THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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TA'ANIS 26 - sponsored in memory of Fishel Yitzchok ben Shmuel (Yahrzeit: 16
Elul) by his children and grandchildren.
1) RECITING VERSES FROM THE TORAH BY HEART
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that during Shacharis, the Ma'amados would read
from the Sefer Torah, and during the other Tefilos of the day, they would
read the Parshi'os by heart, "like those who read the Shema." What does the
Mishnah mean to add by saying that the Parshi'os are read like the Shema?
ANSWER: The Gemara in Gitin (60b) says that a verse in the Torah may not be
read by heart. If so, how can the Ma'amados read verses from the Torah by
heart? To answer this question, the Mishnah adds that they read the verses by
heart the same way that it is permitted to read the Shema by heart. We know
that reading the Shema by heart is permitted, since not everyone had a Sidur
yet everyone said Shema twice daily. The Mishnah is saying that the same
reason it is permitted it is permitted for the Ma'amados to say these verses
by heart for the same reason it is permitted to say the Shema by heart.
Why, though, is it permitted to say the Shema by heart? (See also Insights to
Yoma 68:2, Temurah 14:1.)
(a) The RITVA (Yoma 70a) explains, based on the Yerushalmi, that the
prohibition applies only to reading verses from the Torah which must be read
publicly ("Chovas Keri'as Tzibur"). The prohibition does not apply to reading
verses for the sake of reviewing the Torah, or for the sake of giving praise
to Hashem. Here, the only obligation for the Ma'amados to read from the Torah
publicly is during Shacharis. During the rest of the day, there is no Chiyuv
to read from the Torah, and therefore they may say the verses by heart.
Likewise, there is no obligation to read the Shema publicly, and therefore it
may be recited by heart. Similarly, TOSFOS (Temurah 14b DH Devarim) suggests
that it is only prohibited to recite verses by heart when an individual is
saying them on behalf of a Tzibur (to be Motzi them their obligation), which
is not the case with Keri'as Shema or with the Ma'amados.
(b) The TALMIDEI RABEINU YONAH in Berachos (9b), citing RAV SHLOMO MIN HA'HAR
(who asks a similar question to ours, on the Gemara in Berachos) explain as
follows. There are certain verses which the Torah requires an individual to
read, but does not require that he read them from a Sefer Torah. For example,
the Torah requires each person to recite the Shema, but it is permitted to
recite it by heart. The Torah does not expect every person to read the Shema
twice each day from a Sefer Torah. The same is true regarding the verses of
Birkas Kohanim recited by Kohanim each day when they bless the people.
Likewise, in our case, we may suggest that since there is an obligation for
those participating in the Ma'amados to recite these verses, the Torah does
not require them to be recited from a Sefer Torah.
(c) The TUR (OC 49) quotes his uncle, RABEINU CHAYIM, who says that it is
permissible to say by heart verses in which one is fluent, because we are not
concerned that he might err. This might be why the Shema and the verse
recited by the Ma'amados can be said by heart.
(d) The SHILTEI GIBORIM (Megilah 14a, according to the page numbers of the
Rif) rules that it is permissible for the congregation as a whole to recite
verses by heart. This would apply to Shema and the verses said by the
Ma'amados as well.
2) HALACHAH: BIRCHAS KOHANIM DURING MINCHAH ON A TA'ANIS
OPINIONS: The Gemara mentions different opinions among the Tana'im whether
Birchas Kohanim is recited during Minchah on a Ta'anis (see Chart). What is
The Gemara concludes that the Halachah is like Rebbi Yosi, who says that
Birchas Kohanim is not recited during Minchah on a Ta'anis, but only during
Shacharis, Musaf, and Ne'ilah. The reason is because Minchah, on all other
days, comes at a time when people are still under the influence of the
intoxicating beverages that they consumed during the afternoon meal, and it
is forbidden for a Kohen to bless the people after drinking an intoxicating
beverage. If we permit them to say Birchas Kohanim by Minchah on a Ta'anis,
they might say it on a normal day, after drinking wine, also. However, if
Minchah is recited late in the day on a Ta'anis, just before sunset, then
Birchas Kohanim is recited, because then it is like Tefilas Ne'ilah which has
no parallel on a normal, non-fasting day.
The Rishonim argue how to interpret this "compromise."
(a) According to the Ramban, the Gemara holds that one may actually say
Birchas Kohanim even by Minchah on a Ta'anis, like Rebbi Meir, but we are
Machmir not to say it unless Minchah is recited towards the end of the day.
HALACHAH: It would seem from the Gemara's conclusion that whether we say
Birchas Kohanim or not depends on *when* we Daven Minchah. If Minchah is
early in the afternoon, then we do not say Birchas Kohanim, while if it is
late in the afternoon, it takes the place of Ne'ilah and we do say Birchas
Kohanim. However, the CHAZON ISH (OC 20) suggests that perhaps Birchas
Kohanim is not connected to when *we* Daven Minchah. Rather, because of the
practice at the *times of the Gemara*, the Chachamim instituted that during
Minchah of a Ta'anis we recite Birchas Kohanim no matter when we are Davening
Minchah. (This explains the common practice today. It is a common practice
today to Daven Minchah late in the day even on normal days, and many Daven
Minchah *early* on a Ta'anis. If so, it should *never* be permitted to do
Birchas Kohanim during Minchah. Indeed, in Bnei Brak, some congregations that
follow the rulings of the Chazon Ish say Birchas Kohanim during Minchah on a
Ta'anis no matter when Minchah is said.)
(b) Other Rishonim learn the opposite: the Halachah is in accordance with
Rebbi Yosi, who holds that we do not say Birchas Kohanim during Minchah.
However, on a Ta'anis in which Ne'ilah is not recited (such as the five fast
days we fast for the destruction of the Beis ha'Mikdash), we say Birchas
Kohanim since Minchah takes the place of Ne'ilah on such a day.
After sunset we do not recite Birchas Kohanim (as the Yerushalmi says here).
Therefore, if the Chazan's repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh at Minchah
extends past sunset, then Birchas Kohanim is not recited. The same is true
for Ne'ilah. (MISHNAH BERURAH 129:1)
Even when though we do not say Birchas Kohanim at Minchah when it is not said
close to sunset, if a Kohen mistakenly goes up to say Birchas Kohanim we do
not send him down, and he may say Birchas Kohanim. For this reason, the
Chazan says the verses of Birchas Kohanim ("Elokeinu... Barcheinu bi'Berachah
ha'Meshuleshes...") by Minchah on a Ta'anis when Birchas Kohanim is not