Dear MBY Friends,
The following simanim “holes” remain to complete the halachos of RH in our study of the Mishna Berura together. As I mentioned last week, we are doing an abridged-version of these halachos, using the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch as our source. In this way, we are more likely to cover those aspects which are more relevant to our practice and to skip those which are not.
Here is the list of simanim we will cover in today’s abridged lesson, which will conclude our unit on RH – with Hashem’s help!
MBY 591:1-8 Musaf for an individual (abridged) MBY 592:1-4 Musaf b’Tzibur and the Shofar (abridged) MBY 593:1-2 Brachos and blowing (abridged)
MBY 596 (no title)
MBY 597:1-3 Fasting on Rosh Hashana
MBY 589 (no title)
MBY 599 (no title)
MBY 600:1-3 An egg laid on Rosh Hashanah, Kiddush MBY 601:1-2 The second night of Rosh Hashana
(Excerpted from KSA (Metzudah Edition) Siman 129 “Laws of Rosh Hashana”, pp. 295-304)
16) During the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei when the chazzan recites the prayer ‘Va’anachnu kor’im’ (“But we bow…”) it is customary for the congregation to say it along with him, and the people also bow and prostrate themselves, but they do not fall on their faces, except on YK, during the ‘Avoda’ (service of the Kohein Gadol/High Priest. (Footnote #15: It is our custom, however, that the people in the congregation do fall on their faces even on RH. We must be careful to place a mat, towel or another object on the floor because it is forbidden to fall on our faces directly on the floor. See Mishnah Berura 621:14 and 131:40.) The Chazzan also bows, but since he is forbidden to move from his place during the Shemoneh Esrei; therefore, he stands slightly removed from the ‘amud’/Chazzan’s stand so that he can fall to his knees without moving from his place, and those who stand near him help him stand up so that he will not have to move his feet. The ‘tekios’ (shofar blasts) during the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei should not be blown by the Chazzan unless he is sure that he will not be confused in his prayers as a result of it. (Footnote #16: In our time, since the Chazzan uses the siddur or machzor, he is considered as one who is sure not to become confused in his prayers. Mishna Berura 585:14. Ed. I’m glad, because I do both – with Hashem’s help!)
17) Regarding the ‘tekios’ in the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei, there are different customs regarding the number of sounds to be blown. Each community should maintain its custom. Regarding the ‘tekios’ at the conclusion of the prayers, there are also different customs. (Footnote #17: These tekios are blown in order to complete a hundred sounds.) After the conclusion of all the ‘tekios’, according to the local custom, the shofar should be hidden, and it should not be blown any more. Even a person wishing to officiate as ‘tokea’ (blower) on the second day of RH may not blow it on the first day in order to practice!
19) If you already fulfilled your obligation of blowing the shofar and you must blow it for other people, you may also say the brachos. Nevertheless it is more proper that the person who has to fulfill his obligation by virtue of listening to you blowing the shofar should say the brachos himself. If you blow the shofar for women, then, if you already fulfilled your obligation, you should not say the brachos, but the women should say the brachos, because, according to law, women are exempt from the mitzvah of shofar, since it is a positive mitzvah dependent on a particular time… (Ed. The fact that virtually all women make it their business, and go to great lengths, to hear the shofar, is a testiment to the great women of Israel who have taken this mitzvah upon themselves to fulfill it despite their exemption!)
20) When leaving the synagogue, you should walk unhurried and relaxed, happy and cheerful, confident that G-d has heard our prayers and the sounds of the shofar with compassion. You should eat and drink (in generous measure) enjoying the bountiful gifts of G-d. You should, nevertheless, take care not to overeat, and the fear of Hashem should be upon you. It is proper to study Torah at the table. After saying Birkas Hamazon (Grace after Meals) you should not go to sleep, but rather go to the synagogue and recite Tehillim with the congregation until Mincha. Only a person who has a headache may sleep a little before going to the synagogue. (Footnote #19: Ari z”l says that it is permitted to nap after midday. He adds that one who sits idle, not engaged in Torah study or reciting Tehillim, is considered as one who is asleep! - Mishnah Berura 583:9)
Ed: In this next halacha, you may learn new insights into the practice of Tashlich (read on for explanation), that you never knew…
21) After Mincha, you should go to a river (or stream) to recall the merit of the Akeida (Binding of Yitzchak), for the Midrash relates that when our Father Avraham went to the Akeida with his son, Yitzchak, Satan transformed himself into a river to deter him. But our Father Avraham, peace be upon him, walked into the river until the water reached his neck and said, “Deliver me, O G-d, for the waters have reached until my soul! (see Psalms 69:2)” There is another reason for this custom, for on this day we proclaim the Kingship of the Holy One, blessed is He, over us, and it was the custom to anoint kings near a river bank as a sign that their kingdom may endure without end. It is preferable that this river should be outside the city limits and it should contain fish (as a reminder that we are compared to living fish who are caught in a net. We too are caught in the net of death and judgment, and as a result we will be inclined to think more of repenting. Another reason is to symbolize that the evil eye shall have no power over us, just as it has no power over fish, and that we may be fruitful and multiply as the fish. Others say the reason is that fish have no eyelids, and their eyes are always open; the purpose is thus to arouse the compassion of the All-Seeing Eye above us!) If there is no river that contains fish, you may go to any river or to a well and you should recite the verses ‘Mi E-il Kamocha’ (“Who, Almighty, is like You etc.”), as it is written in the prayer books at the end of Tashlich, You should then shake the ends of your clothes, symbolizing your resolve to cast away your sins and to examine and scrutinize your ways from now on; so that your “clothes” will be white and innocent of all sin. (Ed. It is not necessary, nor advisable, to bring bread crumbs to Tashlich. In fact, there are halachic problems with feeding wild fish on Shabbos or Yom Tov, so it should not be done!) If the first day of RH is on Shabbos, you go to the stream for Tashlich on the second day.
23) The two days of RH are considered as one long day, and as one extended period of holiness. Therefore, the authorities differ whether in the Kiddush of the second night, or when lighting candles, or when blowing the shofar on the second day, you should say the bracha ‘Shehecheyanu’ or not. Some authorities say that since both days are one extended period of holiness and you already said Shehecheyanu on the first day, you need not say it again on the second day. (Ed. Unlike other Yomim Tovim in the Diaspora, as we have learned in the halachos of Yom Tov.) Therefore, it is the custom, when you recite the Kiddush on the second night (or when women light the candles on the second night), that a new fruit is placed on the table, in order that the Shehecheyanu in the Kiddush should also apply to the fruit. You might also put on a new garment (e.g. suit or expensive dress) and have in mind that the Shehecheyanu should apply to it as well. (Ed. This applies to the ‘tokea’ on the second day as well, unless the first day was Shabbos and this is the first day of shofar-blowing.) If you have neither a new fruit nor a new suit, it does not matter; you should still say Shehecheyanu in the Kiddush (and over candle-lighting, and shofar-blowing), for the halacha is decided according to the authorities who say that we must say Shehecheyanu on the second night…