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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Orach Chayim’

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

What About Ma’ariv?
‘The Bridegroom Is Exempt From Kerias Shema’
(Berachos 16a)

A mishnah on our daf states that a chassan who marries a besulah is exempt from the mitzvah of reciting kerias shema on the night of his wedding. This is because of the rule (Sukkah 25a): “osek b’mitzvah patur min ha’mitzvah – one who is presently occupied with one mitzvah is exempt from performing another mitzvah.” In this instance, the chassan is preoccupied with consummating the marriage.

The mishnah adds that if the chassan did not consummate the marriage on the night of the wedding, he is exempt from shema for the following three nights since his mind is still pre-occupied with the mitzvah at hand. The mishnah relates that Rabban Gamliel, however, did recite kerias shema when he was a chassan. When his students asked him about it, he explained, “I cannot possibly abrogate my obligation to accept Heaven’s kingship even for one moment.”

A second mishnah on our daf (16b) qualifies the rule of the previous mishnah, and seems to be in general agreement with Rabban Gamliel’s behavior. Indeed, it states that if a chassan so chooses, he may recite kerias shema.

Family Dispute?

Interesting, then, is the statement of his son, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, that not everyone has the right to display such piety and therefore a chassan should not recite kerias shema on his wedding night. At the conclusion of our perek, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel’s view is explained. Only one who is highly pious, a Torah scholar of note, may recite kerias shema on his wedding night. A Torah scholar of ordinary stature, however, may not. Thus, there is no inconsistency between Rabbi Shimon b. Gamliel’s view and that of his father cited in the earlier mishnah.

Kavanah, The Lack Of

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 70:3), essentially quoting Tosafos (17b, sv “R. Shisha …”), rules that a chassan today should recite kerias shema since most people lack proper kavanah when they daven. In other words, a chassan’s kerias shema on the night of his wedding may lack kavanah but so do the kerias shemas he says throughout the year. If an ordinary chassan doesn’t say kerias shema on his wedding night, he appears haughty since he’s implying that if not for his preoccupied mind, his kerias shema would contain the proper level of kavanah.

Hand In Hand

What is the rule regarding davening Ma’ariv? It would seem that the same rules that apply to kerias shema should apply to Ma’ariv. Yet, we find that they don’t necessarily go hand in hand. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 70sk3) writes that a chassan is exempt from kerias shema and Ma’ariv, but when he discusses the minhag nowadays, he writes that a chassan should recite kerias shema and makes no mention of Ma’ariv. It thus seem that a chassan is exempt from Ma’ariv even nowadays. The reason for this is because, as the Shulchan Aruch Harav writes, kerias shema is a biblical obligation whereas Ma’ariv is only rabbinical.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf published semi-monthly is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part XII)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shemoneh 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 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 (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) 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.

* * * * *

The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 130:1) writes of an additional prayer, “Adir bamarom –You are majestic on high,” that is proper for congregations to recite during the kohanim’s melodious extension of the final word of the Birkat Kohanim blessing. Of course, one should only recite this prayer if one will finish it in time to say “Amen” to the blessing. Is “Adir bamarom” an additional prayer to “Ribono shel olam”? Or is it a replacement prayer? The Gemara (Berachot 55b) states, “If, however, he cannot [complete “Ribono shel olam” in time] he should say this, “Adir bamarom.”

The Aruch Hashulchan (Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein, the chief rabbi of Navardok) understands this Gemara simply – that “Adir bamarom” replaces “Ribono shel olam.” However, he notes that authorities like the Taz and Magen Avraham interpret the Gemara differently and write, “If, however, [the kohanim] have still not concluded, [the individual congregant] should also say “Adir bamarom.”

Rabbi Epstein, citing Elyah Rabbah in the name of Agudah (whose view coincides with the Aruch Hashulchan) writes that that when there is little time, one may substitute the shorter “Adir bamarom” for the longer “Ribono shel olam.” Yet, he concludes (infra. sk3): “Our custom is that when the kohanim [conclude and] turn away their faces, all say “Adir bamarom,” even though this seems to be inconsistent with the Gemara’s text, as our custom is based upon the amended texts of both the Rif and Rosh.”

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part XI)

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shemoneh 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 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 (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) 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 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).

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) notes that the accepted procedure during Birkat Kohanim is for the kohanim to draw out the concluding word of each of its three verses – “ve’yishmerecha,” “v’ychuneka,” and “shalom” – because each verse represents a separate blessing. It is proper for those in the congregation who say “Ribono shel olam” to do so while the kohanim are melodiously drawing out the last word of each verse.

The Shulchan Aruch Harav notes that the refuah one derives from saying “Ribono shel olam” is only effective if said during Birkat Kohanim. And yet, as long as the kohanim have not fully articulated that last word of each verse, it would seem that Birkat Kohanim is still in process, and the halacha is that the congregation must listen attentively to what the kohanim are saying during Birkat Kohanim and cannot speak or even recite another prayer. How, then, can one ever say the “Ribono shel olam” prayer?

The Shulchan Aruch Harav answers that when the kohanim reach the concluding word of each verse, that blessing is considered complete insofar as the congregation’s requirement to listen and concentrate on their words. Since, however, the congregation has not yet responded with “Amen” to the blessing (since the kohanim are still in midst of melodiously chanting the last word), the blessing is not considered fully complete and one can say the “Ribono shel olam” prayer.

The Shulchan Aruch Harav notes that only the congregation should recite “Ribono shel olam,” not the makreh (the one leading the kohanim), since he will be distracted and confused if he does so. A chazzan serving as the makreh should not recite “Ribono shel olam” because he will also be making a hefsek in his tefillah if he does.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part X)

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shemoneh 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 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 (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) 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 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).

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). Bnei Ashkenaz in the diaspora do not have kohanim duchan other than on yomim tovim. The chazzan says it otherwise. We only answer “Amen,” however, when kohanim say it (Orach Chayim 127:2, citing the Rambam, Hilchot Tefillah 15:10). One prayer recited during Birkat Kohanim is “Ribono shel olam,” which the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1, citing Berachot 55b) states should be saud by anyone who has a dream which he doesn’t understand.

We continue to discuss appropriate tefillot that can be recited by congregants during Birkat Kohanim.

* * *

We noted (see Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 130:1-7) that in the diaspora bnei Ashkenaz duchan only on festivals. The Mishnah Berurah, in his Bi’ur Halacha commentary (citing Machtzit Hashekel), presents the following interesting and very relevant question. We explained last week that everyone says the “Ribono shel olam” prayer concerning dreams during Birkat Kohanim since it is impossible that one has not dreamt in the months since the last festival. However, what about the second day of yom tov which we observe in the diaspora due to s’feika d’yoma? Surely, many people do not dream the night of the first day of the festival. Why, then, should they say “Ribono shel olam” prayer on the second day if they’ve already said it on the first day? The Mishnah Berurah notes that the common practice is for everyone to say “Ribono shel olam” on the second day as well and suggests that this is perhaps because of other people who may have dreamt about us. Hence, a person should not start from the beginning of “Ribono shel olam” and say “I dreamt a dream and I do not know what it relates.” Rather, he should start from “Yehi ratzon – May it be pleasing to You that all dreams…” since this section also talks of dreams that other people may have dreamt about us.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part IX)

Thursday, July 26th, 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. 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).

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 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). Bnei Ashkenaz in the diaspora do not have kohanim duchan other than on yomim tovim. The chazzan says it all other times. We only answer “Amen,” however, when kohanim say it (Orach Chayim 127:2, citing the Rambam, Hilchot Tefillah 15:10).

We now discuss the prayer “Ribbono Shel Olam” that the congregation recites during Birkat Kohanim.

* * * * *

Answer: The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1) states, “One who has a dream, and does not understand what he saw, should stand before the kohanim at the time they go up to the duchan and recite as follows: ‘Ribbono shel olam… Master of the world, I am yours and my dreams are yours.’ ”

The full text, as found in Berachot 55b, continues, “I dreamt a dream, and I do not know what it relates. Whether I dreamt regarding myself, or whether my fellow dreamt about me, or whether I dreamt about others – if the dreams are good, strengthen them and support them like the dreams of Joseph the righteous. If they are in need of healing, heal them like the waters of Marah that were healed through the hand of Moses our teacher and like Miriam [who was cured] from her tzora’at, like [King] Hezekiah [who was cured] from his sickness and like the waters of Jericho [that were healed] by Elisha. And just as You turned the curse of the wicked Balaam into a blessing, so turn all my dreams into something good for me.”

Music During The Nine Days (Part II)

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Question: Is it prohibited to listen to music in the privacy of one’s home (or car) during the Nine Days?

Answer: We noted last week that HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, Y.D. Vol. II:137) maintains that it is, indeed, forbidden. He actually maintains that Chazal banned public musical events throughout the entire year. What is prohibited specifically during the Nine Days is music in the privacy of one’s home.

The Rema (Orach Chayim 560:3) seems to argue that Chazal only prohibited music year-round for people who used to awake or retire with music (i.e. kings, and the like) and for people at a bet mishteh. Rav Feinstein, however, contends that this reading of the Rema is incorrect. Rather, according to Rav Feinstein, even the Rema prohibits public musical events throughout the year.

* * * * *

Bimchilat k’vodo, Rav Feinstein’s ruling is difficult to comprehend or follow. According to this ruling, it would be prohibited to attend any kind of musical concert throughout the year. Yet, except for perhaps g’dolei yisrael, hardly anyone makes a point of not attending concerts. It is difficult to suggest that the majority of k’lal yisrael is violating a basic halacha.

Accordingly, it seems logical that Chazal never prohibited all public musical events during the year. Rather, the prohibition is like the simple reading of the Rema and limited to people who used to awake or retire with music and for people at a bet mishteh.

Interestingly, in his Sha’ar HaTziyun (Orach Chayim 560:23), the Mishnah Berurah cites scholars who rule that the prohibition to listen to music at a bet mishteh is limited to drinking parties only. If anything other than drinks are served, there is no prohibition.

Based upon the logic of Rav Feinstein that the prohibition to listen to music during the Nine Days must be severer than the prohibition to listen to music year round, we may suggest that the extra prohibition during the Nine days covers all kinds of bet mishteh, even ones that serve more than drinks. Alternatively, the extra prohibition may cover all public musical events – regardless of whether food is served or not.

Hence, it’s possible that our sages never outlawed music in the privacy of one’s home (or car) during the Nine Days.

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, has written several works on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and Judaica stores.

Music During The Nine Days (Part I)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Question: Is it prohibited to listen to music in the privacy of one’s home (or car) during the Nine Days?

Answer: This issue has intrigued me for some time. HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l (Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah, II:137), rules that it is indeed prohibited.

He explains that after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, our sages enacted a number of ordinances to manifest a degree of sadness and mourning. One such decree was the prohibition to listen to music throughout the year. The Rema (Orach Chayim 560:3) contends that this prohibition applies only to people who formerly awoke in the morning and retired at night to the accompaniment of music, i.e., kings. In addition, the Rema notes that those in attendance at a beit mishteh were also included in the ban. The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 560:12) explains that this prohibition is due to the presence of wine at a beit mishteh.

All this suggests that a person who did not listen to music on a daily basis and did not attend a beit mishteh would be permitted to listen to music year-round. Rav Moshe, however, disagrees with this inference. He contends that even the Rema would prohibit Jews from attending public musical events during the year since one derives excessive simcha from such events.

If public music is thus forbidden year-round, what additional music were the rabbis prohibiting when they enacted the laws against music during the Nine Days? Perforce, they were prohibiting listening to music even in the privacy of one’s own home (or car).

(To Be Continued)

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, has written several works on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and Judaica stores.

Q & A: Tisha B’Av And Mourning

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Editor’s note: We interrupt our “Chazzan and Congregation” series for this timely discussion on Tisha B’Av. Part IX of “Chazzan and Congregation” will appear next week.

* * * * *

Question: I was taught that due to our state of mourning on Tisha B’Av, we are not allowed to learn or discuss Torah – a topic that makes us happy and weakens our mournful state. Why, then, are we allowed to read from the Torah at Shacharit and Mincha on Tisha B’Av? Also, does the halacha of not learning apply to a regular mourner as well?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: Yoreh De’ah 384:1 (based on Mo’ed Katan 15a) states, “During the entire seven-day period [of mourning], a mourner is forbidden to read from the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Mishnah, Gemara, halachot and aggadot – except if people need him to teach them. In such a case, it is permissible.”

We also find a similar ruling regarding Tisha B’Av, our national day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, as the Mechaber notes (Orach Chayim 554:1).

The reason behind the prohibition, according to the Shach (Orach Chayim ad loc.), is the verse in Psalms (19:9), “Pikudei Hashem yesharim mesamchei lev, mitzvat Hashem barah me’irat eynayim – The commands of Hashem are right; they gladden the heart. The commandment of Hashem is of such clarity that it enlightens the eyes.” Torah has the power of offering unique enjoyment and pleasure. A mourner in his bereavement is not supposed to enjoy this delight.

It is interesting to note that this Shach is at variance with the Mechaber who gives a different source for this halacha. He cites Mo’ed Katan 15a, where we learn that a mourner is prohibited to utter words of Torah since Hashem stated (Ezekiel 24:17), “He’anek dom – Sigh in silence.” Hashem only precluded Ezekiel from any manifestation of outward sorrow. All other people were supposed to publicly mourn, explains Rabbenu Chananel, explicating the position of our sages.

The Gemara (in Ta’anit 30a) states that all customary restrictions on an ordinary mourner during the seven days of mourning apply to the community as a whole on Tisha B’Av. However, there is a difference. On Tisha B’Av, one is prohibited from eating and drinking (Rashi s.v. “asur be’achila uvi’shetiya” explains that these two restrictions apply only to the mourning for the Temples’ destruction).

The Gemara in Ta’anit explains that one is prohibited from (washing and) anointing, donning (leather) shoes, and engaging in marital relations. One is also forbidden to read from the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, as well as halachot and aggadot. However, one is permitted to read material that he usually does not read. (Rashi s.v. “be’makom she’eino ragil likrot” explains that since this material is beyond the mourner’s familiarity and understanding, it actually causes him distress.) One may also read Kinot and Job and the elegies in Jeremiah.

Young schoolchildren – tinokot shel beit rabban – should remain idle (i.e., we do not study with them on Tisha B’Av), in accordance with the verse (Psalms 19:9), “Pikudei Hashem yesharim mesamchei lev – The commands of Hashem are right; they gladden the heart.” R. Yehuda disagrees and states that the learning restrictions apply even to material that one is unfamiliar with. The only exceptions to the no-learning rule, he maintains, are Job, Kinot, and the elegies in Jeremiah.

In any event, we see that both verses apply: the verse from Ezekiel as well as the verse from Psalms.

Regarding the reading of the Torah in shul on Tisha B’Av during Shacharit and Mincha, the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 554:4) writes as follows: “One is permitted to read the complete order of the day [i.e., the order of the daily prayer service] as well as the portion of the korbanot, the Mishnah of Ezehu Mekoman (Tractate Zevachim, chapter 5) and the midrash of Rabbi Yishmael (Beraita, in Sifra). (The latter three constitute the portion of tefillah referred to collectively as korbanot.)

The Rema adds that one is allowed to review the parshah on Tisha B’Av. However, both the Ba’er Heiteiv and Mishna Berurah (ad loc.) note that this applies only to the chazzan, who reads the Torah publicly for the congregation. His reading and advance preparation are obviously considered tzorech ha’tzibbur (a public need).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-tisha-bav-and-mourning/2012/07/18/

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