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T H E YESH I VA PI RCH EI SH OSH AN I M PRESEN T S:
T H E ROADMAP T O PRAYER PROJECT
The Roadmap t o Prayer
Lesson 45
Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim 2006
This shiur may not be reproduced in any f orm without permission of the copyright holder
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688
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Fast i ng on Erev Rosh Hashanah
I t is customary f or adults f rom the age of Bar M i tzvah and Bas M i itzvah to f ast on
E rev Rosh H ashanah (the eve of the Jewish New Year)
1
. Since people will be arising
early in the morning bef ore dawn, there is a custom to at least take a drink bef ore
A l os H ashachar (dawn) and then f ast af terwards. This is done to avoid any
resemblance to non-Jewish people who used to have a custom of f asting on the eve
of their holidays
2
. The f ast doesnt need to be completed until nightf all
3
.
Some people f ast until M i ncha in the af ternoon
4
or even as late as Plag H aM i ncha. I t
is common for people nowadays to f ast until Chatzos (H alachi c noon)
5
.
The M edrash
6
brings a parable that was said by Rebbe Y aak ov and Rebbe Y ehoshua of
Si chni n in the name of RebbeL evi
7
.
One can compare the custom of f asting during this time of year to a city
that f ailed to pay their head-tax to the king. When the king became aware
of the situation, he gathered his army and headed toward the rebellious
country. As he drew closer, the leaders of that country went out to greet the
king, to praise him and to plead with him to f orgive them for not paying
their taxes, since they really didnt have the money that the king demanded.
1
Simon 581 M ishna Berura k 16
2
I bid. k 21
3
I bid. k 16
4
M achtzis H ashek el 562:1
5
Sheilas Y aavetz 2:147
6
V ayik ra chapter 30
7
I t is apparent that this parable is not just meant as a nice perspective on these fasts as it is something that was
mentioned specifically as something handed down in tradition. Thus, it is mentioned in H alacha that f asting on
E rev Rosh H ashanah annuls one third of ones sins!
Lesson
45
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
689
Upon listening caref ully to this delegation, the king was willing to reduce
the amount by a third. Af ter this, as the king continued toward the city
another delegation consisting of middle-class individuals came out to plead
with the king to forgo the tax; and the king conceded to forgive another
third of the tax. Finally, as the king and his army came to the citys
entrance, the entire population of the city, men, women and children came
out to greet the king to give him praise and honor; so the king f orgave the
rest but warned them that f rom now on they would be responsible f or all
f uture taxes.
Br ingi ng t he Nat i on t o Repent ance
The same thing happens with Klal Y i srael each year bef ore Rosh H ashanah, the D ay
of Judgment with their sins. At f irst, on E rev Rosh H ashanah with Rosh H ashanah
quickly approaching, the most pious of the nation f ast. Then during the A seres Y emei
T eshuvah (the 10 days of repenting f rom Rosh H ashanah until Y om Ki ppur the average
individuals begin f asting. Finally, on Yom Ki ppur everyone f asts, men, women and
children
8
.
I n practice, everyone may consider himself or herself worthy of f asting on E rev Rosh
H ashanah even if hes just average. Since we have so much at stake, we f eel obliged
to f ast on the f inal day of the year with the hope that our repentance on this last day
of the year will rectif y the rest of the days of the year
9
.
Hat oras Nedarim Annulling ones vows
The common custom amongst Jews is to perform H atoras N edari m (annulling ones
vows) on the day bef ore Rosh H ashanah. Af ter having recited the Sel i chos earlier in
the morning and f inishing Shachari s, the men who are gathered in Shul (the
synagogue) gather in groups to perf orm H atoras N edarim. This process helps to
prevent one f rom inadvert ent ly making vows in the f uture unwittingly without
specif ically pronouncing it to be a vow. This can happen when someone does
something of a M i tzvah-matter three times. The Chazzan perf orms this again on
Y om Ki ppur by the Kol N i drei (All my vows) prayer. However, the Kol N i drei can even
annul a real vow in the f uture depending on certain H alachi c parameters and
conditions
10
.
8
Those who are old enough to f ast according to H alacha
9
A ruch H ashul chan 581:9
10
See Sefer M aadanei Shlomo page 62, 63
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
690
H atoras N edari m is performed part icularly bef ore Rosh H ashanah since we will be
praying (daveni ng) f or our welf are and we will be examining our worthiness and
accepting upon ourselves renewed commitment s to H ashem and His Torah, we
wish to perf ect our resolution by ridding ourselves of any accusations of not
abiding by our words. So we perform this already bef ore Rosh H ashanah, rather than
leave this f or a later time.
There is a custom amongst some Sephardim to perform H atoras N edari m twice at
40-day intervals. The f irst time is on the 19
th
of Tammuz, which is 40 days bef ore
Rosh Chodesh E lul, and again on Rosh Chodesh E lul, whi ch is 40 days bef ore Y om Ki ppur.
Women and Children
Women do not need to annul their vows individually. They can rely upon
the annulment of vows during the tefi l l a of Kol N i drei of Y om Ki ppur. They
should say the words of Kol N i drei along with the Chazzan quietly
11
. I f they
will not be attending Kol N i drei on Y om Ki ppur, they can make their husband
an agent to annul their vows.
Children who are in the year just bef ore Bar M i tzvah or Bas M i tzvah can be
legally bound by their vows according to Torah law. However, they were
not given the dispensation of annulling vows until t he age they become
adults and obligated in M i tzvos
12
.
The Cust om of Visit ing a Cemet ery
On E rev (the eve of ) Rosh H ashanah some individuals have a custom to visit the
cemetery to recite prayers by the graveside of righteous individuals
13
. One must be
aware that this custom strictly prohibits praying to the dead f or any kind of help.
Rather, our prayers are specif ically that H ashem listen to our prayers, invoking this
through the merit of the pious T zaddi k i m who are buried in the cemetery.
Alternatively, our prayers can be directed to the T zaddi k to intercede to H ashem on
our behalf .
One who is not ritually clean should be sure to f irst immerse himself in a M i k va
(ritual bath) bef ore going to the cemetery.
11
M ishna Berura 619:2
12
Shearim H ametzuyanim BeH alacha 128:24
13
Simon 581:4 and M ishna Berura k 27
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
691
At the gravesite, one should f irst encircle the grave, give T zedak ah (charity) and then
proceed to recite a prayer. One shouldnt visit the same grave twice in one day
14
.
Reason for t his cust om
Perhaps this custom is based on the Gemara at the end of M esechta Berachos 18b that
relates a story of someone who got into a quarrel with his wif e on E rev Rosh
H ashanah. Feeling bad f or acting haughtily he decided to go humble himself by
sleeping in the cemetery. We too can gain merit by ref lecting on the notion of
death, by humbling ourselves and applying ourselves in our service of G-d (A vodas
H ashem).
Naming t he Jewi sh Mont hs
I n the Chumash (the Five Books of Moses), the months of the Jewish
calendar do not have specif ic names. They are identif ied by number rather
than by name. The names of the Jewish months were given later on during
the f irst exile of the Jews in Babylonia. Still, the Baal H aT uri m shows that
Rosh H ashanah is hinted to in the Torah as being in the month of T i shrei . I n
f act, there is no real direct ref erence in the Chumash to the name Rosh
H ashanah at all. The verse that has this hint is where M oshe Rabbei nu
describes the goodness of the Land of I srael that it is a l and that H ashem
your G-d seek s out
15
( no:n n:on ) from the begi nni ng of the year unti l the end of the
year . The word :n ) ( no n:on M ei rei shi s H ashanah means Rosh H ashanah
but it is spelled without the lett er A leph (). By omitting the letter A leph (),
it shares the same letters as the word T i shrei ( :on ) = n ( o: n ) alluding to
the Y om T ov of Rosh H ashanah in the month of T i shrei .
The Sevent h Mont h: The Beginning of a Year
I t is interesting to note that in the Torah, the Y om T ov of Rosh H ashanah is
set to be on the f irst day of the seventh month, which is the month of
T i shrei . I n prayer, we say Z eh H ayom Techi llas M aasecha (today is the
beginning of your work) and H ayom H aras Ol am
16
(today is the birthday of
the world) prayer af ter sounding the Shofar during the Chazzans repeating
of the A mi dah Prayer.
14
Kaf H aChaim 581:93, 97
15
D evarim 11:12 ) u:a+ p:o :: ( ;x cx ccn :x ; ;: c: nnx :::n :::v ccn :x ; ;: n: n:c: n:cn :v: n:nx n:c :
16
See Rosh H ashanah daf 10b and 27b
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
692
When was t he world creat ed Tishrei or Nissan?
There is a dispute in the Gemara whether the world was created in the
month of T i shrei or in the month of N i ssan.
Thi s prayer fol l ows t he opi ni on of Rebbe El i ezer t hat t he worl d
was creat ed in Tishrei .
The celebration of Creation that we celebrate on the f irst of T i shrei is not
called the f irst month of the year since our calendar is set by the Torah to
be count ed from the month in which Y etzi as M i tzrayi m (the Exodus f rom
Egypt) took place, the month of N i ssan.
More on Rosh Hashanah in t he Sevent h Mont h
The A budraham
17
writes that the reason for the Day of Judgment in the month of
T i shrei is because the month is represented by M oznai m (a scale) in the
constellations representing the months of the year. He then quotes a beautif ul
explanation f rom the Rambam, that
Hashem t he Mercif ul One chooses t o j udge in a set t ing, which is most
favorabl e for us and has t he most Mit zvos t hat we can perform.
Since T i shrei is f ull of M itzvos, He would rather judge in this month. I n Hebrew the
word f or seven is Shi vah, which has the same letters of Saveah (satiated/ saturated)
since this month is so saturated with H ashems holy M i tzvos.
Preparing for Yom Tov
and Hallel
Although Rosh H ashanah is a Day of Judgment, when H ashem judges all of
mankind, one should still prepare f or this Y om T ov much like any other Y om
T ov. One should bathe and groom oneself and dress in f ine Y om T ov
clothing. However, since Rosh H ashanah is a Day of Judgment one
shouldnt dress in very expensive clothing or jewelry. Many people have a
custom of dressing in white clothing to remind oneself of the day one
passes away and is buried in white shrouds, in order to humble ones heart.
Also, it is a sign that our sins should turn white and be f orgiven as the verse
17
A budraham R D avi d A budr aham - L i ved i n Sevi lle, Spai n duri ng the late 13
th
14
th
century. W rote a gui deto prayer when as hewrotei n the
i ntroducti on to hi s work s theneed for a gui deto fami li ari zeall wi th themeani ng and helaws of theprayers.
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
693
says I f your si ns wi ll be l ik e a red thread, they wi ll turn white as snow
18
. Theref ore,
some men don their Ki ttel
19
on Rosh H ashanah. Others have the custom of
donning it just on Y om Ki ppur.
Not Saying Hallel
Since in f act Rosh H ashanah is a D ay of Judgment we do not recite H allel as
we normally would on another Y om T ov (f estival) day. About this the
Gemara
20
states that G-d said to the Heavenly Angels, When the K ing sits
in judgment with the Book of Lif e and the Book of D eath open before
Him, can Bnei Y i srael sing praise?
One should not delay until E rev Y om Ki ppur to seek f orgiveness f rom
anyone he may have wronged during the course of the year. One should
start this process already f rom bef ore Rosh H ashanah.
Of course, one should start seeking f orgiveness f or ones sins against
H ashem; which is the main point of our reciting Seli chos.
Dist ribut ing Charit y
One should apportion T zedak ah (charity) to poor people on E rev Rosh
H ashanah. There is a custom to send ready cooked f ood to poor people as
well as the verse in N echemia
21
mentions this was done on E rev Rosh
H ashanah. This was after E zra H aSofer (the Scribe) read f rom the Sefer Torah
that if Jews will lead their lives in a way that is contrary to Torah and
M itzvos, H ashem would visit strict judgment upon them. Upon hearing these
words, the assembled Jews wept openly, thus, eliciting the above response
f rom E zra.
18
Y eshayahu 1:18
19
This is a special white robe without pockets resembling shrouds
20
Rosh H ashanah 32a
21
) 8:10 ( nn: n p:o n ) ( :n un: 5: :5 u:non no upnnn n:o n:n : 5: : 5 o+p un ::+:
: axyn 5 n+n uon n u5yn (And he said to them go eat delicacies and drink sweets, and send prepared
portions to those who have no prepared f ood, f or this day is holy to our Master, and do not despair f or the joy of
H ashem is your strength).
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
694
I n general, one should do meritorious M i tzvos to increase ones merits on the f inal
day of the year
22
.
Balancing our Emotions
The Y om T ov of Rosh H ashanah carries with it two opposite emotions. On
the one hand we are supposed to f ear Heavenly judgment, and recognize
its penetrating and exacting manner. But at the same time, we need to put
this judgment into perspective in a way that it serves as a method to
mot ivate us to repent and to mend our ways so that we serve H ashem
properly according to the dictates of the Torah.
Trust ing in Hashem t o forgive our Iniquit i es
This comes f rom a f eeling of trust that H ashem wants to f orgive us f or our
iniquities so that we can have a f resh start in our A vodas H ashem (Service of
G-d). Theref ore, although this day doesnt carry with it the same expression
of joy as a regular Y om T ov (Festival day), which is why H al l el is not recited,
it still demands us to be hopef ul that in the end we will come clean and that
we will merit having another wonderf ul year f illed with f ulf illment of Torah
and M i tzvos as well as physical and f inancial well-being.
The Mitzvah of Separating
Challah from the Dough
Another custom that some have is that the woman of the house kneads an
amount of dough that would obligate her in the M i tzvah of H afroshas Challah
(separating a portion of the dough and designating it f or the M i tzvah of
Challah) f rom the dough that she makes f or the Challos (bread rolls) that will
be eaten on Y om T ov.
Why Women are responsible for Separat ing Dough
The Gemara in Shabbos
23
relates that a woman is responsible f or the M i tzvah
of H afroshas Challah (separating a portion of the dough and designating it
22
A ruch H ashul chan 581:13
23
D af 32a
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
695
f or the M i tzvah of Challah) because she caused that her husband A dam
H ari shon (Adam the First Man) should be chased out of Gan E den (the
Garden of Eden) and to be punished by death by giving him f ruit f rom the
Tree of K nowledge. The M edrash Rabba likens A dam H ari shon (Adam the
f irst Man) to be the Challah of the world; therefore the woman should
involve herself in the M i tzvah of H afroshas Challah. Rashi
24
explains that
A dam H ari shon was taken f rom the dirt of the ground, as the portion of
Chal l ah from the worl d, much like the act of H afroshas Challah that separates a
portion of dough of f the dough.
Just like women perf orm this M i tzvah weekly on E rev Shabbos as a rect if ication f or
Chavas sin in causing A dam H ari shon - the Chal l ah of the worl d - to die, since the sin
occurred on a Friday afternoon of Creation, so too on the eve of Rosh H ashanah
which is the eve of that day of Creation, women perform this M i tzvah f or that very
same reason.
I N T R O D U C T I O N - P A R T 1
The Two-Day Yom Tov of
Rosh Hashanah
The phenomenon of a two-day Yom T ov is something that developed in the time of
the Talmud when Jews settled in communities outside of E retz Y israel (the Land of
I srael), away f rom the Bei s D i n (Jewish court) where the Lunar Calendar was set
monthly through witnesses testif ying on the citing of the New Moon. Those people
that lived in areas f ar f rom the central courthouse would only become aware of the
exact day of the new month when messengers would arrive in their town to notif y
them of the event. I f there were an upcoming Festival-day that month, it would be
of utmost importance that every Jewish community be inf ormed of the exact day
the new month began. However, the f urther away people lived, the more diff icult it
became for the messengers to notif y all the communities in time for the holiday.
For this reason those communities would have to take the precaution of keeping
24
o: " n5cn nao + a: +ny ::n :u: u5nno: - +an nya: u5n+ , na5 u5:: , :ua uo u5no: , uo:
ux: :y |5 , ::n+5 no:aa na: : n n+a n:n :o u:y - :yo n+ +:u: u+ o:n u:n:o n:n5 , nna5 ::
:o u:y , n5oo n+ , +y , 5:xo nan :n na .
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
696
the f irst two days as a Y om T ov instead of just one day. This is called Safek a D eyoma
which means that in ef fect only one of the two days is really a Y om T ov day except
that we keep both as such because of our safek (doubt).
Safeka Deyoma:
Calculating the Two days of
Yom Tov outside of Israel
I f f or example by the 15
th
of T i shrei (f irst day of Suk k os) no messengers
would arrive to tell us about when the month began, we would keep the
15
th
and the 16
th
of the month as Y om T ov because perhaps the month
began on the second day of this month instead of on the f irst, pushing Y om
T ov ahead by one day. Generally, most communities in E retz Y i srael would
be notif ied before too many days have passed in the month. Theref ore, in
E retz Y israel , the Y omi m T ovi m (Festivals) of Pesach, Shavuos and Suk k os
would be celebrated on the f irst day only. The second day of Shavuos would
be a regular day while on Pesach and Suk k os the next day would be Chol
H aM oed (I ntermediary Festival-D ay). On Pesach and Suk k os that have a day
of Y om T ov at the end as prescribed by the Torah, they to would be subject
to the laws of Safek a D eyoma, ending Y om T ov in Chutz L aA retz (the
Diaspora) a day later than in E retz Y i srael (the Land of I srael).
Rosh Hashanah falls on t he first day of t he Mont h
However, since Rosh H ashanah is on the f irst day of the 7
th
month, even the
communities outside of Y erushalayi m, outside of the main courthouse where
the witnesses testif ied about the new month wouldnt be sure on which day
to observe the Y om T ov of Rosh H ashanah. For this reason even in E retz
Y i srael, two days would be observed f or Rosh H ashanah, not just in the
Diaspora. Theref ore, Rosh H ashanah became a two-day f estival in every
Jewish community even in E retz Y i srael .
Rosh Hashanah Two days or
One Long Day
I n the time of the Bei s H ami k dash (Temple) the new month would
depend on the testimony of witnesses sight ing the new moon. At
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
697
times, even in the main Bei s D i n (Jewish court) where this
procedure took place, they would sometimes end up having two
days Y om T ov on Rosh H ashanah. I n the event the witnesses would
show up too late in the day f or Bei s D in to process their testimony,
they would keep the second day as Y om T ov as well. I n this
scenario, the f irst day would be considered as a Y om T ov even when
they knew that witnesses could no longer come to testif y to make
the f irst day Rosh H ashanah the f irst day of the month. Theref ore,
the nature of the two days of Rosh H ashanah is considered
according to some posk i m as Y oma A ri chta (a single lengthened day).
Making a Shehechiyanu or Not
This has H alachi c ramif ications as well regarding the recital of Shehechi yanu blessing
on the second day of Rosh H ashanah. Generally, a Shehechi yanu blessing is recited f or
experiencing something new like the beginning of a new Y om T ov. A woman would
recite the Shehechiyanu blessing at the time of candle-lighting and by a man at the
end of Ki ddush
25
. I n Chutz L aA retz (the Diaspora) Shehechi yanu is recited again on
the second night of a new Y om T ov because perhaps this is really the correct day to
start the Y om T ov. Since the second day of Rosh H ashanah could be viewed as a
continuation of the f irst day, and not a Safek a D eyoma, there is a doubt whether
Shehechi yanu should be omitted for the second day. Theref ore, the Posk i m advise to
place a new f ruit on the table or wear a new garment when reciting this blessing on
the second night of Rosh H ashanah, having mind that the Shehechi yanu is f or the new
item as well as for the second day of Y om T ov.
The Two Days Rosh Hashanah
according to Kabbalah
Since Rosh H ashanah is a Day of Judgment, we must understand why we
have two days Rosh H ashanah. I f the f irst day is when an individual is
judged, then whats the reason f or the second day? I f only H ashem sits in
judgment only on the second day, why have the f irst day?
25
On Y om Ki ppur it is recited in Shul at the beginning of the evening prayers since Ki ddush isnt recited because of
the f ast. Anyone that doesnt recite by candle-lighting or in Shul should recite individually at the beginning of the
Y om T ov.
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
R O S H H A S H A N A H L E S S O N 4 5
698
Two Kinds of Judgment s St rict and Soft
The A ri ztl
26
explains that in f act, we undergo two kinds of judgments, one on
each of the two days. On the f irst day it is ref erred to as Harsh Judgment while on
the second day we ref er to it as Sof t Judgment - D i na Kashi a and D i na Rafi a
27
.
I N T R O D U C T I O N P A R T 2
The Mitzvah of the Day:
The Shofar Blasts
The main M i tzvah of the f estival of Rosh H ashanah is the sounding of the
Shofar. The Torah commands us to sound the Shofar on Rosh H ashanah in
the daytime. Listening to someone blowing a hollowed out horn f rom a
kosher animal f ulf ills the M i tzvah. The specif ic sounds one is required to
blow are, T ek i a, Shevarim, T erua and T ek i a.
Bl owing t he Shofar on Shabbos
Our Sages also instructed us that although there is a Torah command to
sound the Shofar on Rosh H ashanah whether it f alls on a regular weekday or
on a Shabbos, we are no longer allowed to sound the Shofar if it is on Shabbos.
Accordingly, if there were only one day Rosh H ashanah nowadays, it would
be possible that we would celebrate the f estival of Rosh H ashanah without
the main M i tzvah of Tek i as Shofar!
The Prohibition of Blowing
Shofar on Shabbos
The Rabbis of the Talmud prohibited blowing the Shofar on Rosh H ashanah
when it f alls on Shabbos anywhere except in a place where there is a Bei s
26
Ari Ztl R Yitzchak Ben Shlomo Luria Ashkenazi - Born: Jerusalem, Israel, 1534. Died: Safed, Israel, 1572.
Notes: Also known and Ari HaKodesh/Holy Lion. Great Talmudist and Kabbalist. Disciple of R Betzalel
Ashkenazi, who was one of the fathers of the Kabbalistic movement. Renown for his saintly character and ascetic
way of life.
27
See M ichtav M eE l iyahu (Rav Eliyahu Dessler zt l) Vol. 2 page 74 f or a deep philosophical treatise on this subject
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D i n
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. The Gemara explains the reason f or this prohibition was to saf eguard
that there isnt even a single incident of transgressing the Shabbos by
someone carrying a Shofar in a public domain in order to have someone
teach him how to use the Shofar.
The Mi t zvah of Lulav on Shabbos
A similar injunct ion was made regarding the M i tzvah of taking a L ul av on
Suk k os and the reading of the M egi llah on Puri m when they f all on Shabbos.
The Gemara also explains elsewhere
29
that although by imposing this decree
of blowing the Shof ar a M i tzvah of the Torah will be canceled; its within
the Rabbis purview to have us si t back and not do a mi tzvah when they are
protecting a Torah law.
N ow that Rosh H ashanah is always observed for two days, even when the
f irst day f alls on a Shabbos, we have the opportunity to blow the Shofar on
the second day, which is on a Sunday.
A Hint in the Torah about
the Rabbinic Enactment
Prohibiting Shofar on Shabbos
The Y erushalmi
30
(Jerusalem Talmud) states that sometimes we do not blow Shofar
on Rosh H ashanah because the verse says that it will be a remembrance of a T erua
blast
31
instead of the usual ref erence in the Torah to Rosh H ashanah as being the
day of T erua . From this verse our sages see that the Shofar is only remembered but not
sounded. The sefer (book) M i ncha Belulah f inds a very strong hint in the above-
mentioned verse, that the verse ref ers to the Shabbos day. The Pasuk (verse) reads as
f ollows: On the seventh month on the f irst day of the month it shall be a Shabbason
(day of rest) a remembrance of blowi ng, alluding to Shabbos in the word Shabbason in
the same verse (Pasuk ) that states that it will be a remembrance of blowing.
28
See Rambam H ilchos Shofar chapter 7 for details
29
See Y evamos daf 90a
30
Rosh H ashanah Perek 4:1, Talmud Bavli 29b brings this exegesis but refutes it in the end
31
Bamidbar 23:23
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The Shofar blasts:
Two Types of Sounds
The sounds that we blow f rom the Shofar are two basic sounds according to
Torah Law. One is the T erua sound, which is a sequence of short successive
sounds. The Terua needs to be accompanied by a Tek i a sound bef ore it and
again af ter it. The Gemara derives that the Torah requirement is to listen to
three sounds of the T erua, whi ch automatically mean that we must listen to
six accompanying T ek i a sounds, since every Terua requires a T ek i a sound
bef ore it and again af ter it.
The Definit ion of a Terua
The Gemara in Rosh H ashanah
32
explains that the T erua sound that the Torah
requires can be nine short consecutive blasts (

). Or perhaps each
sound is a little longer and there are supposed to be three such consecutive
sounds (- - -). We ref er to this as a Shevari m sound. Additionally, it is
possible that a T orah T erua sound is a combination of the two sounds in this
order (Shevari m T erua) (- - -

).
Therefore, in order to be sure that one fulfills the Torah command to blow
Tekia, Terua, Tekia, three times, one will have to listen to at least three sets
of each:
1) Tekia, Shevarim, Terua, Tekia (Tashrat),
2) Tekia, Shevarim, Tekia (Tashat) and
3) Tekia, Terua, Tekia (Tarat).
I n order not to over simplif y this matter, it must be pointed out that there are
various opinions amongst the Ri shoni m how to best f ulfill the M i tzvah of T ek i as
Shofar. Some of the issues that they grapple with are:
T he length of each Shofar sound
H ow many Shofar sounds should besounded
T he sequence of the Shofar blasts
32
D af 34a
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T he proper way to sound and combine a Shevari m T erua
I ts placement i nto theorder of Tefi lla
W hat consti tutes an error that obli gates oneto repeat the enti re porti on
of a set
The Ri shoni m and the Posk i m
33
(Rabbinical Authorities) discuss all these f actors at
length. Their H alachos are numerous and complicated. Anyone that blows the Shofar
to f ulf ill the M i tzvah must be f amiliar with these laws, so that the M i tzvah will be
properly f ulf illed.
33
See Shulchan A ruch Orach Chaim Simon 590
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Quest ions:
1) Why do we f ast on E rev Rosh H ashanah and how late into the day does this f ast
go?
2) When is H atoras N edari m performed according to the various customs?
3) What is the custom regarding visiting a cemetery on E rev Rosh H ashanah?
4) I n which number month do we celebrate as Rosh H ashanah? Why is it not the
called the f irst month?
5) What opposite emotions are brought into conf lict in the Y om T ov of Rosh
H ashanah and how do we overcome this conf lict?
6) What special M i tzvah should women perf orm on E rev Rosh H ashanah?
7) Whats the basis f or celebrating the f irst day of the Y om T ov of Suk k os f or two
days in Chutz L aA retz (the Diaspora)?
8) Why is Rosh H ashanah celebrated for two days by all communities, even in E retz
Y i srael (the Land of I srael)?
9) How does the nature of the two-day Y om T ov of Rosh H ashanah aff ect the bracha
of Shehechi yanu on the second day Y om T ov?
10) What M i tzvos did the Rabbi s prevent us f rom perf orming on Shabbos?
11) What do the two days of Rosh H ashanah represent according to Kabbali sti c
teachings?
12) What are the two basic sounds of the Shofar mentioned in the Torah?
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Answers:
1) Since Rosh H ashanah is approaching, its customary for the T zaddi k i m to f ast
because of the impending Day of Judgment. Anyone who wishes to join in this
f ast can do so as it can rectif y the sins of the entire year. I ndeed the custom is
f or all to f ast, at least until midday.
2) According to all customs, we perf orm it individually on E rev Rosh H ashanah and
with the congregation on Y om Ki ppur night by Kol N i drei . Some Sephardim
perform this two additional times at 40-day intervals; on the 19
th
of T amuz and
again on Rosh Chodesh E lul.
3) The custom is to go to a cemetery and circle the grave, give T zedak a (charity)
and recite a prayer. One should have in mind the merit of the righteous people
buried there, and ask H ashem to f orgive us in their merit. Alternatively, one may
ask them to int ercede in Heaven on our behalf.
4) Rosh H ashanah is on the f irst (and second) day of the Seventh Month, which is
the month of T i shrei and was the day on which A dam H arishon was created. The
numbers of the months are based on the Exodus (Y etzi as M i tzrayi m), which
occurred in N i ssan, which is counted as the f irst month.
5) On the one hand there is the f ear of the impending D ay of Judgment , while on
the other hand we are supposed prepare ourselves in a manner of measured joy
almost as by any other Y om T ov. These opposite feelings can be put into
perspective by recognizing and putting our f aith in H ashem, Our F ather, our Ki ng,
Who desires and waits f or our T eshuva - our return to Him.
6) They should prepare enough Challah-dough to perf orm the M i tzvah of
separating (H afroshas) Challah.
7) The basis f or this started when the N ew Month (Rosh Chodesh) was declared by
Bei s D in upon receiving witnesses who saw the new moon. Those communities
who were very f ar away f rom the place of Bei s D in were not always aware when
Rosh Chodesh was actually declared. They theref ore had to treat two days as Y om
T ov just in case Rosh Chodesh was declared a day later than expected.
8) Since Rosh H ashanah is right at the beginning of the month on Rosh Chodesh,
even in places close to Bei s D i n were not necessarily aware when Rosh Chodesh
would be declared to be. Even in Bei s D in itself they sometimes treated the f irst
day like a Y om T ov even af ter knowing that the f irst day would not be declared
Rosh Chodesh any longer.
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9) Since the Bei s D i n kept the f irst day of Rosh H ashanah as Y om T ov even when it
could no longer be declared as Rosh Chodesh, the nature of the Y om Tov was
more def inite and because of a doubt, creating a two day Y om T ov that was
decreed to be two days and not because of any f urther doubt which day was
the real Y om T ov. Because of this, both days are like one and there is no new
Y om T ov day to necessitate a Shehechi yanu.
10) The M i tzvos of Shofar, L ulav and reading the M egi llah.
11) One day represents a strict Day of Judgment and the next day is a softer Day of
Judgment .
12) T ek i a and T erua. The Shevarim and Shevari m T erua are just variations of how the
T erua is supposed to sound.