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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld


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ROSH HASHANAH 34 - Dedicated by Andy & Nancy Neff in memory of Leah Miriam bat Yisroel -- Lucy Rabin, beloved wife of Sidney Rabin and mother of Nancy Neff and Valerie, Doug and Andy Rabin, who passed away on 14 Sivan 5767.


QUESTION: The Gemara explains that a Hekesh which associates Rosh Hashanah with Yom Kippur is the source for blowing the sound of the Teru'ah on Rosh Hashanah as well as a Teki'ah before and after the Teru'ah. However, the source for blowing three sets of these blasts is derived from a Gezeirah Shavah to Yom Kippur.

The Gemara asks why a Gezeirah Shavah is necessary to teach the third Halachah; the Hekesh itself should suffice to teach that Halachah. The Gemara answers that the Hekesh indeed is not necessary, and everything derived from the Hekesh can be learned from the Gezeirah Shavah. The Gemara mentioned the Hekesh as the source for these Halachos only to teach that had there been no Gezeirah Shavah, the Halachos would have been derived from a Hekesh.

If all of these Halachos indeed may learned from the Hekesh, why does the Torah need to teach the Gezeirah Shavah at all? (According to RASHI here, the benefit of deriving the Halachos from a Hekesh is that no tradition is needed to derive a Halachah through a Hekesh, and thus with a Hekesh there is no need to ensure the transmission from Moshe Rabeinu of a specific Gezeirah Shavah to teach these Halachos. See Insights to Menachos 82:2.)


(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR, TUREI EVEN and others answer that although the Hekesh could have served as the source for the requirement to blow a Teru'ah as well as the requirement to blow a Teki'ah before and after the Teru'ah, it could not have served as the source for the third Halachah, the number of sets of blasts. The Hekesh does not compare the number of Teru'os blown on Rosh Hashanah with those blown on Yovel. It compares only the nature of the blast that must be blown. As far as the number of blasts is concerned, we would have assumed that one set is blown on Yovel and two sets on Rosh Hashanah, as the verses imply. Therefore, the Hekesh does not suffice and the Gezeirah Shavah is necessary.

(b) RASHI (DH ul'Sof) disagrees and says that even the number of Teki'os can be derived from the Hekesh.

Why is a Gezeirah Shavah necessary if the law is already known through the Hekesh?

The answer might be as follows. The Gemara in Gitin (41b) teaches that "a Gezeirah Shavah is stronger than a Hekesh." Rashi there (DH d'Chulei Alma) explains that a Gezeirah Shavah is a stronger source for a Torah law because the tradition passed down from Sinai teaches that the words used in the Gezeirah Shavah were written specifically to teach this Halachah. Consequently, the Halachah derived from a Gezeirah Shavah is considered written explicitly in the Torah. In contrast, a Hekesh, like a Kal v'Chomer, is a instrument of exegesis based on logic, and the law that it teaches is not considered written explicitly in the Torah, and thus it is a weaker source for a Torah law (although its law still is mid'Oraisa, like the law derived through a Gezeirah Shavah).

Whether a Halachah is derived from a Gezeirah Shavah or through a Hekesh is reflected in several practical differences. A Hekesh (like a Kal v'Chomer) cannot be used to teach a punishment ("Ein Onshin Min ha'Din"), while a Gezeirah Shavah can be used to teach a punishment, since it is considered as though it is written in the Torah (Rashi ibid.). In the case of the Gemara here, no punishment is involved because the subject of the Hekesh is a Mitzvas Aseh (and not a prohibition). Nevertheless, a law learned from a Gezeirah Shavah is considered to be more stringent, whether it is a prohibition or a positive commandment, because it is "written explicitly in the Torah." It is for this reason that the Mesorah teaches the Gezeirah Shavah -- to give the Halachah a more stringent status. (A possible practical ramification in the case of a Mitzvas Aseh is that perhaps the Rabanan administer more Malkus Mardus to one who transgresses a law learned from a Gezeirah Shavah than to one who transgresses a law derived though a Hekesh.)

The Ba'al ha'Me'or rejects this approach and asserts that "it is known that a Hekesh is more stringent than a Gezeirah Shavah." His source for this statement is apparently the Gemara in Zevachim (48a) which reaches a similar conclusion, in contrast to the Gemara in Gitin cited above. TOSFOS in Zevachim points out the contradiction between the two Gemaros and proposes two solutions to resolve the contradiction. His two solutions disagree over which Sugya is the conclusive one. Apparently, Rashi and the Ba'al ha'Me'or disagree over which of Tosfos' two answers is correct. (M. KORNFELD)


QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that because of the doubt whether the Torah requires that a Teru'ah sound or a Shevarim sound be blown, Rebbi Avahu instituted that a "Shevarim-Teru'ah" sound be blown. This sound is preceded and followed by a Teki'ah, and thus the full "set" is "Teki'ah, Shevarim-Teru'ah, Teki'ah."

The Gemara questions what benefit is there in blowing a "Shevarim-Teru'ah" sound. If the Shevarim is the genuine sound that the Torah requires on Rosh Hashanah, then by blowing a Teru'ah between the Shevarim and Teki'ah one interrupts the Shofar blasts, and the blasts should not be valid.

What is the Gemara's question? Rebbi Yochanan (34b) says that one fulfills his obligation to blow the Shofar even if he hears nine blasts spread out over an entire day. An interruption in the blowing of the Shofar does not invalidate the Mitzvah. Why, then, is the Gemara bothered by Rebbi Avahu's enactment to blow a Teru'ah between the Shevarim and Teki'ah? An interruption does not invalidate the Mitzvah.


(a) TOSFOS (33b, DH Shi'ur) in the name of RABEINU TAM seems to understand that Rebbi Yochanan means that one fulfills the Mitzvah only b'Di'eved when there was an interruption in the blasts. The Gemara asks why Rebbi Avahu made an enactment to blow the Shofar l'Chatchilah with an interruption in the middle of the set of Shofar blasts.

(b) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR answers that another Tana argues with the opinion of Rebbi Yochanan. In Sukah (53b), Rebbi Yehudah rules that one should not interrupt at all between the sounds of the Shofar. Since Rebbi Yehudah argues with Rebbi Yochanan, the Gemara here asks why Rebbi Avahu made an enactment which is consistent only with the view of Rebbi Yochanan, who permits an interruption in the Shofar blasts. He should have taken into consideration the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah as well, who says that one may not blow with an interruption.

(c) The TALMIDEI RIVA cited by the RAMBAN (in Derashos) explain that talking or doing other actions between the Shofar blasts is not considered an interruption in the Teki'os. Blowing a Shofar sound which does not belong, on the other hand, is considered an interruption. This is the Gemara's asking on Rebbi Avahu.

Nevertheless, the Talmidei Riva assert that if one blows an extra sound which does belong in the set (such as extra Shevarim during the "Teki'ah, Shevarim, Teki'ah" set), that sound does not constitute an interruption because it is Min b'Mino.

(d) The RAMBAN himself (in Derashos) explains, like the Talmidei Riva, that only unnecessary Shofar blasts are considered an interruption, but not talking or other activities. He adds, however, that even an extra sound that does belong in the set (such as extra Shevarim during the "Teki'ah, Shevarim, Teki'ah" set), is considered an interruption when the Ba'al Toke'a pauses to take a breath before he blows it. (His pause indicates that the sound he blows afterwards is a not a continuation of the original Shevarim but rather a second, unconnected one.) A set of blasts is not considered full when there are extra sounds added to the set. One is permitted to add extra Shevarim only when one does not take a breath between the blasts (because in such a case all of the blasts are considered one long Shevarim).


Throughout the Gemara's lengthy description of the manner in which the Shofar is blown, no mention is made of the universally-accepted practice to blow 100 blasts on Rosh Hashanah. What is the source for our practice?

The development of the current custom can be traced back to its original sources.

(a) 9 blasts -- As the Gemara says, the number of Teki'os which the Torah requires is only nine: three "Teru'os," each of which is preceded by and followed by a Teki'ah, for a total of nine sounds.

(b) 27 blasts -- The Gemara relates that because of the doubt whether the Torah requires that a Teru'ah sound or a Shevarim sound be blown, Rebbi Avahu instituted that the three "Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah" sets which the Torah requires be repeated three times, each with a different type of Teru'ah (the first three sets are blown with the sound we call "Teru'ah," the second three sets are blown with the sound we call "Shevarim," and the final three sets are blown with the sound we "Shevarim-Teru'ah"). This enactment triples the total number to 27 sounds.

(c) 30 -- However, since these series of blasts includes three "Shevarim-Teru'ah" sounds (a double sound), most Poskim count them as a total of 30 sounds and not 27. The ROSH mentions that whether they are counted as 27 or 30 sounds depends on whether one is supposed to take a breath between the Shevarim and Teru'ah of the "Shevarim-Teru'ah" (see Chart to 33b, footnote 8).

(d) 40 -- The Gemara (16b) says that in addition to the set of Teki'os blown "Meyushav" before the Shemoneh Esreh of Musaf, a set of Teki'os "Me'umad" is blown during the Chazan's repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh. The RIF here explains that aside from the full set of 30 sounds blown before Shemoneh Esreh, another ten sounds are blown during the Chazan's repetition ("Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah," "Teki'ah-Shevarim-Teki'ah," and "Teki'ah-Shevarim-Teru'ah-Teki'ah"). This extra set brings the total number to 40 sounds. This is the way the SHE'ILTOS describes the Teki'os, and the Rishonim also mention that the commonly accepted practice in most places in their times was to blow 40 sounds. The RA'AVAN suggests that these 40 blasts allegorically correspond to the 40 days during which the Torah was given, during which the blast of the Shofar was constantly heard.

TOSFOS questions this practice. The Gemara (16b, 34b) says that the primary Teki'os are those blown during the blessings of the Shemoneh Esreh of Musaf. According to the practice of blowing ten Teki'os during the Shemoneh Esreh, the blessing of Malchiyos contains only one set with "Shevarim-Teru'ah," the blessing of Zichronos contains only one set with "Shevarim," and the blessing of Shofros contains only one set with "Teru'ah." Accordingly, this practice does not resolve Rebbi Avahu's doubt, because a valid set of Shofar blasts is not blown for each of the three blessings. Only one of the three blessings is accompanied by a correctly-blown set of Shofar blasts! We should be required to blow a set of 30 Teki'os for each of the blessings of Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros.

The Rishonim offer various answers to the question of Tosfos.

1. TOSFOS says that perhaps the Torah requires that the Shofar be blown for only one of the three blessings of Musaf and not for all three. Consequently, the Rabanan did not require that we blow a full set (of 30 Teki'os) for each blessing, since even with a set of ten sounds we fulfill the Torah obligation and blow a proper Teru'ah for at least one of the three blessings.

2. The BA'AL HA'ME'OR cites a Teshuvah of RAV HAI GA'ON (see also RABEINU CHANANEL) who answers that there really is no argument over what is considered a Teru'ah. All three sounds are acceptable mid'Oraisa as a Teru'ah. For this reason, different communities blew different Teru'os before Rebbi Avahu's enactment. Rebbi Avahu did not make his enactment to resolve a doubt. Rather, he enacted that all three types of Teru'ah be blown so that all of the different segments of Jewry would have a uniform practice and would not appear to be in disagreement. Therefore, every set (with a different type of Teru'ah) is valid.

3. The RIF answers that mid'Oraisa it is not necessary to blow the Shofar during the Shemoneh Esreh at all. Since the Shofar was already blown, and the extra blasts during Shemoneh Esreh are only in order to confound the Satan (see Insights to Rosh Hashanah 16b), the Rabanan did not trouble us to blow a full set for each blessing of Musaf.

(e) 42 -- RABEINU TAM is not satisfied with any of the above answers. He recommends instead that the common practice (of his time) of blowing 40 sounds should be slightly altered so that a single set of "Teki'ah, Shevarim-Teru'ah, Teki'ah" is blown for each of the three blessings, rather than three different sets (with different Teru'os) for the three blessings. Even if Shevarim-Teru'ah is not the "Teru'ah" of the Torah, but rather Shevarim or Teru'ah alone is the correct way to blow, nevertheless one fulfills the Mitzvah b'Di'eved (albeit with a "Hefsek" in the middle of the set; see (a) of previous Insight) by blowing in this manner, because Shevarim-Teru'ah includes both Shevarim and Teru'ah. The extra two blasts added by Rabeinu Tam bring the total to 42 sounds. This is the practice endorsed by the REMA (OC 590).

(f) 60 -- The ARUCH (Erech "Arav"), cited by Tosfos (33b), writes that in the Chazan's repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh there should be a total of 30 blasts and not 10. We should be required to blow a full set of ten Teki'os for each of the three blessings of Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros, so that the proper Teru'ah sound will certainly be blown. Accordingly, 60 Teki'os should be blown (the 30 of the Chazan's Shemoneh Esreh, and the first 30 blown before the Shemoneh Esreh).

The practice to blow 60 sounds was adopted by the RITZBA (cited by the SEMAK #91). The SHELAH HA'KODESH (Maseches Rosh Hashanah, Amud ha'Din) also supports this opinion, as the MISHNAH BERURAH mentions (OC 592:4). According to this opinion, one should blow a full, ten-Teki'ah set ("T-S-TR-T, T-TR-T, T-S-T") set for each of the three blessings (this is the practice of most Ashkenazi communities today).

(The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 590) also mentions the practice to blow 30 Teki'os during the Musaf Shemoneh Esreh, but he counts those blasts differently. He suggests that three sets of "T-S-TR-T" be blown for Malchiyos, three sets of "T-S-T" be blown for Zichronos, and three sets of "T-T-T" be blown for Shofros. This is a unique opinion, the source of which is unclear. What is the purpose of blowing these extra sounds when this manner of blowing does not resolve the question of the Rishonim mentioned in (d) above? It seems that his source is of Kabalistic nature and is based on the writings of the PRI ETZ CHAIM in his section on Musaf of Rosh Hashanah.)

(g) 61 -- The BA'AL HA'ME'OR gives a completely different explanation for when the Teki'os are blown and how the extra Teki'os confound the Satan. He writes that no Teki'os are blown before the Shemoneh Esreh of Musaf. Rather, when the Gemara says that the first set of Teki'os are blown "Meyushav," it refers to the Teki'os during the Chazan's repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh, when the people may be seated. When it says that the second set of Teki'os are blown "Me'umad," it means that extra Teki'os are blown when the people "stand up" to leave the synagogue (when Musaf is over). He asserts that this was the moment at which every individual used to blow the Shofar in Yavneh (30a; there is support for this view in the words of the Aruch as well). The Chazan would blow a long Teru'ah at that point, called a "Teru'ah Gedolah," to confound the Satan by reminding him of the great Teki'ah at the time of Techiyas ha'Mesim (see Tosfos 16b, DH Kedei). The total number of Shofar blasts, including this extra Teki'ah at the end of the prayers, is 61.

(The custom to add an extra "Teru'ah" is mentioned by other Rishonim as well. Tosfos cites RAV AMRAM GA'ON, who favors the practice of blowing 30 blasts before Musaf and another 10 during the Chazan's repetition (see (d) above), adds a final Teru'ah sound after the Chazan's repetition. See Seder Rav Amram Ga'on, Seder Rosh Hashanah.)

(h) 100 -- The ARUCH himself writes that the custom is to blow a total of 100 Teki'os. These 100 blasts correspond to the 100 wails that Sisera's mother cried when her son did not return from his attack against the Jews. The Gemara earlier (33b) derives the definition of a Teru'ah from the "Yevava" (cry) of Sisera's mother (Shoftim 5:28).

The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (Parshas Tazria) cites another allegorical source for the custom to blow 100 blasts. The Midrash (Vayikra Rabah 27:7) says that when a woman gives birth, she cries out 100 times. Her first 99 cries are due to her fear that she is about to die, and her final cry is due to her realization that she is going to live after all. Similarly, 100 Teki'os are blown on Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment: the first 99 are blown out of fear of the judgment of the day, while the final blast is due to our confidence that Hash-m will judge us favorably and bless us with life.

According to the Aruch, the extra 40 sounds are blown as follows: 30 during the silent Shemoneh Esreh, and 10 at the end of the prayers (after the Chazan's repetition before the people leave the synagogue).

The Aruch's source for the number of wails of Sisera's mother is not clear. Apparently, he had a Midrashic source which we no longer have. We may ask, however, why should the wails of a non-Jewish woman, the mother of an enemy of the Jewish people, serve as the source for the custom to blow 100 blasts?

1. Some suggest that the Aruch does not mean that the wails of Sisera's mother is the source for the custom to blow 100 blasts. Rather, the Aruch means that when Sisera's mother cried for her son, her heart-rending cries were so deeply felt that they were able to arouse Din (strict justice) against the Jewish people throughout the generations. This Din is offset by the 100 Shofar blasts of Rosh Hashanah which arouse the Jewish people to repent from the depths of their hearts.

2. It also possible that the Aruch proves from the mother of Sisera merely that it is common for a person to wail 100 times when the life of someone dear to him is at stake (whether the person wailing is Jewish or not). The 100 Shofar blasts arouse a person to wail 100 times for his and his family's well-being.

3. Perhaps the Aruch actually maintains that Sisera's mother wailed only 99 times, and not 100 times. When he says that the 100 Shofar blasts of Rosh Hashanah correspond to the 100 wails of Sisera's mother, he means the 100 wails that she could have cried and thereby merited that her prayers be answered. Had she wailed 100 times, her prayers might have been answered and Sisera would have been saved. This understanding is consistent with the Midrash mentioned above which says that a woman during childbirth cries 99 times in fear of death, and upon her final, 100th cry, she is saved and granted life. We blow 100 blasts in order to correspond to the 100th, life-redeeming wail which Sisera's mother could have wailed but did not. If it is true that the Aruch understands that she wailed only 99 times, then perhaps a source may be suggested for the Aruch's Derashah: The verse says that Sisera's mother wailed as she peered "b'Ad ha'Chalon." The Gematria of the word "ha'Chalon" is 99.


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