(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Ta'anis 14


QUESTION: The Beraisa records an argument about what the Mishnah means when it says we are "Masri'in" on the fast days of the third set of Ta'aniyos. One opinion says that it means that we blow a Teru'ah with the Shofar, while another opinion says that it means that we call out and cry in prayer "Aneinu" in addition to blowing the Shofar. The Beraisa says that a mnemonic for the fact that we blow the Shofar on seven days during the series of fast is "Yericho" -- just like the Jewish people blew the Shofar seven days when waging war with Yericho and Hashem answered them, so, too, we blow the Shofar when we fast and pray to Hashem in times of distress.

The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah (26b) says that in the Beis ha'Mikdash, on a day of a Ta'anis they would blow the Shofaros and the Chatzotzeros, with the Chatzotzeros in the middle (between the Shofaros). They would elongate the sound of the Chatzotzeros because the Mitzvah of the day was to blow Chatzotzeros.

The Beraisa there (27a) says that this applies only in the Mikdash. Outside of the Mikdash, Shofaros are not used at all when Chatzotzeros are used (such as on a day of Ta'anis), and Chatzotzeros are not used at all when Shofaros are used.

It seems clear from the Mishnah and Beraisa there that the Mitzvah on a Ta'anis is to blow the Chatzotzeros alone, without the Shofar, outside of the Mikdash. Why, then, does the Gemara say that we blow Shofaros, and bring support from Yericho where they blew Shofaros? We should blow only Chatzotzeros on a Ta'anis, and not Shofaros!


(a) The RITVA (12b) cites the BA'ALEI HA'TOSFOS who say that the word "Shofar" in our Gemara actually refers to Chatzotzeros and not to Shofar. We find that the Gemara (Shabbos 36a, Sukah 34a) says that the names "Shofar" and "Chatzotzeros" became switched after the Churban, and they started referring to the Chatzotzeros as "Shofaros" (see Insights to Shabbos 36a for the Chasam Sofer's explanation for this switch). That is why our Gemara says "Shofaros," even though it is actually referring to Chatzotzeros. According to this explanation, the support from Yericho is simply that some sound is blown with an instrument, but it is not proving what we blow, since at Yericho they blew with Shofaros.

The RITVA adds that because of this, the Minhag in France was not to blow Shofaros at all on a Ta'anis. Since the Mitzvah is to blow with Chatzotzeros and we do not have Chatzotzeros nowadays (since we do not know exactly how they were made), they did not have any Teki'os on a Ta'anis.

This also appears to be the opinion of the BA'AL HA'ME'OR (Rosh Hashanah 26b), who says that he cannot understand why the Ge'onim write that one should blow the Shofar on a Ta'anis, and not the Chatzotzeros. This also appears to have been the understanding of the RAMBAM (beginning of Hilchos Ta'aniyos), who says that we blow Chatzotzeros on a Ta'anis.

(b) The RA'AVAD, as quoted by the Rishonim, answers that there are two stages in the Tefilah on a Ta'anis at which Teki'os are blown. The first Teki'os are blown during the actual Berachos of Shemoneh Esreh. These Teki'os are the subject of the Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah, and they are blown with Chatzotzeros. A second set of Teki'os are blown *after* we finish the Shemoneh Esreh, when we continue to offer supplications and prayers to Hashem. At that stage we blow the Shofar and not Chatzotzeros. That second Teki'ah is what the Gemara here is referring to when it says that we blow the Shofar.

The Ra'avad proves this from the original assumption of the Gemara. The Gemara originally thought that the opinion that says "Masri'in" means that we say the prayer of "Aneinu" holds that we *only* say Aneinu, and we do not blow the Shofar. How could the Gemara think that there is an opinion that says we do not blow the Shofar on a Ta'anis? There are many Mishnayos which say that we blow the Shofar on a Ta'anis during Shemoneh Esreh (Daf 15b, 16b)! It must be that everyone agrees that Chatzotzeros are blown during the Shemoneh Esreh. The argument of our Gemara involves what is done *after* the Shemoneh Esreh. One opinion says that Teki'os are blown with a Shofar, and the other opinion says that only "Aneinu" is recited (according to the Gemara's original assumption, and according to the conclusion, the Shofar is blown *and* Aneinu is recited).

(c) The RAMBAN (Milchamos, Rosh Hashanah 26b) says that the Mitzvah to use Chatzotzeros applies only in the Beis ha'Mikdash. Outside of the Mikdash, Chatzotzeros are not used at all on a day of distress. He reasons that the purpose of blowing Chatzotzeros is "l'Kenufya" -- to gather the entire nation together, which is necessary only in places where a large proportion of the nation are present. Therefore, we blow with a Shofar on a Ta'anis. When the Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah says that the Mitzvah of a Ta'anis is to blow with Chatzotzeros, it is discussing what is done inside the Beis ha'Mikdash. Outside of the Mikdash, we use a Shofar, similar to what was done in Yericho, as our Gemara says.

What about the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (27a) which states that outside of the Mikdash there are times when only Chatzotzeros are blown and not the Shofar? The Ramban explains that the Gemara there is not referring to a Ta'anis, but rather to a time of war when the Chatzotzeros would be used to gather the nation together for war. For any other time of trouble for a community, though, the Torah does not specify whether Chatzotzeros must be used or whether a Shofar may be used. The Minhag, therefore, is to use a Shofar.

(d) The RASHBA in Rosh Hashanah (ibid.) offers a fourth explanation. Like the Ramban (c), he says that when the Mishnah specifies that the "Mitzvah of the day is to blow Chatzotzeros" it is referring to the Teki'os and Teru'os of the Mikdash only. When the Gemara says that outside of the Mikdash, "when Chatzotzeros are blown the Shofar is not," it does not mean that there is a time when only the Chatzotzeros may be blown outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash. Rather, we may always blow either Shofar or Chatzotzeros, outside of the Mikdash. The choice is ours. However, if we choose to blow Chatzotzeros, we may not combine them with the sound of a Shofar -- and vice versa, if we blow the Shofar we may not sound the Chatzotzeros too.

HALACHAH: The Poskim rule like the Ramban and Rashba (c, d), since that is the majority opinion; the Shofar may be blown on a Ta'anis outside of the Mikdash. Current practice, though, is to blow neither Shofar nor Chatzotzeros. (For the reasons behind this practice, see what we wrote in Insights to 15:1.)
QUESTION: The Mishnah (12b) describes the third and final -- and most severe -- set of fasts that are observed during a time of distress. The Beraisa here mentions that these seven Ta'aniyos "each has 18 blowings of the Shofar."

Where does the number 18 come from? RASHI explains that since we add six Berachos to the Shemoneh Esreh on the Ta'anis, and we blow a set of three blasts (Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah) with the Shofar during each of those Berachos, as the Beraisa (16b) says, there are a total of 18 Shofar blasts each day.

However, the Mishnah (15a) and Beraisa (16b) say that we add six Berachos after the Berachah of "Go'el Yisrael," and in the Berachah of "Go'el Yisrael" itself we add extra verses and prayers. The Mishnah makes it clear that we blow the Shofar in *all seven* of those Berachos -- including "Go'el Yisrael!" Consequently, since there are three Teki'os blown during each Berachah, and there are seven Berachos during which the Shofar is blown, the Beraisa should say that there are 21 Teki'os, and not just 18! Where does the Beraisa get the number of 18 Teki'os from?


(a) This question is the reason why the VILNA GA'ON here changes the Girsa to say "21" instead of "18." However, no record of such a Girsa may be found in the manuscripts or the Rishonim.

(b) The text of RABEINU CHANANEL, RAMBAN, RITVA and RA'AVAD reads that there were "*seven* blowings of the Shofar" that were blown in the seven Berachos of the Ta'anis. They did not blow three blasts (Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah) in each Berachah, but rather they blew a single blast for each Berachah (alternating between a Teki'ah and a Teru'ah every other Berachah).

How can these Rishonim say that only seven blasts of the Shofar are blown? The Gemara (16b) quotes a Beraisa that says that they blew a set of Teki'ah- Teru'ah-Teki'ah! The RITVA (15b) answers that the Beraisa there is expressing the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah, who says that the three blasts of Teki'ah- Teru'ah-Teki'ah are considered to be one long sound (and not three sounds), in Sukah 53b. The Chachamim, who hold that they are considered three distinct sounds, maintained that only a single Teru'ah or a Teki'ah is blown for each Berachah, as the Beraisa in the beginning of 16b says. Thus, both the Chachamim and Rebbi Yehudah agree that only one sound is blown for each Berachah, for a total of seven sounds.

The RA'AVAD, as quoted by the Ramban, understands the Girsa of "seven Teru'os" in a slightly different manner. The Ra'avad understands the Beraisa to be referring to the Teki'os blown *after* the Shemoneh Esreh (see previous Insight). Only one Teki'ah was blown each day after the Shemoneh Esreh. Thus, when the Beraisa says that during the seven days of Ta'anis, "seven blowings of the Shofar" were blown, it means that there was a total of seven Teki'os during those seven days, and it is referring to the Teki'os that were blown each day after the Shemoneh Esreh.

(According to the Ra'avad, the allusion from Yericho is for both the seven days and for the seven Teki'os. When the Jewish people surrounded Yericho, they circled the city for seven days. Each time they circled the city, they blew the Shofar.)

(c) RABEINU GERSHOM had yet a different Girsa in the Gemara. According to the Girsa of Rabeinu Gershom, the Beraisa says that on the seven days of fasting, "*13* blowings of the Shofar" are done each day. He arrives at that number in a very interesting fashion.

Rabeinu Gershom explains that the Beraisa later (16b) says that one of the Tefilos said during each of the seven special Berachos of a Ta'anis is the Tefilah of "Mi she'Anah." When the Beraisa describes the order of the Tefilos, it says, during the first of the seven Berachos, "They announced, *'Tik'u'* ("Let the Kohanim blow a Teki'ah"), then they recited 'Mi she'Anah,' and then the Kohanim blew *Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah*." The second part of the Beraisa says that "during the second Berachah, they announced, *'Heri'u'* (and not Tik'u), and then they said 'Mi she'Anah,' and then the Kohanim blew *Teru'ah-Teki'ah-Teru'ah*."

While most Rishonim understand the Beraisa to be saying that the Kohanim were called to blow at the beginning of Mi she'Anah but they did not blow the Shofar until after "Mi she'Anah" was said, Rabeinu Gershom understands the Beraisa differently. He says that they blew the Shofar first at the time that the Kohanim were originally told to blow (before Mi she'Anah), and again after Mi she'Anah was said! In other words, they blew the Shofar at two different times during each Berachah.

However, the Teki'os that the blew at the time of the announcement to blow differed from the Teki'os that they blew after "Mi she'Anah." Before "Mi she'Anah" they blew only *one* blast, alternating the Berachos with Teki'ah and then with a Teru'ah. After "Mi she'Anah," they blew *three* blasts, alternating between Teki'ah-Teru'ah-Teki'ah and Teru'ah-Teki'ah-Teru'ah.

That adds up to a total of 28 sounds, though. Where does the number 13 come from?

Rabeinu Gershom explains that the Gemara is counting only the Teru'os ("Hasra'os," as the Beraisa says). These are the sounds of the Shofar which arouse the people to do Teshuvah. During the first Berachah, of the four sounds that were blown only one of them was a Teru'ah. During the second Berachah, three out of the four sounds were Teru'os. Thus, the first two Berachos have a total of four Teru'os. Likewise, the next four Berachos have a total of eight Teru'os, while the last Berachah has only one Teru'ah, which comes to a total of 13 Teru'os.

(According to Rabeinu Gershom, the allusion of the conduct at Yericho not only refers to the seven days of blowing the Shofar, but also to the number of Teru'os as well. In Yericho, the Jewish people circled the city once each day for the first six days, blowing the Shofar. On the seventh day, they circled the city seven times blowing the Shofar. Altogether, they circled the city and blew the Shofar *13* times in *seven* days.)


Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,