Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Sefer Torah During Tekiyos

This post has been reworked to include the contributions of 
Rabbis Yehuda Oppenheimer and Chaim Brown.

There's a Netziv (Teshuvos 15) that gives an insight into the experience of Tekias Shofar that I think should be better known.


  ועיקר הטעם שקריאת התורה צריך להיות באמצע ביהכ"נ נראה משום דהשולחן שקורין עליו הוא במקום מזבח שבעזרה כמש"כ הגר"א ז"ל בסי תר"ס דמש"ה אנו מקיפים בלולב את הבימה וס"ת שעליו כמו שהיו מקיפין את המזבח בעזרה וכן אנו נוהגין לאחוז ס"ת בשעת תקיעת שופר על הבימה כדי שיהיה כעין תקיעת חצוצרות על הקרבת הקרבנות על המזבח ומיום שחרב ביהמ"ק אין לנו מגין ומעלה זכרונות לטובה כמו התורה והיא עמידתנו והיקום אשר לנפשנו ואומתנו בקרב פזורינו ואנו מצטיינים בה כמו בביהמ"ק לפנים ועל כיוב"ז נאמר "אל תבוז כי זקנה אמך" הכונה לפי הפשט שאם אין אתה מוצא בהדרכת האם הזנה טעם נכון וכמליצת חז"ל (שבת פ"ט) לא בסבי טעמא מ"מ אל תבוז, כי בלא ספק ידעה טעם ונמוקה עמה טעמא מ"מ אל תבוז, כי בלא ספק ידעה טעם ונמוקה עמה 

The Bimah ought to be in middle of the shul is because it corresponds to the Mizbeiach, as we've discussed in Parshas Teruma.  And, he says, וכן אנו נוהגין, so we are noheig to hold a Sefer Torah during Tekiyos.  The basic idea is brought in the Rama in 585, that the tekiyos should be done at the Bimah, but only in the Netziv did I see that the Sefer Torah should be held during Tekiyos.

I don't recall ever having seen a minhag to hold the Sefer during tekiyos. What I have seen is that the first set is done before the Sefar is returned to the Aron.  It seems to me that the Netziv's minhag, the minhag of Volozhin, was to take the sefer out for the tekiyos de'me'umads as well. We do find that a sefer can be taken out even if it is not going to be read during Hakafos as well

The Netziv explains that the Tekiyos should be like those Tekiyos done over the Korbanos; since the Churban of the Beis HaMikdash, we have nothing that protects us and recalls us favorably before Hashem more than the Torah.  It stands us erect and helps us retain our identity and our spirituality through our diaspora.   

We find a similar idea in the case of a Bris on Rosh HaShanna.  The minhag is to do the Bris before Tekiyos so that the zechus of the Bris should combine with the zechus of the Tekiyos.

In the post on Parshas Teruma I had written that 
In OC 660, the Gaon and the Pri Megadim in the Mishbetzos sk1 bring that on Sukkos we are makif the Bimah that has a Sefer Torah on it as a zecher le'mikdash based on Megilla 31b, that reading the Parshios of Korbanos is mechaper like physically bringing korbanos. Why, you may ask, don't they bring the Reish Lakish memra from Menachos which seems to be on eisek Torah in general and not just parshos hakorbanos? I suppose that they are mechalek between 'korin' in Megilla and 'oseik' in Menachos. Now, the Gaon/PM are mashma that the ikkar thing to be makif around is the sefer Torah, that the Sefer Torah, not the Bimah, is like the Mizbei'ach. But the Taz in sk 1 says that the Bimah is like the Mizbei'ach "when it has a sefer Torah on it," and there is no reason to say that the Gaon or the PM are saying different than him.

Initially, I was not sure if our Netziv means what I quoted from the Gaon, that the Bimah is only like the Mizbei'ach when it has a sefer Torah on it, or he means that in general, when we seek to be recalled favorably before Hashem, it is wise to hold in our hands the primary source of that favor.  The lashon of the Netziv in the teshuva we're discussing is דהשולחן שקורין עליו הוא במקום מזבח שבעזרה כמש"כ הגר"א ז"ל בסי תר"ס דמש"ה אנו מקיפים בלולב את הבימה וס"ת שעליו כמו שהיו מקיפין את המזבח בעזרה.  I thought that knowing that the Netziv also had the Taz in mind, I said pshat that the Netziv is teaching two separate ideas.  First of all, the Bimah is like a Mizbei'ach davka when it has a Sefer Torah on it. Additionally, the Sefer Torah represents what we're hoping to accomplish with our Tekiyos- namely, Ritzui and Zikaron le'Tovah.  There should be a period between  המזבח and  ומיום.  They are two separate ideas.

However, Rav Yehuda Oppenheimer wrote the following in a comment, and I think he's right.
I would have said P'shat in the Netziv differently. Similar to the blowing of Chatzotzros, which was done "Al Olosiechem V'al Zivchei Shalmeichem" - not over an empty Mizbeach, so, too, the blowing of the Shofar should be done over Korbanos, not just over an empty Bimah. The Netziv therefore goes on to explain that the Torah serves B'mkom Korbanos since "אין לנו מגין ומעלה זכרונות לטובה כמו התורה" (Tosfos Megilla 3a בשביל הקרבנות שמגינים עלינו מצרינו)
The Tosfos he brings is in the Agadeta of the Malach appearing with a threatening mien Yehoshua during the siege of Yericho, and Yehoshua asks whether the threat was due to bittul of the korban Tamid or bittul Torah.   Tosfos:
וא"ת והיכי משמע לישנא דקרא דבטלו התמיד ותלמוד תורה ויש לומר דה"פ מדקאמר הלנו אתה הכי קאמר בשביל תלמוד תורה באת דכתיב תורה צוה לנו אם לצרינו או בשביל הקרבנות שמגינים עלינו מצרינו

The malach answered that he came because of bittul Torah.   Evidently, Torah is at least as much of a meigin as korbanos.


7 comments:

  1. I would have said P'shat in the Netziv differently. Similar to the blowing of Chatzotzros, which was done "Al Olosiechem V'al Zivchei Shalmeichem" - not over an empty Mizbeach, so, too, the blowing of the Shofar should be done over Korbanos, not just over an empty Bimah. The Netziv therefore goes on to explain that the Torah serves B'mkom Korbanos since "אין לנו מגין ומעלה זכרונות לטובה כמו התורה" (Tosfos Megilla 3a בשביל הקרבנות שמגינים עלינו מצרינו)
    A Gut Yor to everyone. May the Zechos of the Torah generated by this wonderful blog be Meigin on all of Yisroel.

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    1. Great tzushtell, I'm going to bl'n put that Tosfos into the post. So it fits in with the Taz after all.
      Thank you, and v'chein l'mar!

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  2. Reb Chaim Brown wrote me an email, and he put his finger on something that was bothering me too. He wrote "but how does it work acc to the Ba'al haMaor who understands that tekiyos d'meyushav are a late minhag? Did they have the sefer torah out throughout musaf??
    I don't know what to say. Maybe in Volozhin they simply did not put the sefarim back until after the end of Musaf. It's not impossible, nothing makes you put them back before Musaf, as far as I know.
    Also, the Netziv says וכן אנו נוהגין לאחוז ס"ת בשעת תקיעת שופר על הבימה
    and that means they would actually pick the sefer up and hold it during tekiyos, not just leave it covered on the Bimah as we do for the Meyushavs.

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  3. I don't understand Reb Chaim's question. If there is a bris it's done before tekiyos so the zechus of milah should be added to shofar. What if there's no milah???
    Same here. Normally, from after kerias Hatorah until musaf the sefer Torah is held by someone sitting behind the bimah. In theory that person should remain seated with the sefer Torah during tekiyos dimeyushav. Which is exactly how it's done in our shul.
    Says the netziv, its better for that person to stand with the sefer Torah at the bimah so that it should be similar to the chatzotzros that were blown over the korbanos.
    Obviously, when there were no tekiyos dimeyushav and the sefer Torah was back in the aron before shofar began, this was not nogeia.

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  4. Alternatively, they could have brought the sefer Torah back our for shofar not we do by hoshaanos

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    1. Re your second comment, you might be right, that they took it out for the tekiyos de'me'umad, and you have a raya from hakafos that you can take it out for a purpose other than keriah.
      So I think your second comment is better than the first, despite the good raya from milah. The Netziv is mashma that this is the way it ought to be done, not just that you take advantage of the Sefer conveniently being there.

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