1) PERFORMING A MITZVAH FROM WHICH ONE IS EXEMPT
QUESTIONS: The Gemara cites an opinion that women may not blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah that coincides with Shabbos, even though children are permitted to blow the Shofar. The Gemara says that this is the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah who says in a Beraisa that "Ein Benos Yisrael Somchos" -- women may not do perform Semichah on a Korban. RASHI (DH Ha Nashim) explains that the reason women are not permitted to blow the Shofar on Shabbos is because the act constitutes a transgression of Bal Tosif, adding to the Mitzvos, since women are exempt from the Mitzvah of Shofar.
Rashi's explanation is difficult to understand.
(a) Why does the performance of a Mitzvah which one is not obligated to perform constitute Bal Tosif? Bal Tosif applies only when one is obligated to perform a Mitzvah and he adds some detail to its performance which the Torah does not mandate. If the Mitzvah of Shofar does not apply to women at all, why does their act of blowing the Shofar constitute Bal Tosif? (MAHARSHA)
(b) If Bal Tosif is the reason why women may not blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah that coincides with Shabbos, then women should be prohibited from blowing the Shofar on any day on which Rosh Hashanah occurs, even on a weekday. The Gemara, however, refers specifically to blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah that coincides with Shabbos. If women are prohibited from blowing the Shofar on Shabbos but not on weekdays, then the reason for the prohibition must not be because of Bal Tosif. Rather, the reason must be related to the prohibition against blowing the Shofar on Shabbos when it is not blown for the Mitzvah of Shofar (see 29b). Similarly, it is prohibited for women to perform Semichah on a Korban because -- with no obligation to perform Semichah -- their act of leaning on the sanctified animal constitutes Avodah b'Kodshim, an unauthorized use of a sanctified animal. The reason is not because of Bal Tosif. (TOSFOS, Eruvin 96a; TUREI EVEN)
It is clear from the words of RASHI
in Eruvin (96a) that Rashi does not mean literally that a woman who performs a Mitzvah from which she is exempt transgresses the prohibition of Bal Tosif. Rashi there says that "it appears like Bal Tosif." That is, the Rabanan decreed that a woman may not perform an act of a Mitzvah from which she is exempt because it appears
as though she is adding a Mitzvah to the Torah. Rashi does not mean that one who performs a Mitzvah from which he is exempt transgresses the prohibition of Bal Tosif. (See Insights to Eruvin 96:1
(b) Perhaps Rashi infers from the Gemara in Eruvin that the reason why women may not blow the Shofar on Shabbos is not due to the prohibition against blowing a Shofar on Shabbos. The Gemara in Eruvin (96a) says that according to the opinion that women may not blow the Shofar on Shabbos and may not perform Semichah, women also may not perform the Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel (visiting the Beis ha'Mikdash during the festival). Why may a woman not perform the Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel? TOSFOS in Eruvin explains that the Gemara means that a woman may not perform Aliyah l'Regel in order to offer a Korban Re'iyah; since she is exempt from the obligation to offer a Korban Re'iyah, the animal she would bring into the Azarah would be considered an animal of Chulin (non-sanctified), and one may not bring such an animal into the Azarah.
Rashi may understand that the Gemara there means simply that a woman may not perform a Mitzvah which she is not obligated to do, such as Aliyah l'Regel, because of the Rabanan's decree which prohibits doing an act which has the appearance of Bal Tosif.
When the Gemara here says that women may not do Semichah, it does not limit this prohibition to the opinion which maintains that Semichah must be done with all of one's strength ("b'Kol Kocho"; see Chagigah 16b). Rashi may understand that even according to the opinion that Semichah does not need to be done with all of one's strength, women may not do Semichah. Consequently, the reason they are prohibited from doing Semichah cannot be because of Avodah b'Kodshim, since Semichah done without all of one's strength does not constitute a use of the animal (as one does not actually use the animal to support himself). It must be that the prohibition is due to another reason -- a decree of the Rabanan against performing an act that appears like Bal Tosif. (M. KORNFELD)
2) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "SHEVARIM" AND A "TEKI'AH"
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the different opinions with regard to the type of sound the Torah refers to when it commands to blow a "Teru'ah" on Rosh Hashanah. Some say that it is a series of elongated, moaning sounds ("Shevarim"), while others say that it is a series of short, whimpering sounds (see Chart for a detailed discussion of the different opinions).
If the Teru'ah is a series of longer blasts (Shevarim), then what is the difference between each of those sounds and the Teki'ah? They are both elongated sounds!
(a) TOSFOS explains that the Teki'ah is longer than the Shevarim (which, in turn, is longer than the Teru'ah). If the Teki'ah is three "Turmitin" long, then the Shevarim is only two "Turmitin" long.
(b) The RAMBAN (in Derashos) cites RABEINU CHANANEL who explains that the difference is that the Shevarim contains an interruption between its sounds, while there is no interruption between the sounds of the Teki'ah. The Ramban explains that this does not mean that one must pause between each blast of the Shevarim. Rather, it means that each sound is a "broken" sound, one whose tone changes in the middle (it goes up and down). The Teki'ah, in contrast, is a steady, solid sound with a single tone. (The difference between the sounding of the Shevarim and Teru'ah alludes to Hash-m's attributes. The straight sound of the Teki'ah alludes to the attribute of Rachamim, mercy, while the broken sounds of the Shevarim and Teru'ah allude to the attribute of Din, strict justice.)
(Some commentators explain that the Ramban also means that the three Shevarim should not be separated from each other, but rather they should be one long, connected, rising and falling sound, as is the practice among Jewish communities from Germany. The Teru'ah, according to these authorities, is a series of successive staccato sounds.)
The RITVA, however, disagrees and says that the sounds of the Shevarim must also be straight, like the Teki'ah, and they cannot have two varying tones in them.