oto tishmeru la’asot, lo tosef alav velo tigra mimenu – Every matter that I have commanded you, you shall take care to observe; you shall not add to it nor shall you detract from it.”

Rashi in his commentary gives numerous instances of how one might violate this command. Some examples are: attempting to enhance the mitzva of tefillin with five parashiyot instead of four, using five species on Sukkot for the mitzva of the lulav (one more than what the Torah commanded), adding a fourth blessing to the three of Birkat Kohanim (see Rosh Hashana 28b, which also discusses netifat hadam, the sprinkling of the blood of sacrifices. The blood of a sacrifice which requires only one sprinkling, such as that of a firstborn animal sacrifice, is not to be mixed with the blood of other sacrifices, such as shelamim or asham - peace offerings or guilt offerings - which require four sprinklings. This is also a case of not adding and not diminishing.)

Commenting on the verse in Deuteronomy (4:2), Da’at Zekenim explains that if one adds to a commandment, one is considered to be detracting from it because of the rule of “Kol hamosif gore’a” – Whosoever adds, detracts. Therefore, should one add a fifth tzitziyot, he has lost out by not fulfilling the required mitzva of four tzitiyot. Likewise, as Rashi states, a fifth parasha in the tefillin, or five species for the precept of lulav (and etrog) invalidate the entire mitzva.

Da’at Zekenim then concludes by explaining that if one sits for eight days in the sukka, the eighth day is not added to the seven days to invalidate them, and what he has done (on the seven previous days) is considered to be a fulfillment of the mitzva. Da’at Zekenim bases this opinion on the Gemara’s (Sukka 47a) conclusion in reference to the eighth day, which might actually be the seventh day: “The halacha is that indeed we do sit in the sukka, but we may not recite the beracha (leishev basukka).”

Beit Yosef in his commentary on the Tur (Orach Chayyim 668) cites the Rosh, who explains that the reason we do not recite the blessing (leishev basukka) is that the last day is referred to as Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Assembly (which is considered a separate festival). If it is still Sukkot then it is not Shemini Atzeret. On the other hand, if it is Shemini Atzeret it is not Sukkot. Since we have a doubt, we opt for strictness and continue to eat in the sukka. However, we do not recite the blessing.

If such is the case, then why not use the lulav on that day as well, as we have done throughout Sukkot? Beit Yosef explains that as regards the lulav they did not wish to rule that we should take it without reciting a blessing – since there is a doubt – because it would then be considered muktzeh on Yom Tov. As regards the sukka, at times sitting in the the sukka is quite pleasurable, and thus we will eat in it on the last day of Yom Tov (Shemini Atzeret).

Regarding tekiat shofar, we might ask whether it can be compared to the mitzva of lulav, and thus we may not blow any additional blasts beyond the 30, or whether it is similar to the sukka, where, although we do not recite a blessing, we do sit in it (on the eighth day). Do we violate “bal tosif” when blowing beyond the first 30 blasts?

Tosafot (Rosh Hashana 16b s.v. “Vetok’im”; and note also Tosafot 28b s.v. “Umina teimra”) ask this question. How can the Gemara state that we blast the shofar when we sit (before the amida), preceded by the two berachot, Lishmo’a kol shofar and Shehecheyanu – see Orach Chayyim 585:2, Hilchot Rosh Hashana – and then blast the shofar when we stand (during the amida) in order to confuse Satan, when this seems to be a violation of “bal tosif”, not to add to a mitzva?

Tosafot then postulate that since the first set of tekiot fulfill the obligation, any additional blasts would not be in a timely manner of performance. Since the mitzva has been [completely] fulfilled, there cannot be a violation of “bal tosif.” That is further explained by Tosafot regarding Birkat Kohanim, the [three] priestly blessings to which a kohen may not add a blessing of his own. As long as it is still within the time when the Priestly Blessing may be recited, and possibly another assemblage in need of the Priestly Blessing will call upon his services, he may not insert a blessing of his own (because that would be a hefsek, an interruption). Here as well, perhaps it is possible that another congregation will seek out the ba’al tekiah to blast the shofar for them, thus it is still timely, and any additional blasts possibly constitute a bal tosif.

Tosafot then allay this concern and point out that the rule of bal tosif is not relevant when one fulfills a mitzva (in its entirety) more than one. Thus, even where a kohen blesses the same assemblage twice (the three berachot are recited twice) or if one takes the lulav twice, or in our case, if one blasts the shofar (the required thirty blasts) and then blasts again, or regarding the sprinkling of blood of the sacrifice of the firstborn animal, and the kohen sprinkles at the same corner (of the altar) twice, this is not considered a violation of bal tosif.

Yet even with the analysis of Tosafot we still do not fully comprehend how it is not bal tosif. For further clarification, we turn to Responsum 20 of the Ketav Sofer (R. Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer-Shreiber, zt”l, one of the great poskim of Hungarian Jewry in the 19th century), where his main topic is the sukka on the eighth day, on Shemini Atzeret, regarding eating, sleeping, etc. In that responsum he discusses our problem at great length. He cites Rashba (in Rosh Hashana 16b), who states as follows: “Whenever there is an enactment by the Sages (which appears to be in violation of bal tosif), there is actually no bal tosif, and thus we may add to the blasts of the shofar and, likewise we sit in the sukka on the eighth day – which is possibly the seventh day - because for a mitzva to be considered in an untimely fashion there is a need of intent (kavana), and without that element of premeditation there is no bal tosif.”

Rashi (Eruvin 96a) s.v. “ve’od ha’yashen ba’shemini basukka” states that if the day is indeed the eighth day, it is understood that the specific intent is not to fulfill any obligation of sukka. This would be satisfactory in a case where there is true doubt. Today we are considered “beki’im bi’keviat di’yarcha,” experts at calculating the calendar, and thus when we observe a second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora, we keep the traditions of our fathers, as our sages instruct us. Since we do it at the behest of our sages, there is no bal tosif.

Similarly, in our case we deduce that where the Sages have decreed to blast the shofar again (and it appears to be timely), one is considered to be an annuss, one who is forced against his will to fulfill the instruction of the Sages. According to Rav Shreiber’s scholarly thesis, as we noted at the outset, our blasting of the extra tekiot on Rosh Hashana does not violate bal tosif.

Indeed, may the final blast of the shofar at the conclusion of Yom Kippur shatter Satan as well as those who wish Klal Yisrael any harm, and may it herald the beginning of our final redemption. As we read (Isaiah 27:13), “Vehayah bayom hahu yitaka beshofar gadol, u’[b]a’u ha’ovdim be’eretz Ashur ve’hanidachim be’eretz Mitzrayim vehishtachavu la’Hashem behar hakodesh biYerushalayim - And it shall be on that day that a great shofar will be sounded, all those who were lost in the land of Ashur will come, and the outcasts in Egypt, and they will bow to Hashem on His holy mount in Jerusalem.”

Le’shana haba’ah biYerushalayim ha’benuya – Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-bal-tosif-and-the-shofar-blasts-conclusion/2003/10/29/

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