(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 26

TA'ANIS 26 - sponsored in memory of Fishel Yitzchok ben Shmuel (Yahrzeit: 16 Elul) by his children and grandchildren.


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.


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 Halachah?

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.

(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.

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.)

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 recited.

Next daf


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