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T H E P I R C H E I S H O S H A N I M R O A D M A P T O P R A Y E R P R O J E C T
The Roadmap t o Prayer
Lesson 6
Pirchei Shoshanim 2005
This shiur may not be reproduced in any f orm without permission of the copyright hol der
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The Closing of Vayevorech David
The last part of this passage is in Kesuvi m (Scriptures) - the Book of N echemi a. I t
speaks of G-ds promising the Jewish people to bring them into the Land of I srael.
I t then speaks of G-ds taking the Jewish people out of bondage and to I srael. This
then leads -to the f inale of Pesuk ei D ezi mra - the Shi ras H ayam (The song at the
splitting of the Red Sea).
Az Yashir (Shiras Hayam)
B B a a c c k k g g r r o o u u n n d d n : pn n : pn
The very f irst song of praise sung by the Jews was the Shi ras H ayam, the Song at the
Red Sea. G-d split the sea so the Jews could cross over in safety and drowned the
pursuing Egyptians.
This was added to Pesuk ei D ezi mra at the time of Rav Amram Gaon. I n f act, the
Rambam recites this af ter Y i shtabach, the closing blessing of Pesuk ei D ezi mra .
A nyone who reci tes the Shi ras H ayam wi th much joy wi ll
meri t forgi veness for all si ns.
1
This seems to be a very great reward just f or reciting a f ew verses in great joy. I n
truth, we must examine why this portion is so important and why one needs to
recite it with joy.
1
Z ohar cited by M ishna Berura Simon 51:17
Lesson
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The Essence of a Transgression
The Torah commands us to obey its commands and not transgress them by
sinning. A sinner is considered as denying G-ds existence - as if he doesnt have to
f ollow G-ds commands. Thus, every sin is the sinners denial of G-ds complete
power and dominion. As the M i shna in Pi rk ei A vos (Chapters of the F athers) teaches:
One who si ns i n private i s desecrati ng G-ds N ame privately. Thus, Shi ras H ayam is a
statement that one f ully believes in all aspects of G-ds Divine Providence. The
Shi ra states V a' yami nu BaH ashem ubeM oshe avdo which means that I srael has faith i n
H ashem and i n M oses H i s servant. At the splitting of the Y am Suf, it became quite clear
to one and all that G-d is all powerf ul and that He communicates with the
righteous- as in the prophetic ability of M oshe Rabbei nu. G-d showed us His Divine
Providence as we were trapped between them and the Red Sea. He protected us
f rom the imminent danger of the attacking Egypt ians. Shi r H ashi rim describes that
part icularly trying moment, Y onasi bechagvei haselah
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At that moment with no way
to escape the situation; we turned to G-d and cried out to Him in prayer. G-d
turned to Moshe and said, This is not the time f or prayer. Speak to them to
continue and travel into the sea . I ndeed, the Jews put their f aith in G-d and went
ahead into the sea. G-d then wrought the tremendous miracle of the splitting of the
sea.
Li k e a Dove
The Gemora in Shabbos 130a explains anot her verse where the Jews are compared
to the Y onah, a dove. As the dove fends of f its attackers with its wings, so too Jews
f end of f their enemies with their mi tzvos which are like their wings. Thus with their
commitment to G-d and His mi tzvos together with the E munah (f aith) they
exhibited at the time, they merited great miracles and Divine I ntervention.
Likewise, someone who connects with that experience is demonstrating his
personal E munah in G-d and his personal commitment to His commands. Any sin
this individual may have committ ed is no longer due to lack of f aith in G-d, but
rather should be attributed to human error. Hence, it makes sense that in reciting
this portion with joy, one shows that ones f aith is solid and one does not deny G-d
by sinning. Such a person deserves to be f orgiven f or any past misdeeds. The Y esod
2
2:14 My dove, in t he clef t s of the rock, in t he concealments of t he st eps, show me your appearance, let
me hear your voice, f or your voi ce is pleasant and your appearance is comel y. Rashi comments - This is
said concerni ng that time when Pharaoh pursued them and overtook them camping by the sea with no
avenue of escape bef ore t hem because of t he sea, and t hey coul d not t urn because of t he wild beast s.
What did they resemble at that time? A dove that fled f rom a hawk and entered the clef ts of the rocks,
and a snake was hissing at her. Shoul d she enter, there was the snake. Should she go outside, there was
the hawk. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her , Show Me your appearance, the propr iety of your
deeds, to whom you turn in time of trouble.
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V e' shoresh H aavodah stresses, that merely reciting the words does not show ones
connection with the ideas and belief s expressed in prayer (T efi lla). The latter is
shown in f ervent, heartf elt, and emotional outpouring of T efi lla.
Let us f ocus our thoughts on the events that took place at the time of the splitting
of the Yam Suf . This will improve our ability to experience the uplifting nature of
Kri as Y am Suf.
Fai t h - Emunah: The l esson of Kr i as Yam Suf
As mentioned in the Shi ra, the Torah relates how everyone attained a level of
emunah - fai th, unparalleled, then, in history. The A l i Shor writes that Yechezkel
HaNavi didnt see in all his prophetic visions what a maid servant saw then.
Rav Schwab ztl explains that the fai th acquired at the time of the splitting of the
sea was not in the event itself f or that was a reality which required no fai th. Rather,
it was a f aith in G-ds omnipotence even af ter that event. Just as we witnessed then
that our very existence was due to G-ds heavenly intervention, so too we must
realize in lif e that everything is in G-ds hands.
Shi ra song, is bet ter understood as a poem of praise to G-d. The reason A z Y ashi r
- verses from the Torah was placed at the end of Pesuk ei D ezi mra rather than at its
beginning, is that the very song (Shi ra) itself was only possible because of a miracle.
We need to imagine masses of Jews leaving Egypt and crossing the sea without
advance notice. Moshe Rabbeinu who had a speech impediment was able to raise
his voice in song so that the millions of Jews could respond to his recital of the
poem (Shi ra). The Gemora in Sotah 30b mentions diff erent opinions as to the
response of Jewish people when Moshe led them in this song. Whether they just
repeated the f irst words of each sentence, or each word with exact precision, it was
a miracle in itself . Thus, G-d gave the Jews an opportunity to express their praise
f or H ashem.
Therefore, explains Rav Schwab, we attempt to elevate all our praise during Pesuk ei
D ezi mra to a level of praise like A z Y ashi r which is a heavenly inspired one.
The Mi r ac l e
Looking at the event of Kri as Y am Suf itself , there are two distinct parts to the
miracle.
The splitting of the waters with the drying of the seabed.
The drowning of the Egypt ians.
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The second miracle is evident to all and is something we can relate to since
essentially it is nature taking its course. However, the f irst miracle although
experienced f irst-hand, was incomprehensible since it def ied nature. Thus, we ref er
to this as E munah - a belief , even though we actually experienced it. I t was an
incomprehensible miracle. The Jewish people were at the sea, and some already
deep into it. G-d creates a wind and instantly dries the seabed without harming the
people or drowning in them. Such a miracle elicits a belief in G-ds power in any
situation in lif e - that He may do as He wishes without constraints. This is the deep
lesson of Shi ra praise is left f or the end of the Pesuk ei D ezi mra as it cannot be
attained by human endeavor alone.
The Z ohar also asked the same question. Why are these Torah verses at the very
end of Pesuk ei D ezi mra instead of at the beginning, where they really belong? The
Z ohar points out that as this praise is so elevated, it was lef t to be recited at the end
of Pesuk ei D ezi mra so it will elevate us as well. We say it bef ore the blessings
(brochos) of Kri as Shema so that they too, will be recited on this elevated spiritual
level.
C C u u s s t t o o m m xn:n xn:n
You should recite this section with a sense of joy as if you were crossing
the Y am Suf.
Some people recite the passages of V ayosha and A z Y ashi r with the
cantillation as when reading f rom the Torah scroll. This is in order to
arouse a joyous f eeling.
The custom is to stand f or Baruch Sheomar, Mizmor L esodah, and V a' yevorech
David until atta hu H ashem, and V ayosha until af ter A z Yashi r and Y i shtabach.
L L a a w w s s u :+ u :+
One may not skip the entire Pesuk ei D ezi mra in order to reach the A mi dah
Shemoneh E srei with the congregation (tzi bbur).
One may not engage in idle talk f rom Baruch Sheomar until af ter the A mi dah
Shemoneh E srei .
There are two places where certain interrupt ions are possible:
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a ) I n between the paragraphs bei n haperak i m and
b ) I n between verses or where there is a break in the verse
anyway beemtza haperek .
One should respond even in the middle of a verse f or:
The f irst A men in Kaddi sh
A men yehei shemei rabbah
The A men of D aami ran bealma
A men of H ak ei l H ak adosh
A men for the blessi ng of Shomeah T efi lla
I f possible one should try and reach the end of a the paragraph bef ore responding
To recite the blessing of A sher Y otzar af ter using the f acilities.
or get to the end of a pasuk or to a break in a sentence when one sees one will need
to answer:
A men of any other blessing
On the other hand
Do not respond Baruch H u varuch Shemo upon hearing a blessing
Do not respond Bri ch H u in Kaddi sh
D o not respond by saying A men f or V eyatzmach purk anei etc. in the Sef ard
version of Kaddi sh
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According to Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl, one does answer A men to:
The added verse of T i sk abei l of Kaddi sh ti sk abei l
The added verse of A l Y i srael veal Rabbanan in Kaddish de Rabbanan
According to Rav Ovadiah Yosef shl i ta, its better not to answer A men to the
above-mentioned items. One should remain quiet and think A men in ones mind.
He also says:
I ts better not to recite the entire M odi m derabbanan if one hears the
chazzans repetition of the Shemoneh E srei . One should just say the words
M odi m anachnu lach.
According to the M i shna Berura:
One should recite the entire M odi m derabbanan during the chazzans
repetition of the Shemoneh E srei
As f or reciting Shema Y i srael and Baruch shei m k evod etc. during Pesuk ei D ezi mra:
The M i shna Berura (A shk enazim) rules to recite it without Baruch Shei m k evod
malchuso leolam vaed.
Rav Ovadiah Yosef shli t a says not to do so , but continue the Pesuk ei
D ezi mra out loud while everyone else is saying Shema Y israel
I f one hears thunder or sees lightning:
One must interrupt and recite the blessings f or such an event since it is a
one-time opport unity that cannot be delayed.
I f one hears Kedusha, one should recite the verse:
Kadosh k adosh k adosh etc.
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Baruch k evod H ashem mi mek omo
Y i mloch H ashem leolam etc.
3
The other verses of Kedusha are not recited. However, Rav Shlomo Zalman
Auerbach ztl rules that on Shabbos when more stanzas are added to Kedusha one
should recite those as well.
The Closing of Pesukei Dezimra
Just as we f inish the f inal chapter of T ehi li m by repeating the f inal verse
Al l l i v i ng soul s w i l l pr ai se G- d, Bl ess G- d
Kol haneshama t ehal l el kah Hal l el ukah
so too at the end of the Shi ra, we repeat the verse H ashem yi mloch leolam vaed. This
marks the end of the Shi ra of A z Y ashi r. Although we recite one more verse about
the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, other Si dduri m omit it. We then
proceed to say a f ew more verses on the theme of H ashem yi ml och leol am vaed about
how H ashem will reign ultimately over the entire world. He will be recognized by all
nations as the only power and the only king.
And G- d w i l l be t he ki ng ov er t he ent i r e
ear t h; on t hat day Hashem and Hi s
Name w i l l be r ecogni zed as t he onl y
one!
Vehayah Hashem l e' Mel ech al kol haar et z
bayome hahu yi hyeh Hashem echad
u' sh' emo echad!
Yi sht abach
At this point we recite the blessing of Y i shtabach, whi ch i s the closing blessing of
Pesuk ei D ezi mra .
3
Rav Chaim K anievsky shl i ta explai ns that although Y i ml och is not int egral t o Kedusha and it would not
be recited if one was in t he middle of t he blessings of Y ot zei r ohr and so on, during Pesuk ei D eZ i mra i t
shoul d be recited since it is a f orm of praise which is the f ocus of Pesuk ei D eZ i mra.
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B B a a c c k k g g r r o o u u n n d d n : pn n : pn
The blessing of Y i shtabach concludes the Pesuk ei D ezi mra. The Gemora in Pesachi m
4
alludes to this blessing as the Bi rchas H ashi r the Blessing of Praise. According to
one opinion this was N i shmas which we recite at the end of Pesuk ei D ezi mra of
Shabbos with the closing bracha of Y i shtabach. I t does not begin with the usual
opening of Baruch A tta H ashem etc. since it is considered to be the follow-up to
Baruch Sheomar a Bracha H asemucha L echaverta
5
.
According to this explanation, Rabbi David Cohen shli ta wonders why the Tur
states that Baruch Sheomar was a heavenly-sent blessing f rom the post Talmudic
period and was not humanly composed, when the Gemora states clearly that
Y i shtabach existed in Talmudic times already?
He answers that although Y i shtabach is f rom the Talmud, Baruch Sheomar is not.
Accordingly, in the Talmudic period the blessing of Y i shtabach must have opened
with Baruch A tta H ashem etc. Only later the Baruch Sheomar blessing f or the opening
of the Pesuk ei D ezi mra was f ound, was the blessing of Y i shtabach altered by having
the opening Baruch A tta H ashem etc removed.
Laws
I f one recited A sher Y atzar right bef ore Y i shtabach af ter completing the
Pesuk ei D ezi mra one should repeat the chapter of A shrei bef ore reciting
Y i shtabach.
I f the chazan only received his T alli s and T efi lli n during Pesuk ei D ezi mra, he
should put them on at this point, with the appropriate blessings.
Other individuals who received their T alli s and T efi lli n during Pesuk ei
D ezi mra should wait and put them on after Y i shtabach.
4
D af 118a
5
Lit. a blessing that f ollows the previous blessing
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Quest ions:
1. What unusual reward is promised f or reciting A z Y ashi r and in what
manner must it be recited ?
2. What is the message of the sinner and to what is he likened in the M i shna in
Pi rk ei A vos (Chapters of the Fathers)?
3. How does af f irming Shi ras H ayam rectif y ones sins?
4. To what aspect of Kri as Y am Suf do we attribute E munah - Faith?
(according to Rav Schwab)?
5. What are the two categories of Pesuk ei D ezi mra regarding interruptions and
which of the two is stricter?
6. I f one needs to answer A men to any regular blessing or if one needs to
recite the blessing of A sher Y otzar after using the f acilities, what is the most
appropriate place for this if one is in middle of a section of Pesuk ei
D ezi mra?
7. What is the law regarding saying Baruch H u varuch Shemmo and Bri ch H u
during Pesuk ei D ezi mra?
8. I f one hears M odi m D erabbanan during Pesuk ei D ezi mra, should one say it
with the congregation?
9. I f one hears Kri as Shema during Pesuk ei D ezi mra, should one say it with the
congregation?
10. Why does Y i shtabach begin without an opening Baruch A tt a H ashem?
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Answers:
1. I f one recites A z Y ashi r with joy, one will be forgiven all sins.
2. A person who sins by transgressing the Torahs commands is stating that
he is not governed by G-d and in Pi rk ei A vos (Chapt er of the Fathers) is
likened to someone who desecrates H ashems N ame.
3. I f one sings A z Y ashi r with joy one understands that only H ashem controls
all event s in our world and that we in turn praise Him by sanctif ying His
glorious Name.
4. That supernatural event of the sea splitting is one we cannot begin to
understand.
5. Between the paragraphs (Bei n H aperak i m) and in the middle of a paragraph
(Beemtza H aperek ). The laws regarding in middle of a paragraph are stricter.
6. One should wait and recite A sher Y otzar between paragraphs and A men
should be recited at the end of a pasuk or at a break in a pasuk if possible.
7. One should never respond Baruch H u varuch Shemmo and Bri ch H u during
Pesuk ei D ezi mra .
8. The M i shna Berura rules to recite it in its entirety, but Rav Ovadiah Yosef
shl i ta rules to say just the words M odi m anachnu lach.
9. The M i shna Berura rules to recite the f irst verse but not Baruch Shei m k evod
malchusso leolam vaed. Rav Ovadiah Yosef shl i ta rules not to say it. One
should rather say whatever verses one is reciting in a loud voice.
10. I t is considered to be a Bracha H asemucha L echaverta
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to Baruch Sheomar.
6
Lit. a blessing that f ollows the previous blessing