1) AGADAH: THE THREE BASIC TENETS OF JUDAISM
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that we recite ten verses of Malchiyos, ten verses of Zichronos, and ten verses of Shofros on Rosh Hashanah. The Gemara records several opinions with regard to the source for reciting specifically ten verses of each. Rebbi Levi says that the ten verses correspond to the ten "Hilulim" ("Halleluhu") in the last chapter of Tehilim, in which Teki'as Shofar is mentioned. Rav Yosef says that they correspond to the Ten Commandments of the Aseres ha'Dibros, which were given at Har Sinai amidst a resounding Shofar blast. Rebbi Yochanan says that they correspond to the ten utterances with which Hash-m created the world on Rosh Hashanah.
What, though, is the significance of three categories of verses (Malchiyos, Zichronos, Shofros)?
The SEFER HA'IKARIM (1:4) explains that there are three basic tenets of belief which form the foundation of Emunah (in contrast to the Rambam's opinion that there are thirteen basic tenets). When a person accepts these three tenets, his acceptance of all other facets of Emunah will follow. These three tenets are: (1) Emunah that Hash-m created the world, (2) Emunah that Hash-m gave us the Torah (and told us His Mitzvos), and (3) Emunah that Hash-m will ultimately reward and punish us according to our deeds (this includes belief in Olam ha'Ba, belief in Hashgachah Pratis, and the belief that Hash-m scrutinizes every one of our deeds).
The Sefer ha'Ikarim says that on Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, we strengthen our belief in these three tenets with the recitation of the three blessings of Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros. In the blessing of Malchiyos we proclaim that Hash-m is the King and Creator of the world. "It is incumbent upon us to praise the Master of all, to attribute greatness to the Creator."
The blessing of Zichronos expresses our belief that Hash-m knows all of our deeds and rewards or punishes accordingly. "You remember all deeds that have ever taken place and keep in mind all that has ever transpired."
In the blessing of Shofros we affirm our belief in the Giving of the Torah. "You were revealed in your cloud of glory... on Har Sinai to teach Your people Torah and Mitzvos."
RAV DAVID COHEN shlit'a (in BIRKAS YA'AVETZ, "Malchus b'Rosh Hashanah" #4) explains that perhaps this is the reason for why the Gemara suggests three different sources for reciting ten verses of Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros. The first source the Gemara cites is the ten Hilulim in the last chapter of Tehilim. That chapter describes how we will praise Hash-m with every type of musical instrument and with a circular dance ("Machol," see Ta'anis 31a) when Hash-m will reveal Himself to all in the World to Come. (That chapter immediately follows the chapter which describes the "new song" that will be sung to Hash-m after the final redemption (Rashi to Erchin 13b, DH b'Nevel; see Rav David Cohen's OHEL DAVID volumes II and IV, end of Tehilim).) The ten Hilulim serve as the source for reciting ten verses of Zichronos, which affirm our faith in the World to Come and in Hash-m's promise to ultimately reward and punish each person according to his deeds.
The second source the Gemara cites is the Aseres ha'Dibros. They provide the source for reciting ten verses of Shofros in which we affirm our belief in the Giving of the Torah.
The third source is the ten utterances with which Hash-m created the world, which provide a source for reciting ten verses in Malchiyos in which we proclaim that Hash-m is the Creator of the world. The Torah relates each of the three tenets of belief to the number ten.
Others point out that many other groups of three also correspond to these three basic tenets of Emunah. For example, each of the three Avos exemplified the belief in one of these tenets. Avraham Avinu was the first to call Hash-m "the Master" (Berachos 7b), and he taught the nations of the world that Hash-m is the Creator of the world. Yitzchak, whose attribute was "Pachad" ("Pachad Yitzchak," Bereishis 31:42), taught the world that Hash-m is aware of all that a person does and will ultimately judge each person for his every deed. Yakov Avinu, "Ish Tam Yoshev Ohalim" (Bereishis 25:27), dwelt in the houses of Torah study, learning and teaching Torah. He taught the world that Hash-m gave the Torah and its Mitzvos.
Similarly, Keri'as Shema is comprised of three sections. In the first section, which begins with the words, "Shema Yisrael Hash-m Elokeinu Hash-m Echad," we declare that Hash-m is One in this world -- that He is the source and Creator of all. This corresponds to the belief that Hash-m created the world. The second section discusses the reward that people will receive for following Hash-m's will and the punishment they will receive if they fail to follow His will. The second paragraph of Shema corresponds to the second of the three tenets. In the third section of Shema, which discusses the Mitzvah of Tzitzis, we declare the belief that Hash-m gave us the Mitzvos of the Torah. "You shall see them (the Tzitzis) and remember all of the Mitzvos of Hash-m and perform them" (Bamidbar 15:39; as Rashi there explains, the Gematriya of "Tzitzis" plus the eight strings and five knots equals 613, the number of Mitzvos in the Torah).
2) HALACHAH: ANATOMY OF THE ROSH HASHANAH MUSAF SHEMONEH ESREH
The Gemara discusses which verses may be used as the ten verses in each of the three sections of the Musaf Shemoneh Esreh on Rosh Hashanah -- Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros. Although the Shemoneh Esreh of Musaf which appears in today's Machzorim generally reflects the conclusions of the Gemara, there are a number of specific practices in today's Musaf which do not seem to conform with the Gemara's conclusions.
(a) The Gemara discusses an argument whether the verses of "Se'u She'arim Rosheichem" (Tehilim 24:7-10), which include several mentions of Hash-m's Kingship, are considered three mentions of Malchiyos or five. In the text of the Shemoneh Esreh of Rosh Hashanah recited today, two verses from Kesuvim are recited in addition to the verses of "Se'u She'arim." Apparently, the verses of "Se'u She'arim" count as only one verse of Malchiyos. The Gemara, however, says that they counted at least as three verses of Malchiyos.
The ROSH answers that when the Gemara says that ten verses must be recited, it is giving the minimum number of verses. We certainly are permitted to mention additional verses of Malchiyos. Accordingly, we mention two additional verses of Malchiyos from Kesuvim besides the verses of "Se'u She'arim," even though there are already ten verses of Malchiyos (as the verses of "Se'u She'arim" count as either three or five).
(b) We recite as one of the ten verses of Zichronos the verse, "Hash-m remembered Noach" (Bereishis 8:1). Why do we recite this verse? The Gemara says that we do not mention a Zikaron which is associated with an individual and not with the Tzibur.
The answer is that the Gemara allows the recitation of the verse, "Hash-m remembered Sarah" (Bereishis 21:1), even though it is a Zikaron of an individual, because "many people (the entire Jewish nation) came from her" through this Zikaron. Similarly, since the entire world was repopulated through Noach, the Zikaron of Noach counts as a Zikaron of many people.
This explains why we introduce the verse, "Hash-m remembered Noach," in the Shemoneh Esreh with a declaration that Hash-m saved Noach "in order to make his children as numerous as the dust of the earth and his offspring like the sand of the sea." Noach's repopulation of the world is what justifies mentioning the verse even though it seems to be a Zikaron of an individual. (M. Kornfeld)
(c) In the section of Shofros, besides the three verses of Shofros from Kesuvim, we recite the entire chapter of "Haleluhu b'Teka Shofar" (Tehilim 150). Since we have already recited three verses of Shofros, why do we add these verses from Tehilim?
The ROSH cites the RAVYAH who says that we recite this chapter of Tehilim (which mentions the blowing of the Shofar) because we never properly concluded the Shofros section with a tenth verse from the Torah. The verse from the Torah mentions "Teki'ah" and "Chatzotzeros" (Bamidbar 10:10) but does not mention "Teru'ah" or "Shofar," and therefore it does not count as one of the ten verses of Shofros. It must be that this verse is mentioned only as part of the blessing (because its mention of Teki'ah relates to Rosh Hashanah) but not as one of the verses of Shofros. Accordingly, we recite "Haleluhu b'Teka Shofar" to complete the number of ten verses of Shofros. Even though this passage is from Kesuvim, and the Mishnah says that we should conclude with a verse from the Torah, we are permitted to end with a verse from Kesuvim or Nevi'im as the Gemara said.
The Rosh, however, rejects this suggestion. He asserts that the verse from the Torah which mentions Teki'ah does count as the tenth verse of Shofros even though it does not mention Teru'ah or Shofar. "Teki'ah" is the same as "Teru'ah"; both count as a verse of Shofros. The reason we say the verses of "Haleluhu b'Teka Shofar" is merely to recite additional verses of Shofros, for we are allowed to add extra verses to the minimum number of ten (as the Rosh explained earlier). (The Rosh cites support for this approach from the Sifri.)
The AVUDRAHAM adds that there is good reason to mention these extra verses from Tehilim: the Gemara itself (32a) lists these verses (the ten Haleluhu's) as the source for saying ten verses of Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofros.
3) AGADAH: THE ACCEPTANCE OF HASH-M'S KINGSHIP ON ROSH HASHANAH
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses a dispute whether the verse, "Shema Yisrael Hash-m Elokeinu Hash-m Echad," is considered a verse of Malchiyos such that it counts as one of the ten verses which must be recited in the Musaf Shemoneh Esreh of Rosh Hashanah.
RAV YITZCHAK HUTNER zt'l (in PACHAD YITZCHAK, Rosh Hashanah, Ma'amar 11) asks that the Gemara earlier (32a) says that "Ani Hash-m Elokeichem" is the source for reciting verses of Malchiyos. Why, then, is there any argument whether the verse of Shema Yisrael counts as an expression of Malchiyos? The words "Hash-m Elokeinu" in the verse of Shema Yisrael should be the ideal expression of Malchiyos, because the verse of "Ani Hash-m Elokeichem" is the undisputed source for Malchiyos!
Conversely, when one recites Keri'as Shema he must recite the verse in its entirety, including the words "Hash-m Echad," in order to properly fulfill the Mitzvah to accept Hash-m's Kingship upon oneself. If one leaves out the words "Hash-m Echad," he has not properly expressed his acceptance of Hash-m's Kingship, because the words "Hash-m Elokeinu" are not sufficient. Why, then, is "Ani Hash-m Elokeichem" a valid source for reciting Malchiyos if those words do not fully express Hash-m's Kingship?
Another difference exists between the acceptance of Malchus Shamayim of Keri'as Shema and the acceptance of Malchus Shamayim in the blessing of Malchiyos on Rosh Hashanah. In Keri'as Shema, one accepts upon himself the Kingship of Hash-m with an emphasis on the love of Hash-m, "v'Ahavta Es Hash-m." On Rosh Hashanah, in contrast, one accepts upon himself the Kingship of Hash-m with an emphasis on the fear of Hash-m (as Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the "Yamim Nora'im," the Days of Awe). What is the basis for this difference?
ANSWER: RAV HUTNER
zt'l cites the words of Rashi on the verse of Shema Yisrael. Rashi explains that the verse means, "Listen, O Israel: Hash-m, Who is our G-
d now in this world, will be One G-
d [accepted by all people] in the World to Come." This principle is expressed in the Gemara in Pesachim (50a) which says that in this world Hash-m is not recognized by all as One. The Gemara adds that in this world man does not recognize the singular goodness behind all that happens. Consequently, in this world a person recites one blessing for bad tidings ("Dayan ha'Emes") and a different blessing for good tidings ("ha'Tov veha'Metiv"). Times of suffering appear to be times of strict judgment and punishment, while times of prosperity appear to be times of mercy and goodness. Olam ha'Ba will be different; there, one will recite one blessing, "ha'Tov veha'Metiv," on all that happens, because "on that day Hash-m will be One and His Name will be One" (Zecharyah 14:9). (See Insights to Pesachim 50:1
Rav Hutner explains that man's mission on Rosh Hashanah is to accept Hash-m as King in this world according to the limits of his perception in this world. A person in this world cannot fathom the concept of Hash-m's Kingship the way it will be revealed in the World to Come when "Hash-m will be One and His Name will be One." In this world, we do not see Hash-m as Echad, but rather as both "Dayan ha'Emes" and "ha'Tov veha'Metiv." Therefore, when we accept upon ourselves Hash-m's sovereignty on Rosh Hashanah, we must do so with the expression of "Ani Hash-m Elokeichem" -- without the additional "Hash-m Echad" -- "Hash-m is One." This verse expresses the way we perceive Hash-m as King in this world. The acceptance of Hash-m as King the way He will be perceived in the future is not part of our present experience, and thus such an acceptance cannot comprise a full-hearted acceptance of Malchus Shamayim.
In contrast, in our acceptance of Hash-m's sovereignty in Keri'as Shema, we proclaim our belief in the way Hash-m will be recognized in the future when His true Oneness will be revealed to and perceived by all. Accordingly, one does not fulfill his obligation properly if he recites Shema Yisrael without the words "Hash-m Echad," for he omits the essential component of the future acceptance of Hash-m's sovereignty, that Hash-m will be recognized as One. On Rosh Hashanah, however, these words are not an ideal expression of the this-worldly Kingship of Hash-m which we proclaim in Malchiyos. (Even though the verse "Shema Yisrael" also contains the words "Hash-m Elokeinu," that phrase is not the main point of the verse and thus "Shema Yisrael" does not count as a verse of Malchiyos. Alternatively, the phrase "Hash-m Elokeinu" in the verse is not an expression of our acceptance of Hash-m as King, but it is a statement of fact: "Hash-m, Who right now is our G-d...." In order to be considered a verse of Malchiyos, the verse must contain an acceptance of Hash-m as King and not merely be a statement of the fact that Hash-m is our G-d. See PACHAD YITZCHAK, ibid. #22.)
This also explains the emphasis in Keri'as Shema on the love of Hash-m ("v'Ahavta"). Keri'as Shema refers to the time in the future when we will perceive Hash-m as "ha'Tov veha'Metiv" and we will be drawn to Hash-m through our love for Him. In this world, in contrast, when we accept Hash-m as our King as we perceive Him now -- as the judge of mankind, "Dayan ha'Emes," and as "ha'Tov veha'Metiv" -- we accept His Kingship through an expression of awe and fear.