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Vol 34.25 - Rosh HaShannah   Spanish French Audio  Video

Hebrew Text:

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Talmud-Rosh HaShannah   Rambam English-Shofar   Rambam-Shofar
Summary:

(5750) Debate between Rashi and Tosafot (Talmud Rosh HaShannah 34b) whether the Shofar sounds and blessings
preclude (Meakev) each other.

Debate in the bouundary of saying the passages of malchiot (kingship), zichronot (memories) and shofrot (shofars) and the two explanations (Ritva ibid) in the wording of Talmud there: "and through what? Through the shofar"

Two parables that are brought regarding the sounding of the Shofar -

The parable of the Baal Shem Tov from an only son of a king who travelled to a far off land etc"
And the parable in the Sefer Kedushas Levi of a wise man who recognized the king lost in the forest etc

Two ways in the reason for saying passages of shofrot (shofars)
 

Translation:

Talmud:
Rabbah said: G-d proclaimed: Recite before Me on New Year kingship, remembrance and shofar verses; kingship
verses to declare Me king over you; remembrance verses, that the remembrance of you may come before Me for good; and through what? Through the shofar.

IF ONE HAS SAID THE [NINE] BLESSINGS AND THEN PROCURES A SHOFAR, HE SOUNDS A TEKI'AH, TERU'AH, TEKI'AH. The reason is that he had no shofar to begin with. This shows that if he had a shofar to begin with, when he hears the blasts he must hear them during the recital of the blessings. R. Papa b. Samuel rose to say his prayer, and at the same time said to his attendant, When I give you a sign, blow the shofar for me. Said Raba to him: This rule was laid down only for a congregation. It has been taught to the same effect: ‘When he hears the blasts, he must hear them in order, and during the recital of the blessings. When does this hold good? In a congregation; but when not praying with the congregation he must hear them in order but not necessarily during the recital of the blessings.

If an individual has not blown [the shofar], another may blow it for him, but if an individual has not said the blessings another may not say them for him. It is a greater act of piety to hear the shofar than to say the blessings. Hence if there are two towns in one of which the shofar is being blown and in the other of which the blessings are being said, one should go rather to the place where they are blowing than to the place where they are saying the blessings’. Surely this is self-evident: the former precept is of Pentateuchal sanction, the latter [only] of Rabbinic! — It was necessary to state the rule, [to show that it still applies] even though he is certain of [finding an opportunity for] the latter and not certain of [finding an opportunity for] the former
 

The parable of the Baal Shem Tov:
An errant prince, an only son, traveled far from the palace. After many years had passed, the prince yearned to be reunited with his father, the king. However, by the time he returned to his native land, he had forgotten his mother tongue. From deep within his soul a cry emerged, a cry that - no matter how estranged the child - a father could understand. This fervent, broken-hearted plea of "Father, it is I, your only son, help me!" broke through the barriers separating father and son more eloquently than any words the prince might have uttered. At this moment, the king embraced the errant son.  


The parable of the wise man and the king.
A king once traveled to a great forest. He penetrated so deeply into the forest that he got lost and could not find the way home. In the depths of the woods he met simple peas­ants and asked them to lead him out of the forest, but they were unable to help him, for they had never heard of the great highway that led to the royal palace.

The king then found a wise and understanding man, and requested his aid. The sage discerned immediately that this was the king and his heart stirred within him. In his wisdom, he immediately led the king to the correct path, guided him to his royal palace and aided him until the king was finally restored his true honor and seated on his majestic throne. The rescuer, of course, found great favor with the king.

Time passed and the wise man acted improperly, angering the king. The king ordered that he be tried for violating the royal law. The man knew that he would be dealt with very severely. In great anxiety, he fell before the king and implored that he be granted one plea: before the trial and the subsequent judgment, he wished to be garbed in the very same clothing he had worn when the king first encountered him in the forest. The king, too, was to don the original clothing he had been wearing then.

The king acceded to this request. When the forest encoun­ter was re-enacted by their dressing in the original garments, the king vividly remembered the life-saving kindness of his rescuer. Great mercy was aroused within him as he recol­lected how he had been restored to the royal throne. With compassion and mercy, the king magnanimously forgave his rescuer and restored him to his place of high honor.




1. It is brought in tractate Rosh Hashanah (near the end 34b): “Our Rabbis taught: on New Year . . .the omission of one blast or one blessing is a bar to the others’. (i.e. that they are both necessary requirements) “What is the reason? — Rabbah said: G-d proclaimed: Recite before Me on New Year kingship, remembrance and Shofar verses; kingship verses to declare Me king over you; remembrance verses, that the remembrance of you may come before Me for good; and through what? Through the Shofar”

 
Rashi and Tosafot debate the explanation of the words of (above) Beraita: “The Tekiot and blessings are a bar to the others”
 
From the explanation of Rashi, who writes; “if he blessed but did not blow” it is implied that the blasts bar the blessings and also that the blessings bar the blasts
 
Whereas Tosafot (and also the Rosh and Ran) explain that “the blasts and blessings preclude each other”. Namely that the (different) blasts (themselves) preclude each other and the blessings preclude each other. For when one blesses the kingship, remembrance and Shofar sounds, he blesses them all or he should not make a blessing at all. And the same is regarding the Shofar sounds Tekiot, Shevarim and Teruot :  If one is proficient in all three, he should blast them and if not he should not blast. – However the blessings do not preclude the Shofar sounds (Tekiot) and the Shofar sounds do not bar the blessings.
 
[Rambam and Raavad have the same debate. Rambam explicitly writes that the “blessings do not bar the Tekiot and the Tekiot do not bar the blessings”. But Raavad avers that “the [the balsts’ of Rosh Hashanah do bar each other” and his intent is like that of Rashi that the “blessings bar the Tekiot and the Tekiot bar the blessings”]
 
It appears simply, that this debate is dependent on the continued explanation of the Talmud (the reason for this law) ““What is the reason? etc. . Recite before Me on New Year kingship, remembrance and Shofar verses; kingship etc remembrance etc and “through what? Through the Shofar”
 
For in the culmination of the statement: “through what? Through the Shofar” the Ritva writes: “That it applies to all of them. How is one able to crown and to mention their remembrances before Me, with the Shofar . . and that is why we also sound the Teruot in the kingship (verses) etc”
 
And he asks that no reason has yet been given for the Shofar verses”. And he answers in two ways:
 
1.       That it is not necessary (to give a reason for the Shofar verses) for it is obvious. For since there is a Shofar there are also Shofar verses”
 
2.        “Through what? Through the Shofar” refers to the Shofar verses. For the “blessings of Shofrot are refer to the Shofar. For even when one does not possess a Shofar one mentions it and designates a blessing for it, and this is the wording of the Tosefta that explains that Shofrot are in order that your prayers arise with the Teruah (sound).
 
In other words, through the mentioning of Teruah – the explanation of “through what? through the Shofar”  is that through the saying of the Shofar verses, the prayers arise (of kingship and remembrance) before G-d.
 
We therefore see that there are two ways to explain “Through what? Through the Shofar”:
 
1.       According to the first explanation, the intent is to explain the reason that they are dependent on the kingship and remembrance – And the reason is that:  “Through what? Through the Shofar” (“and how is one able to crown Him and to mention etc (with the sounds) of the Shofar)
 
2.       According to the second explanation this is reason for saying the Shofar verses ( for through saying the Shofar verses ( “the mentioning of Teruah”), your prayers arise”)
 
And this is dependent of the debate above in the “the blasts and the blessings. . preclude each other”
 
1.       Whether the “blasts bar the blessings and also that the blessings bar the blasts”
 
2.       Or that the intent is “that the blasts (themselves) preclude each other and the blessings preclude each other:
 
The reason that Rashi (and also Raavad) explain that the blessings preclude the blasts (and also the blasts the blessings) is because he explains “Through what? Through the Shofar” literally - that it refers to the sounding of the Shofar (like the first explanation above).
 
For according to this explanation, we find that the intent of this Beraita is to stress (also) the dependence of the blessings on the sounds. For “how” does the saying of the verses of kingship and remembrance accomplish their task- through the “Shofar” (which is why we sound the Shofar when mentioning Kingship and remembrance). And this is the reason that the blasts and blessings preclude each other – In other words they preclude each other because the effect of the blessings (“and through what”) is “with the Shofar”
 
However, Tosfot (and other Rishonim)
 
who hold that only the blessings preclude each other, and that only the sounds preclude each other ( not (like Rashi) that the blasts bar the blessings and also that the blessings bar the blasts),
 
opine that even the conclusion of the Beraita: “and Through what? Through the Shofar” is a reason for reciting the Shofar verses. We thus find that the intent of Beraita is only to explain the reason for saying the verses of Kingship , remembrance and Shofrot ( and the connection between these three types of blessings) – And this is the reason that the three blessings preclude each other.
 

 
2. One could say that the source of this debate – whether “Through what? Through the Shofar” refers to the sounding of the Shofar or if it is a reason for saying the Shofar verses – resides in the (nature) boundary of saying the verses, in general. For they can be explained in two ways:
 
1.       Saying the verses, themselves, is an act that causes G-d to rule over Yisroel and remember them for good. This is like the simple statement of the Sages: “Recite before Me etc kingship verses in order to declare Me king over you; remembrance verses, in order that the remembrance of you may come before Me for good”.  This is (also) similar to the maxim: “Whoever learns the laws of the Olah offering etc is as if he offered the Olah offering.
 
Or one could say, this is according to what is explained by the Sages on the verse: “He relates His word to Jacob etc” – That G-d fulfils (as it were) what is written in His Torah. Thus the reciting of the kingship verses etc is in effect a legal ruling of Torah (“psak din”) that there must be the aspect of kingship and aspect of remembrance (and G-d must comply with this)
 
2.       The essential aspect of “to declare Me king over you” and “the remembrance of you may come etc” is effected through the supplications and prayers of Bnei Yisroel -   (e.g.) “rule over the world etc”, “remember us etc”  –
 
But the reciting of the kingship and remembrance verses is just to bring a “proof” from Torah concerning these aspects.
 
One of the differences between these two methods is in the aspect of the Shofar verses. For it is simple that the main effect [of the aspect] of the Shofar is not (accomplished) through saying the Shofar verses, but through (actually) sounding the Shofar.
 
Therefore: According to the first method, that the reciting of the Kingship and remembrance verses themselves effect the coronation of G-d and the raising of our remembrance before Him, one must say that saying the Shofar verses is of a different category
 
(than that of the Kingship and remembrance verses)
 
 in that they [ the Shofar verses] are recited just as a secondary backup to the (actual) sounding of the Shofar .
(like the wording of the Ritva above, that “since there exists a Shofar, there also exists Shofar verses)
 
However, if the recitation of the verses of Kingship and remembrance are also only to bring a “proof”
 
to the supplication ad prayer of “declare Me . . . king over you . . the remembrance of you may come etc” –
 
then even the recitation of the Shofar verses is in that same vein and category, that we are bringing a proof from Torah of the effect of the “blasts” (Shofrot)
 
 
According to this there is a difference between the two explanations of “Through what? Through the Shofar”:
 
1.       According to the aforementioned first method that the explanation
 
of “ Recite before Me  etc kingship verses in order to declare Me king over you etc; remembrance verses, in order that the remembrance of you may come before Me for good”.   
 
is that the verses themselves effect these aspects, it is impossible to explain that “Through what? Through the Shofar” is a reason for the recitation of the Shofar verses
(for the effect of Shofrot is not through the recitation of the Shofar verses but through he actual sounding of the Shofar)
 
– and according to this method, the ending words: “Through what? Through the Shofar” comes to explain the reason for the sounding (Tekia) when reciting the Kingship and remembrance verses (As in par 1)
 
2.       However, if the general aspect of reciting the Shofar verses is only to bring a proof from Torah on the aspects that are performed on Rosh Hashanah , then even the “Through what? Through the Shofar” can be explained as a reason for reciting the Shofar verses, that we bring a proof from Torah on the effect of the aspect of the Shofar.
 
Accordingly, even according the explanation that “Through what? Through the Shofar” is a reason for saying the Shofar verses, one does not have to force oneself to explain that the “Through what? Through the Shofar” refers to the Shofar verses
 
(contrary to the simple explanation that it refers to the sounding of the Shofar) –
 
but that this aspect of” Through what? Through the Shofar”
 
(i.e. that the aspects of Kingship and remembrance are accomplished through the sounding of the Shofar)
 
 is itself a reason for reciting the Shofar verses. For since all the aspects of Rosh Hashanah are accomplished through the sounding of the Shofar.
 
 [as is also alluded to in the saying of the Sages: “The Mitzvah of the day is with the Shofar”, namely that the sounding of the Shofar is the main Mitzvah of the entire day, including all the aspects of this day]
 
Therefore,   we recite the Shofar verses, to bring a proof from Torah on the primary aspect of the Shofar.
 
[ and in a somewhat different manner: The intent of reciting the Shofar verses is not just to bring a proof that we are obligated to sound the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, but on the primary aspect of the Shofrot. Therefore the Talmud states ( as a reason for saying the Shofar verses) “Through what? Through the Shofar”. For this emphasizes what is accomplished through the sounding of the Shofar. For on this we bring a proof from Torah in the Shofar verses)

 
 
3.  One could add an explanation to the opinion of Rashi (and Raavad) that his explanation that “the blessings bar the blasts” (and also the opposite) – by prefacing the explanation of the aforementioned Ritva:
 
 [In his explanation  of  “Through what? Through the Shofar”, he writes:]   
 
‘How is one able to crown Him and to mention their remembrances before Me, - with the Shofar , and it is written :”and the people sounded with Shofrot and they crowned Shaul over them as king”, and the kingdom of Earth is similar to the kingdom of Heaven “
 
For in simplicity, the intent of [of the Ritva’s explanation:” “How is one able to crown Him” is not that the Shofar itself effects the coronation of the king, but rather that at the time of the coronation it is fitting to sound the Shofar. 
 
Yet according to this one seemingly requires an explanation of the wording “And through what, through the Shofar”, which implies that the Shofar effects these aspects. (and is not just an action that is  fitting during the coronation)
 
This can be explained by two parables that are brought regarding the sounding of the Shofar:
 
1.     The first parable is from the Baal Shem Tov z”l:-  [[from:]
“A king had an only son, who was very learned and who was really dear to the king as the apple of his eye. And the father and his son decided that the prince should travel to other countries to learn their wisdoms and to know the customs of various people. At that time, his father, the king, gave him ministers and servants and great wealth on his journey to view the lands and islands. This (all) was in order that the son exert himself over and above what he accustomed to do at his father’s palace.  After many days had passed, everything that his father had given him was spent on travelling expenses etc. [This was] because of the need to indulge himself in the way that he was accustomed to, (and) mainly because he kept adding to his desires . . so much so that he sold everything that he had. In the interim he had travelled to a far off country where even his father was not recognized. In his despondency, he yearned to return to his father’s country. But since so much time had passed, he had forgotten even the language of his country. When he arrived in his country, what could he do? Since he forgot even the language. He started to gesture to them that he is the son of their king. . . until he reached the courtyard of the king and he began to gesture to them that he is the son of the king, but they paid him no attention, at all. Finally he began to cry, a great cry so that his father would recognize his voice. And when his father recognized his voice, the king said “This is the voice of my son crying from his distress!” And the love for his son was awakened and he hugged and kissed him etc.”
The lesson of the above parable is that the Jewish souls are called sons of the Almighty . . and the soul descends into a body. This is similar to [parable of] the prince who travelled to a distant land in order to learn. In other words, through Mitzvot and good deeds, the soul rises to even a greater height than it previously had. However, through, love of the body (physicality) and desires . . it becomes very distanced, even to a place where they do not know the name of its Father. . It forgets even the language . . until it begins to return and cries out with a simple voice . . and this is the sounding of the Shofar, which is the level of an innermost sound from the depths of the heart, how one regrets the past and accepts upon himself , from now on , to listen to the voice of his Father. And through this cry, the King of all Kings, G-d, awakens and shows His love for His only son and pardons and forgives him for [what occurred] in the past etc.”
  1. The second parable is brought in the book Kedushas Levi, from the Gaon and Chassid R’ Levi Yitzchak from Berdichev:
“A [mortal] king travelled to a great forest . .until he entered into the depths of the forest and could not find a true and straight path back to his home. He saw, in the forest, villagers and asked them the way, but they did not recognize the king and they did not know how to respond to him since they never knew the great king’s true and straight path. The king then found a wise and understanding man, and asked him the way. The sage discerned that this was the king and he trembled within himself. He immediately obeyed the king’s will and showed the king the correct path, for due to his great wisdom, he knew the great king’s true and straight path. He guided the king to his royal palace and seated him on his majestic throne in the royal palace. The man found great favor with the king. . . Time passed and the wise man sinned against the king. The king was incensed and ordered the ministers, who were at the highest levels, to judge the man for violating the royal law. The man was very distressed for he knew that he would be dealt with very harshly for his transgression against the king.  He fell before the king and begged with all his life, that before the subsequent judgment, he be granted one plea: he wished to be garbed in the very same clothing he had worn when he led the king from the forest. The king, too, was to don the original clothing he had been wearing then. The king acceded to this request. When the king put on the aforementioned garments, the king remembered the great kindness that the man had done for him in returning him to his palace and restoring him to the royal throne. Great mercy was aroused within him for the man, and the man found grace and kindness before the king. The king forgave the man and restored him to his place of high honor.
As in this entire parable, so are we, Bnei Yisroel. At the time if Matan Torah, G-d went to every nation and culture and [asked them to receive the Torah] but they refused. But we Bnei Yisroel accepted the Torah with happiness and joy, so much so, that we rushed to proclaim: “we will do and we will hear”, and accepted the yoke of Heaven, crowned G-d as our King, and [accepted] to fulfill His holy commandments, statutes and laws.
Yet now we have transgressed and rebelled against Him . . Therefore we sound the Shofar, in other words, that very same “garment” that was at Matan Torah, in order that G-d remember that we accepted the Torah and crowned G-d with the Shofar, as it states: “and the sound of the Shofar. . .” And through the remembrance of that merit, G-d pardons us for our sins, and immediately inscribes us for good life etc”
And one could say that the essence of the two aforementioned parables corresponds to the two aspects of “Kingship” and “remembrance”:
In the first parable, the actions of the prince is stressed, in that he returned and cried out with a simple voice and accepted upon himself the yoke of G-d’s kingship. – This is the aspect of: “declare Me king over you”
And in the second parable, the remembrance of the greatness of the Yisroel is stressed (which came to revelation at Matan Torah) – And this is the aspect of: “the remembrance of you may come before Me for good”
According to this the [phrase:] “Through what? Through the Shofar” is understood. For the two aspects: “declare Me king over you” and “the remembrance of you may come before Me for good” comes about, in actuality, through the Shofar.
For the Shofar is akin to a cry with a simple voice (“declare Me king over you”) and also akin to the “garment” that was at Matan Torah (“the remembrance of you may come before Me for good”) as is understood from the two parables.
And this simply is the reason for Rashi (and Raavad) that the blessings and soundings bar each other – since the essence of the blessings are accomplished, in actuality, with the Shofar.
 
4. Previously, the words of the Tosefta were cited. There the text of this Beraita is: “Recite before Me etc. Shofrot in order that your prayers arise with the Teruah (sound) before Me”.
 
According to this text, the reason for reciting the Shofar verses is clear from the Beraita.
 
Not only that, but even according to what was said before, that there is room to explain that that the intent of the Talmud in “Through what? Through the Shofar”, is that it is a reason for saying the Shofar verses – it [nevertheless] stresses that the effect itself is through the Shofar
 
[So much that the Talmud states simply: “Through what? Through the Shofar” and does not mention even [[the word] “Shofrot” (for example like: “and Shofrot for through what? Through the Shofar” or something similar)]
 
However, in the Tosefta that explains “Shofrot in order that your prayers arise”, it is proof that reciting the Shofar verses, is an act that effects: “your prayers arise” etc
 
According to this, one could say that according to the view of the Tosefta, saying the Shofar verses has an additional aspect to the actual sounding of the Shofar  
 
(And not that the reciting is only secondary to the sounding, as in Par 2)
 
And it accomplishes a separate action beyond the sounding of the Shofar –
 
Reciting the Shofar verses is an act that causes: “your prayers to arise - “through mentioning the Teruah before Me”.
 
And we find these two methods
- Whether reciting the Shofar verses as just secondary to the act of the Shofar,
- or whether it is an act, in and of itself
Even in Pnimiyut [HaTorah]. For there are two explanations for the reciting of the Shofar verses.
 
1.       Torah  is called the: Torah of Light” (Torah Or) – light and revelation, And this is the reason for saying the Shofar  verses – verses of Torah  -
 
for in order to draw and reveal  the effect of  the Shofar,  downward - we recite verses of Torah regarding the aspect of Shofar
 
2.       The effect of saying the Shofar verses is above the effect of the Shofar itself. For even though the sounding of the Shofar is a Biblical commandment, and the recitation of the verses is only Rabbinical – nevertheless, because of the advantage of Divrei Torah (“learning Torah”) over fulfilling a Mitzvah, there is a quality in the act of reciting the verses of Shofar, over the sounding of the Shofar, in actuality.
 
2. As is explained on this topic, “the true revelation that will be in the future that will be a very high level . . is drawn down now on Rosh Hashanah through the reciting (the verses) of Shofrot”
 
And this is especially relevant on a year that Yom Tov falls on Shabbat  [like this year -5750] – for even though we do not blast, nevertheless, even then, we say the Shofar  verses, which draws down the exceedingly great revelation  which is similar to the “true revelation that will be in the future” speedily and in our days
 
(m’Sichas Yud Shvat 5746)

(complete)
 
 


 

Links:

http://www.torah4blind.org/lwm-5760/216.htm  Times are not valid for this year
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/137083/jewish/Kaf-Kingship.htm
 
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