Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Seven Year Puzzle Solved

For the last seven years, the opinion brought by the Ramo in Orach Chaim 59 and the Mogen Avrohom in Orach Chayim 6:10 and 59:5 has puzzled me.

There is a general rule that one can fulfill his obligation of enunciating a particular phrase by hearing it from another who intends to say it for himself and for you. This is the rule of Shoei'ah K'oneh, Hearing is like Speaking. But the Ramo and the Mogen Avrohom say that this rule has limitations; one cannot do so in certain cases. One cannot fulfill his obligation to say Kri'as Shma or the morning blessings (birchos hashachar) by hearing another person saying them. BUT, if this is done within a minyan of ten people, then one can fulfill his personal obligation by hearing the phrase from another. They bring this from Rabbeinu Yonah in Brochos, but neither they nor Rabbeinu Yonah give any explanation for this rule.

I can understand why Shomei'ah K'oneh might not apply here; the Abudraham, brought by the Ramo in 59, says that Chazal instituted Modim D'rabanan because Modim is kabbalas ohl malchus shomayim, and this must be done personally, and not by way of listening to another and agreeing with him with intent to fulfill one's obligation. It is very reasonable to posit that some things are so personal that one must enunciate them one's self. We find a similar concept in the case of the brachah of Shehechiyanu, where if two people buy new garments, the halachah is that one cannot be motzi the other with the brachah. See Pri Megodim brought in Mishneh Brurah 8:14.

But why should it make a difference if there is a minyan? How does being in a minyan address and resolve the barrier to Shomei'ah K'oneh?

The other day, I had the siyata dishmaya to realize the answer to this question.

However, the answer created a cascade of variations. Maybe some day, when I've whittled them down to one or two bright line concepts, I'll post it somewhere.


  1. I apreciate your answer on your kashe:)
    I would venture to say that sometimes there is no din somea k'onah as it is a personal din in saying it(e.g. I've seen some shittos say that about kiddish,though we are noheg like the those who say otherwise).Perhaps however if there is a minyan and a tziruf of all who are there it is considered as if the soma'h is personally saying it due to his tziruf.

  2. I think you are on the right track. Normally, you think of the din tziruf to a minyon as meaning simply that you created the minyon. But it could be that it's not just that you are mitztareif to the minyon; the din tziruf means that you become metzurof to the other people in the minyon. That additional tziruf expands the din arvus, and overcomes the barriers of privacy and individuality that prevent you from being yotzei with someone else's kabbolas ohl malchus shomayim or hodo'oh.
    There would be a tremendous nafkeh minoh from this: we know that you're not mitztareif to make a minyon if you're not in the same room or the same building, or if you can't see each other. But once there's a minyon, afilu m'chitzoh shel barzel einoh mafsekes, and if you hear the minyon, you can answer kaddish and kedushoh and borchu. But it could be that that only is as far as saying a dovor she'bikdusho, which requires "b'soch b'nei Yisroel." But it wouldn't help for being yotzei with shomei'ah k'oneh in these special cases, because that requires tziruf mamosh.

  3. In other words, there are two dinim in a minyon. Hashro'as hashchinoh of 'b'soch b'nei yisroel,' and tziruf. Only tziruf helps for our din.

  4. BL ASKS: Aruch Hashulchan 59(14)is chopped liver?