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Posts Tagged ‘Moshe Jakobowitz’

Q & A: Selichot Restrictions (Part I)

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Question: The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch states that an individual praying selichot without a minyan is not allowed to recite the Thirteen Midot or the Aramaic prayers. What is the rationale behind this halacha?

Moshe Jakobowitz
Brooklyn, NY

Answer: The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (128:9 – Hilchot Chodesh Elul) is your source. He notes that an individual praying selichot without a minyan may not recite the Shelosh Esreh Midot – the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy – as found in Parshat Ki Tissa (Exodus 34:6-7) as a prayer or supplication. He may, however, recite them as if reading from the Torah with the proper melody (indicated by the cantillation). The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch also states that he should not say any of the references to the Thirteen Attributes in selichot, i.e., “z’chor lanu hayom brit shlosh esreh – remember for us today the covenant of the Thirteen [attributes].” Finally, he rules that he shouldn’t say the Aramaic entreaties – “Rachmana,” “Machei u’massei,” “De’ani le’aniyyei aninan,” and “Maran di’bi’shemaya.”

The Beit Yosef in his peirush to the Tur (Orach Chayim 565 sv “katav R. Nattan she’ein…”), citing Teshuvot HaRashba, refers to the Thirteen Attributes as a davar she’b’kedushah – a matter involving great holiness. They therefore need a minyan to recite. He cites Rosh Hashanah 17b, which states that G-d donned a tallit in the style of a chazzan to demonstrate to Moses how Israel should pray (the Thirteen Attributes) before Him to expiate their sins. The implication is that the Thirteen Attributes should be said in the presence of a congregation of Israel, and as such, are an aspect of tefillah b’tzibbur.

A mishnah in Tractate Megillah (23b) enumerates the situations that require the presence of at least 10 men because they incorporate a davar she’b’kedushah. Tefillah betzibbur is one of them. This halacha is based on several Biblical verses; see Leviticus 22:32 and Numbers 14:27 and 16:21. A discussion on this topic is found in Tractate Berachot (21b). (The parallel passage in Talmud Yerushalmi (Megillah 4:4) utilizes different verses to deduce the gezerah shavah on which these rules are based – namely, Leviticus 19:2 and Genesis 42:5.)

Other situations that require a minyan include prisat Shema. (Rashi explains that this situation concerns a group that enters a synagogue after the congregation has already recited Shema. This group may together recite Birkat Keriat Shema, including the preceding Kaddish and Barchu, if they constitute a minyan [although even then, they only recite the first berachah of yotzer ha’meorot].) Other situations include the repetition of Shemoneh Esreh by the chazzan, the Priestly Blessing, the public reading of the Torah and haftarah, certain practices at a funeral, the mourner’s consolation, public wedding blessings, the invitation to join in the Grace after Meals (which includes the name of G-d), and the appraisal of consecrated land.

While codifying this halacha based on the mishnah in Tractate Megillah (23b), the Rambam notes that congregational prayer is conducted in the presence of at least 10 adult men who are bnei chorin – i.e., not slaves (Hilchot Tefillah 8:4). The chazzan is included in the count. The Rambam adds that the recitation of Kedushah and the reading of the Torah and haftarah (with the appropriate blessings that precede and follow them) cannot take place unless 10 men are present. He also states (8:5) that we do not do Prisat Shema, recite Kaddish, or invoke the Priestly Blessings without a minyan.

Returning to the Beit Yosef, we see that he refers to the Thirteen Attributes as belonging in the category of davar she’b’kedushah. Hence, its recital is limited to occasions when a quorum of 10 adult males is present.

(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: Noy Sukka – Sukka Decorations (Part I)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003
QUESTION: Is decorating the sukka part of the mitzva, or does the mitzva only require the sukka itself?
Moshe Jakobowitz
Brooklyn, NY
ANSWER: The simple answer is that providing for the mitzva of [dwelling in a] sukka would seem to be limited to the requirement to erect the structure, namely, the walls and the sechach (the thatch).In Parashat Emor the Torah states regarding the Sukkot festival (Leviticus 23:42): “Basukkot teshvu shiv’at yamim, kol ha’ezrach be’Yisrael yeshvu basukkot – You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all who are natives in Israel shall dwell in booths.” This verse serves as the command for us to sit in sukkot on the Festival of Tabernacles (see Rambam, Sefer Hamitzvot, Mitzvot Aseh, Mitzva 168).

The sukka, including the specifications of the walls and the sechach, are discussed in detail in the first chapter of Tractate Sukka. The materials one may use for the sechach must be gidulei karka, products of the ground. This is in accordance with R. Meir’s teaching (op. cit. 36b-37a). R. Meir states that we may take sechach from any available tree. The Gemara also mentions nesarim, slats of lumber, which is what many of us use today.

Thus there is no doubt that if one constructed the sukka according to the above requirements, without noy sukka (sukka decorations), one will clearly fulfill the essence of the biblical command.

Yet we find the following baraita (Sukka 10a-b): “If one covered the sukka with sechach, as halachically required, and decorated it with [any or all of these:] embroidered hangings and sheets, and hung in it nuts, almonds, peaches and pomegranates, clusters of grapes and wreaths of grain, wine, oil, or fine flour [in clear glass bottles] it is forbidden to make use of them [as they are muktzeh] until the conclusion of the last day of the festival. However, if he made a stipulation [before yom tov], everything depends on and goes according to his stipulation [and the rule of muktzeh does not apply].”

We see from this baraita that the sechach on the sukka, when used in the prescribed manner, fulfills the basic halachic requirement. All the other items listed seem to be placed there to please the eye, and since each of them has other possible uses, either as garments and covers, or food and drink, of which one might wish to avail oneself at any time, the baraita cautions us that in the event of no prior stipulation, these items are all considered muktzeh, which we may not use on the Sabbath and on holidays, or even during the Intermediate Days.

Nevertheless, R. Yitzhak Yosef explains in his Yalkut Yosef (Hilchot Noy Sukka) that it is a mitzva to decorate the sukka. He refers to the Gemara (Shabbat 133b), which states regarding the verse in Parashat BeShalach (Exodus 15:2), “Ozi vezimrat kah va’yehi li liyeshua; zeh keli ve’anvehu elokei avi va’aromemenhu - G-d is my strength and my praise, He is my salvation; this is my G-d and I will glorify (beautify) Him, the G-d of my father and I will exalt him.”

We derive from the phrase “zeh keli ve’anvehu” the concept of glorifying G-d with mitzvot. Accordingly, we make for Him a beautiful sukka, we buy a beautiful lulav, etc.

Therefore it is customary to adorn the sukka with all kinds of decorations as well as pictures (including pictures of Gedolei Yisrael).

We see that R. Yosef’s reading of the Gemara is that the mitzva to decorate the sukka is not part of the mitzva of fulfilling the sukka’s structural requirements, but rather because of “zeh keli ve’anvehu.”The only problem with this line of reasoning is that while Rambam does cite this Gemara in reference to acquiring a beautiful lulav, etrog, and the other species (Hilchot Lulav 7:7), he does not refer at all to beautifying the sukka as a mitzva, but makes casual reference (Hilchot Sukka 5:17-18) to sukka decorations. In no way does he state that it is a mitzva.

In fact, R. Moshe Sofer, zt”l (Responsa Chatam Sofer, Orach Chayyim 184), discusses a case where a kosher etrog was hung in a sukka as a decoration, and someone came to that sukka on Chol HaMo’ed from a distant place where no etrog was available. May he use the etrog that was suspended to fulfill the mitzva of lulav and etrog?

Since the etrog served as a decoration and thus became muktzeh, may one nevertheless use it? If adorning the sukka is a mitzva under the rule of noy sukka, then perhaps this etrog should not be used. Yet we find that the Chatam Sofer permitted the etrog to be used in that case. This would sustain our original statement that the mitzva consists only of the sukka itself and not its decorations.

(To be continued)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-noy-sukka-sukka-decorations-part-i/2003/11/05/

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