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Hachrazah 5770 Tishrei 3

Informal translation from Hebrew of the 3 Tishrei, 5770, (21 September 2009) statement:

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Shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah which occurs on the Sabbath - Summary

The Shofar Blowing took place in “Beit haBechira” Yeshiva, formerly known as “B’tochechi Yerushalayim” in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem


The minyan in “Beit haBechira” Yeshiva, the prayers took place in the court (beit din) with the participation of:

Rabbi Tzvi Idan, Rabbi Dov Stein, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, and other ordained rabbis that arrived during the ocurse of the prayers.

The place was set as a “place of court”, by means of the meetings of the court that took place before Rosh Hashana. At the time of the shofar blowing, there were 23 worshippers present. From a halachic perspective, it is enough with a court of 3, according to the approach of many of the commentators and halachic deciders: Rash”i, Ri”f, Tosafot, Ra’ava”d, Ramba”n, and more. That being said, Rabbi Tzvi Idan ordained those present for the sake of the shofar blowing, in order to satisfy the opinion of the Ramba”m that the entire court needs to be ordained. The prayer took place at the earliest time, k’vatikin. Between the Torah reading and the shofar blowing, there was a meeting of the court for about half an hour; and that is, per the halacha, so that the blowing is done at the time that “the court is in session”. Different subjects were discussed related to the Temple and shofar blowing on the Sabbath. Rabbi Stein, who blew the shofar, requested authorization from the court to blow the shofar. Those present came to the decision that the court is fulfilling the decree of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai; and from the strength of that decree, the shofar blower fulfills the shofar blowing – like the decree of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai and his court. At the end of the blowing and the musaf prayer, those present again convened for a continuation of the meeting of the court, for approximately another quarter hour. Halachic questions were asked, and the ordained rabbis answered to those who asked. The purpose of the discussion – in order to fulfill the halacha – “as long as the court is in session”. Rabbi Stein, who blew the shofar, brought the shofar to the synagogue before Rosh Hashana.

In the Jewish quarter, there was another shofar blowing accompanying prayers in a different place, headed by Rabbi Rogin, in the presence of fifteen men. And thus it is also known that there was another minyan that took place in the city headed by Rabbi Leiper, per the rule of Jerusalem, and all the cities near it. Details regarding this minyan and those that participated have not yet been received.

Conclusions and Lessons

Ahead of Rosh Hashana 5781 (in another 11 years) it is proper to prepare in a foundational way. Advertisement should start early, to advertise a pamphlet explaining the halachic sides, the obligation to fulfill the mitzvah on Sabbath according to the decree of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai. A later prayer time should be set (7:00am or 7:30am) in order to allow as many as possible from the different neighborhoods of Jerusalem to arrive at the prayer. People that wanted to come complained that the hour set for the prayers made it extremely difficult for their families, especially those that lived at a distance, those that can’t arrive for prayer at the time of vatikin. Thus the door was shut to those that were interested in doing a mitzvah. It should be set at a synagogue that is well known. People arrived at the Western Wall, asked and searched and didn’t find the place.

Two minyans should be set up: One for those interested in a minyan at vatikin. A second for worshippers coming from far away neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

It is proper to prepare ahead of time the cantors for shacharit and musaf, and thus those to read the Torah and blow the shofar, and to inform the public. There were complaints regarding faults that occurred in this matter. Since there are those that refrain from carrying, there should be a supply of machzorim according to different versions ready for use in the synagogue.

In the early announcement – already from the beginning of Elul – it should be added that the public is requested to make contact with the organizers and to notify ahead of time on their planned arrival, to order a place to sit, or multiple places, in the synagogue, in order to allow proper setup for those that come.

Existence of multiple minyans should be announced ahead of time: Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Chareidi, according to the different prayer versions, and each worshipper can reserve a place in the minyan with the prayer version that he desires. An orderly prayer in an orderly location, which takes place with proper song, leaves an impression on the worshippers, when each worshipper can find the prayer version that he desires, is a condition for success and expanding the number of those that come from year to year, and to return the decree of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai to its place as it used to be.

Translation in Progress

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