Rav Moshe Twerski zt”l Hy”d on the Parsha


moshe-twerski1By Rabbi Yehoshua Berman


1) Love of Torah

2) Machlokes Baal Ha’Maor and Milchamos if malchiyos zichronos and shofaros were originally in all of the teffilos of Rosh Ha’Shana

3) Why does there have to be a combination of brachos?

4) Connection between Shiras Chana and Rosh Ha’Shana

5) Malchiyos zichronos and shofaros: integral part of musaf or an addendum?


1) Love of Torah

פתח רבי יהודה בכבוד תורה ודרש “הסכת ושמע ישראל היום הזה נהיית לעם” (כז:ט)…ללמדך שחביבה תורה על לומדיה בכל יום ויום כיום שנתנה מהר סיני (ברכות סג:)

“One zman, I was selling Gemara’s to Rebbeim and bachurim in the Yeshiva.  The Rebbeh was one of the many people who came to buy a Gemara.  After he paid, I handed him the Gemara and said, ‘Enjoy!’  The Rebbeh looked at me with a huge smile and a warm sparkle in his eyes, and replied, ‘Nowthat is a great bracha; thank you!”

(Reb Asher Rosen)

“I remember, when learning Maseches Yoma with the Rebbeh, that on daf tes-zayin, Rashi has a very lengthy discussion about the precise location of the mizbeiach.  Rashi suggests various possibilities, discussing the various angles, proofs and counter-proofs for about thirty lines.

The Rebbeh turned to me with sheer, unabashed excitement and said, ‘On some of the most difficult topics in Shas, Rashi provides just a few words of explanation.  Here, though, he goes on and on.  This is gufei Torah!’

The Rebbeh’s excitement really rubbed off on me, and I felt imbued with a surge of love and appreciation for what I may have otherwise taken as a mere nuance: the exact location of the mizbeiach within the Beis Ha’Mikdash.  This was an unforgettable lesson about how to appreciate Torah knowledge and be able to identify what is gufei Torah in particular.”

(Reb Avrohom Rudner)


2) Machlokes Baal Ha’Maor and Milchamos if malchiyos zichronos and shofaros were originally in all of the teffilos of Rosh Ha’Shana

The Baal Ha’Maor writes that, really, all the teffilos of Rosh Ha’Shana should include malchiyos zichronos and shofaros and thus have nine brachos; not just musaf.  He brings as his proof the Gemara in Brachos that delineates the source for a regular shmoneh esrei having eighteen brachos, the shmoneh esrei of Shabbos having seven brachos, and the shmoneh esrei of Rosh Ha’Shana having nine.  Just like all the teffilos of a regular day have the full eighteen brachos and all the teffilos of Shabbos have seven brachos; so too asserts the Baal Ha’Maor, do all the teffilos of Rosh Ha’Shana have nine brachos.  He avers that accepted practice is not like that, and must not be changed, but this is what he holds was really the takanah of Chazal.

The Milchamos rejects this statement of the Baal Ha’Maor with the following kashya: if the takanah of Chazal was to have every shmoneh esrei of Rosh Ha’Shana include malchiyos zichronos and shofaros and thus be comprised of nine brachos, then there should have also been tekias shofar by every teffilah, yet the Mishna on 32a says explicitly that only by musaf do we blow the shofar!

In fact, the Baal Ha’Maor himself addresses this point, albeit tersely, by saying, “even though we only blow shofar by musaf”.  What the Baal Ha’Maor meant by that is this: on Rosh Ha’Shana we have two separate, independent chiyuvim.  We have one chiyuv of teffilah, and a second, separate chiyuv of tekias shofar.  Just what?  Chazal had to pick a time for the shofar to be blown, so they picked musaf as the best time (for reasons that are discussed in the Gemara).  But, inherently, they are two completely separate chiyuvim.  According to the Baal Ha’Maor, most probably the obligation to blow the shofar al seider ha’brachos – together with malchiyos zichronos and shofaros – is d’Rabbanan.  But it could be that it is d’Oraysah. Either way, though, according to the Baal Ha’Maor it is not that the tekias shofar is coming to enhance the brachos of malchiyos zichronos and shofaros; it is not a combined fulfillment of the mitzvah.  Rather, musaf is simply the appointed zman for the mitzvah of tekias shofar.

Rashi, who holds that malchiyos zichronos and shofaros are inextricably bound up with tekias shofar as one enhanced, combined kiyum mitzvah d’Oraysah (see last week’s write-up -ed.-) clearly cannot hold like the Baal Ha’Maor.

As mentioned, the Ramban in Milchamos does hold that the fact that there is tekias shofar only by musaf is a kashya on the Baal Ha’Maor; so why is that?  Why did he reject the Baal Ha’Maor’s teirutz to the kashya? (See last week’s write-up why it cannot be like Rashi -ed.-).

It is as follows: Our current-day minhag is that we blow a tashrat (= tekiah, shevarim-teruah, tekiah), a tashat (= tekiah, shevarim, tekiah), and a tarat (= tekiah, teruah, tekiah) by all three brachos, malchiyos zichronos and shofaros.  But this minhag of ours is relatively recent, from only a few hundred years ago.  Most Rishonim, though, did not do this.  Their minhag was to blow one tashrat for malchiyos, one tashat for zichronos, and one tarat for shofaros.  A major question on this older minhag that the Rishonim deal with is this: if tashrat is the right way, then zichronos and shofaros don’t have a proper tekias shofar, if tashat is the right way, then malchiyos and shofaros don’t have a proper tekias shofar, and if tarat is the right way, then malchiyos and zichronos do not have a tekias shofar?!  In other words, it is mutually exclusive.  So what is the pshat in such a minhag (which, as mentioned, was the minhag of most Rishonim)?

There are different approaches.  The Ramban’s approach to resolve this quandary is this: Really, the tekios with which we are fulfilling the mitzvah of “yom teruah yihiyeh lachem” – the mitzvah of tekias shofar on Rosh Ha’Shana – are those that we blow before musaf (otherwise known as tekios d’meyushav). The tekios that we blow during musaf al seider ha’brachos are actually not an extension of “yom teruah yihiyeh lachem”. Rather, those tekios are of a completely different type.  Mi’dinah d’Gemara, when there are certain tzaros, there is supposed to be a whole seider of taaniyos, and on the full-fledged taaniyos, six brachos are added to the shmoneh esrei.  Those brachos are accompanied by tekias shofar.  Those tekios are not a mitzvah in of themselves; they are an appendage to the seider ha’teffilah.  There is a chiyuv – m’d’Rabbanan, perhaps even m’d’Oraysah – to blow the shofar b’eis tzarah.  The tekios blown together with the six extra brachos on taaniyos are part of the teffilah.  So too, holds the Ramban, are the tekios that we blow together with malchiyos zichronos and shofaros on Rosh Ha’Shana.  They are not part of the mitzvah of tekiash shofar of “yom teruah yihiyeh lachem”, but a part of teffilah just like by taaniyos.  They are chovas ha’brachos, in the words of the Ramban.  That being the case, concludes the Ramban, it doesn’t matter whether you do tashrat, tashat, or tarat.  For teffilah’dikeh tekios, all forms are sufficient.

Now that we understand the Ramban’s premise in understanding the nature of the tekios during musaf, it becomes clear why he held that the fact that the Mishna says that tekias shofar on Rosh Ha’Shana is only during musaf is an unanswerable kashya on the Baal Ha’Maor.  Unlike the Baal Ha’Maor who holds that the tekios and the teffilah are two, completely separate chiyuvim, the Ramban holds that they necessarily go together.  So, if the takanah of Chazal would have been to have malchiyos zichronos and shofaros in every shmoneh esrei of Rosh Ha’Shana, there would have also been tekias shofar as well, since those tekios are “chovas ha’bracha”.  Therefore, the Ramban l’shitaso categorically rejects the statement of the Baal Ha’Maor and says that from the fact that the tekios are only in musaf, we see that malchiyos zichronos and shofaros are also only in musaf.


3) Why does there have to be a combination of brachos?

There is a machlokes Tannaim (on 32a) if malchiyos is joined with the bracha of kedushas ha’Sheim or with the bracha of kedushas ha’yom.  There is a third shitah that holds it is zichronos that is joined with kedushas ha’yom.  But there is a basic question here?  Why the need for this “juggling act”? Why not just make malchiyos its own separate bracha and have ten brachos in the musaf of Rosh Ha’Shana?

The answer is very straightforward.  Our beginning point is seven brachos, like by every Yomtov.  The first three, last three, and the middle of kedushas ha’yom.  But, we have a derasha from “shabbason zichron teruah” that we need to add three brachos: malchiyos, zichronos, and shofaros.  However, that would tally up to ten, which we cannot do since the Gemara in Brachos says that we learn out from the eleven times Hashem’s name is mentioned in shiras Chana that there are nine brachos.  Therefore, we have no choice but to combine one of the the three with one of the pre-existing seven.


4) Connection between Shiras Chana and Rosh Ha’Shana

The fact that the Gemara learns out the nine brachos of musaf on Rosh Ha’Shana from shiras Chana indicates that there is an inherent relationship between the two.  The simple way of understanding this is that shiras Chana expresses the different facest of how malchus Shamayim is revealed in the world (e.g. “meimis u’mechayeh, “morish u’maashir”, etc.) and culminates with melech ha’Mashiach – “v’yareim keren meshicho”.  This is the central theme of Rosh Ha’Shana: “meloch al kol ha’olam kulo bi’chvodecha”.


5) Malchiyos zichronos and shofaros: integral part of musaf or an addendum?

The last sugyah in maseches Rosh Ha’Shana is about if the shatz (= shaliach tzibur) can be motzi everyone in shmoneh esrei.  Rabban Gamliel holds yes, even when it comes to the regular shmoneh esrei of the whole year, and the Chachamim hold no, even on Rosh Ha’Shana.  The Gemara paskens that the rest of the year we hold like the chachamim, and on Rosh Ha’Shana like Rabban Gamliel.

The Baal Ha’Maor writes that he remembers from his youth that the tzibur used to daven a regular yomtov musaf of seven brachos for the silent shmoneh esrei, and then they would listen to the shatz’s musaf which would have the full nine brachos with malchiyos zichronos and shofaros.  Later, the minhag changed, and now everyone davens the full nine-bracha musaf themselves.

Let’s ask a question.  Someone knows the first three and last three brachos of shmoneh esrei, but he doesn’t know the middle bracha of Shabbos, for example.  But he doesn’t want to just be yotzei from the shatz.  He wants to daven as much as he can by himself.  So he wants to daven a shmoneh esrei of six brachos – the first and last three – and then he’ll listen to chazaras ha’shatz in order to get the middle bracha of Shabbos.  Can he do that?  The answer is that b’pashtus no, he cannot do that.  There is a minimum structure that you need for the teffilah to be considered a teffilah, less than which it cannot be halachikally defined as a unit of teffilah.  That unit is comprised of a beginning, middle, and end.  The beginning and middle are always consistent: the first three brachos and the last three brachos.  The middle is subject to change.  During the week it is comprised of the 12/13 brachos of bakashos. And on Shabbos, etc. it is comprised of the one bracha of kedushas ha’yom.  But without a middle, it is not a cheftza of teffilah and the six brachos that he said by themselves are, b’pashtus, brachos l’vatalah.  The basic, minimum unit of teffilah is an indivisible whole that cannot be divided.

That being the case, what is pshat in the early minhag that the Baal Ha’Maor describes?  How could they split up the musaf of Rosh Ha’Shana like that by davening only seven brachos themselves during the silent teffilah?  The answer is that they must have held that the addition of malchiyos zichronos and shofaros is just that, an addition.  A hosafa.  Not part of the basic unit of musaf.  In other words, they held that on Rosh Ha’Shana there is a double, compounded chiyuv: 1) to daven musaf just like on any other Yomtov, and 2) to insert a hosafa into that musaf of malchiyos zichronos and shofaros.  Since the two are inherently separate chiyuvim, they can be split up.

This is similar to the shitah of the Bahag by yaaleh v’yavoh. The Bahag holds that even a baki can daven a regular shmoneh esrei on Rosh Chodesh and then afterwards fulfill his obligation to say yaaleh v’yavo by listening to chazaras ha’shatz.  The reason for this is that yaaleh v’yavo was not enacted as an integral part of what comprises the teffilah on Rosh Chodesh; rather, Chazal enacted a chiyuv to add a hazkarah of the day into that teffilah.  Therefore, they can be split up.

From the previous Baal Ha’Maor that we mentioned – that he holds that the ikar takanah was to have malchiyos zichronos and shofaros in every teffilah of Rosh Ha’Shana – we may have been inclined to understand that malchiyos zichronos and shofaros are an integral part of the basic, minimum teffilah-unit. But from this Baal Ha’Maor we see that according to the early minhag it is not like that; they held that malchiyos zichronos and shofaros is a hosafah.  Since the basic chiyuv of musaf on Rosh Ha’Shana is essentially no different than any other Yomtov, they could not be yotzei with the shatz.  The Gemara said that we hold like Rabban Gamliel (that the shatz can be motzi everyone) only on Rosh Ha’Shana.  It is only the chiyuv which is particular to Rosh Ha’Shana – namely the extra addition of malchiyos zichronos and shofaros – that one can be yotzei by listening to the shatz.  Therefore, they had no choice but to daven the basic musaf of seven brachos by themselves; and the addition of malchiyos zichronos and shofaros that they were able to be yotzei from the shatz, they did.  Perhaps because of “b’rov am hadras melech”.

But the Baal Ha’Maor writes that there was a change in the minhag, and that nowadays everyone davens the full nine brachos themselves.  He doesn’t mean that education improved and the subsequent generation was more well-versed in the machzor.  First of all, he makes it clear that the early minhag to which he was referring was something that took place in the Batei Medrash of the Geonim.  Obviously, there they were all bekiim and knew the machzor perfectly.  Furthermore, if it was simply a matter of better education, that would not be called a change in the minhag.

So what changed?  What changed is that the subsequent chachmei ha’dor held differently from their predecessors regarding the hagdarah of malchiyos zichronos and shofaros. The earlier Rishonim held that malchiyos zichronos and shofaros was a hosafah and therefore it was possible to split them up from the main body of the teffilah, but the later generation held that malchiyos zichronos and shofaros were enacted as an integral part of the essential makeup of the teffilas musaf on Rosh Ha’Shana and therefore cannot be separated from it.  That is why they all davened the full nine brachos.


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