SOTAH 40 (30 Sivan) - Dedicated by Dr. Alain Bitton of Geneva, Switzerland, in memory of his grandmother, Freha bat Haviva Bitton a"h.

OPINIONS: The Gemara explains what the Tzibur is supposed to say when the Shali'ach Tzibur recites the blessing of "Modim." Several Amora'im prescribe various phrases of praises to say. Rav Papa says that the Tzibur should say all of them. The BEIS YOSEF (OC 127) writes that because of Rav Papa's ruling, the prayer which the Tzibur says is referred to as "Modim d'Rabanan," which means the prayer of "Modim" composed by many Rabanan.
Does the text of the prayer of "Modim d'Rabanan" include a blessing ("Baruch Atah...")?
(a) The Gemara here implies that no blessing should be said at the end of the prayer. This is consistent with the teaching of the Gemara in Berachos (46a) that a praise ends with a blessing ("Baruch Atah...") only when it also begins with a blessing ("Baruch Atah...").
This is the ruling of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Berachos 9:4).
(b) However, the Yerushalmi (cited by Tosfos here, DH Al) does include a Berachah at the end of "Modim d'Rabanan": "Baruch Atah Hash-m, E-l ha'Hoda'os." (The RASHBA in Berachos (34a, end of DH Rava Kara) explains why the Yerushalmi says that "Modim d'Rabanan" ends with a blessing even though it does not begin with a blessing.) This was the practice of the ROSH as cited by the Tur (OC 127), with which the DARCHEI MOSHE concurs.
(c) However, the TALMIDEI RABEINU YONAH in Berachos (32a of the pages of the Rif, DH uv'Yerushalmi) discuss a similar contradiction between the Bavli and the Yerushalmi (whether or not the blessing of "Borei Nefashos" ends with a blessing). They make a compromise and write that one should conclude the prayer with a blessing but omit the words "Atah Hash-m" (i.e. "Baruch E-l ha'Hoda'as").
This is the common practice today (both for the prayer of "Modim d'Rabanan" and for the blessing of Borei Nefashos), as the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 127) writes. (The Rema does not disagree with this ruling.)


QUESTION: The Gemara says that in the Beis ha'Mikdash, the one who recites the blessings concludes each blessing with the words, "Baruch Hash-m Elokei Yisrael Min ha'Olam v'Ad ha'Olam...." The people respond, "Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso...," because "we do not respond 'Amen' in the Beis ha'Mikdash."
Why, in the Beis ha'Mikdash, is a different text recited as the Chasimah (conclusion) for blessings, and why is a different response given to blessings?
ANSWER: The MAHARSHA here explains that only in this world is the name of Hash-m pronounced as the name of "Adnus." In the World to Come, Hash-m's name will be pronounced the way it is written, as the Gemara in Pesachim (50a) teaches. In the Beis ha'Mikdash, blessings are concluded with the words "Ad ha'Olam" (literally, "until the world") to show that only until the end of this world will the name "Adnus" be used to refer to Hash-m. After this world, the Name will be revealed it its entirety. This is why in the Beis ha'Mikdash, "Baruch Shem Kevod... l'Olam va'Ed" ("forever") is the refrain. Since the Tetragrammaton as it is spelled is alluded to in the blessings uttered in the Beis ha'Mikdash (with the words "Baruch Hash-m... Ad ha'Olam"), the people proclaim that this is the name which will be used "for eternity," in the World to Come.
The Maharsha continues and explains that one says "Amen" after he hears a blessing because the word "Amen" alludes to both names of Hash-m -- the way it is written (the Gematriya of which is 26) and the way that it is pronounced (the Gematriya of which is 65). The two names combined have a Gematriya of 91, which is the same value as the word "Amen." "Amen" is not said in the Beis ha'Mikdash because there the eternity of the ineffable Name is emphasized, and alluding to the finite quality of this world (which is represented by the Holy Name as it is pronounced) should be avoided. The people therefore respond to blessings in the Beis ha'Mikdash with the words, "Baruch Shem Kevod... l'Olam va'Ed," which allude only to the Holy Name as it is written.
RAV YITZCHAK HUTNER zt'l (Pachad Yitzchak, Yom Kippur; see Insights to Pesachim 50:1 and 56:2) adds that it is for the same reason that one says "Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso..." after the verse of "Shema Yisrael." Normally, when one mentions the name of Hash-m in a blessing, he is required to have in mind only the concept of Hash-m's Adnus, His sovereignty (see Shulchan Aruch OC 5). When one recites the Shema, however, he must also have in mind the ineffable Name as it is written (Vilna Ga'on to Shulchan Aruch OC 5). Since one concentrates also on the spelling of that name, he says immediately afterwards, "Baruch Shem Kevod... l'Olam va'Ed" and proclaims that "this is the name that will last forever." (See also Insights to Berachos 63:1.)
QUESTION: The Mishnah teaches that after the Kohen Gadol reads Parshas Acharei Mos (Vayikra 16:1 to 18:30) and the verses in Parshas Emor that discuss Yom Kippur (Vayikra 23:26-32), he rolls up the Torah scroll, holds it close to his chest, and reads by heart the verses in Parshas Pinchas (Bamidbar 29:7-11) that discuss Yom Kippur.
Why is the Kohen Gadol permitted to read verses by heart? The Halachah prohibits one from reading verses in the Torah by heart (Gitin 60b).
(a) The RITVA in Yoma (70a) explains, based on the Yerushalmi, that the prohibition against reading verses of the Torah by heart applies only to verses which must be read publicly ("Chovas Keri'as Tzibur"). The prohibition does not apply to verses read for the sake of reviewing the Torah or for the sake of giving praise to Hash-m. The Kohen Gadol is permitted to read verses of the Torah by heart on Yom Kippur because there is no obligation to read those verses publicly. Rather, they are read merely for the sake of reviewing the topics relevant for the day. (This is in contrast to the explanation of Rashi, who writes that there is an obligation to read the verses publicly.)
(b) The TOSFOS YESHANIM in Yoma (70a) explains that there is no prohibition against reading verses of the Torah by heart. Rather, it is a Mitzvah Min ha'Muvchar (the most preferable way to perform the Mitzvah) to read the verses from the Sefer Torah. The Rabanan permitted the Kohen Gadol to read part of the Torah by heart on Yom Kippur in order not to trouble the people to wait as he rolled the Sefer Torah to the proper place. The Rabanan permitted him not to do the Mitzvah in the most preferable way for the sake of the honor of the Tzibur.
(c) The TALMIDEI RABEINU YONAH in Berachos (9b) cite RABEINU SHLOMO MIN HA'HAR, who asks a similar question on the Gemara in Berachos. He explains that the Torah requires an individual to read certain verses, but it does not require him to read them from a Sefer Torah. For example, the Torah requires one to recite the Shema twice each day, but it permits him to recite the verses of Shema by heart. The Torah does not expect every person to read the Shema twice each day from a Sefer Torah. The same applies to the verses of Birkas Kohanim which the Kohanim recite each day when they bless the people. Similarly, the Gemara in Ta'anis (27b) says that when the Beis ha'Mikdash is not standing, one who recites the Parshah of Korbanos in the Torah is considered as though he offered the Korbanos. One certainly is not required to recite the Parshah of Korbanos every day from a Sefer Torah.
Since the Torah permits one to recite these verses by heart, he may recite them by heart even when he does not perform a specific Mitzvah when he reads them. For this reason, the Kohen Gadol may read by heart the verses which discuss the Korbanos of Yom Kippur.
It seems that these three answers of the Rishonim appear to be based on three different reasons for the prohibition against reciting verses of the Torah by heart.
The first reason is that when one reads verses by heart, he might make a mistake. This reason is consistent with the explanation of the Ritva (a), who says that one must read from a Sefer Torah only when there is an obligation to read the verses in public (see also Tosfos to Temurah 14b, DH Devarim). In order for the Tzibur to fulfill the obligation, the reader must not make a mistake. In contrast, when one reads verses for the sake of giving praise to Hash-m the consequences of making a mistake are not as severe, because he is not attempting to fulfill any obligation.
(See also the TUR (OC 49) who quotes his uncle, HA'RAV REBBI CHAIM, who says that one may recite verses by heart when he is fluent in those verses, because there is no concern that he will err. This is also the approach of RABEINU TAM cited by the MORDECHAI in Gitin (#407). This reasoning also seems to be the basis of the answer of the SHILTEI GIBORIM in Megilah (14a of the pages of the Rif), who rules that it is permissible for the congregation as a whole to recite verses by heart. When the entire congregation recites verses by heart, it is unlikely that everyone will make the same mistake.)
The second reason given for the obligation to read verses from the Sefer Torah and not by heart is cited by the BEIS YOSEF (OC 49) and by the RITVA in Gitin (60b) in the name of the RAMBAN. The written word -- which one sees when he reads the verses from the Sefer Torah -- contains various elements and meanings which one does not see when he recites the verses by heart. The advantage of reading the verses with those deeper meanings, however, is only a Mitzvah Min ha'Muvchar; one certainly fulfills his obligation if he does not have in mind those deeper meanings. This is consistent with the answer of the Tosfos Yeshanim (b).
The third reason is offered by the KOL BO. If one recites verses by heart in front of an open Sefer Torah, the people present might think that those verses are not part of the Torah. Therefore, one must always read from the Sefer Torah. This reason is consistent with the answer of the Talmidei Rabeinu Yonah (c). If verses are normally recited by heart in the course of a Mitzvah, everyone knows that they are in the Torah and that they are recited by heart only out of necessity. No one will think that they are not written in the Torah. (M. Kornfeld) (See also Insights to Yoma 68:2, Ta'anis 26:1, and Temurah 14:3.)
QUESTION: The Mishnah relates that the Kohen Gadol recites eight blessings in the afternoon of Yom Kippur when he reads from the Torah. Those eight blessings include the familiar blessings of Birkas ha'Torah, Avodah ("Retzeh"), Hoda'ah ("Modim"), and Mechilas Avon (the central blessing of the Shemoneh Esreh of Yom Kippur), as well as four blessings unique to the Avodah of Yom Kippur: a blessing for the Mikdash, a blessing for Yisrael, a blessing for the Kohanim, and a blessing for Yerushalayim. The Mishnah adds that the Kohen Gadol then recites "the rest of the Tefilah."
The Gemara (41a) explains that "the rest of the Tefilah" refers to a prayer in which the Kohen Gadol beseeches Hash-m to protect the Jewish people. This prayer concludes with the blessing, "Shome'a Tefilah."
If the Kohen Gadol also recites the blessing of "Shome'a Tefilah," he recites nine blessings and not eight. Why does the Mishnah say that he recites only eight blessings?
(a) In the text of the printed Mishnayos (both here and in Yoma 7:1), the words "v'Al Yerushalayim" do not appear, and do they do not appear in the Yerushalmi (Sotah 7:6 and Yoma 7:1). When the Beraisa lists the eight blessings, it does not include these words. The BACH and VILNA GA'ON delete these words from the Mishnah in the Vilna Shas in Yoma (68b). These words also do not appear in the Beraisa cited in Yoma (70a) which lists the eight blessings. Most of the Rishonim, including Rashi in Yoma, the Rambam (Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim 3:11), and Rabeinu Elyakim, quote the Mishnah without these words.
Although Rashi here writes that "the Yerushalmi explains the blessing for Yerushalayim," the Yerushalmi makes no mention of such a blessing. Apparently, Rashi refers to the blessing for the Kohanim, because he does not explain that blessing anywhere else. (It is probable that the word "Yerushalayim" in the text of Rashi is a mistake, and it should read "Kohanim" instead.) Rashi means that the blessing for Kohanim is described in the Yerushalmi (as indeed it is). Accordingly, there are eight blessings (the blessing of "Shome'a Tefilah" is the eighth).
According to the Girsa that includes the words "Al Yerushalayim," perhaps the Mishnah merely uses these words to give another description for the blessing for the Mikdash, which, according to the Yerushalmi cited by the Rambam (Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim 3:11), ends with the words "Shochen b'Tziyon" -- "Who dwells in Zion," a reference to Yerushalayim.
(b) The RAMBAM in Perush ha'Mishnayos (here and in Yoma) also omits the blessing "Al Yerushalayim," but he presents a slightly different way of counting the eight blessings. He counts Birkas ha'Torah, the blessing for the Torah, as two blessings. The Kohen Gadol recites one blessing before he reads the Torah and a second blessing after he reads the Torah. The Rambam counts the blessing for Yisrael and the blessing of "Shome'a Tefilah" as one blessing: the Kohen Gadol prays that Hash-m protect the Jewish people and he concludes his prayer with the words "Shome'a Tefilah," as the Beraisa (41a) mentions. This is the eighth of the eight blessings.
The Rambam's text of the Mishnah apparently lists the blessing for Kohanim before "Al Yisrael" and "the rest of the Tefilah." Since those two blessings are listed consecutively ("Al Yisrael and the rest of the Tefilah"), the Rambam understands that they are counted as a single blessing. (However, in Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim (3:11), the Rambam explains the Mishnah like the Rishonim cited above in (a), and he places the blessing for the Kohanim after the blessing for Yisrael.)
(c) The ME'IRI cites Rishonim who have the text of "Al Yerushalayim" in the Mishnah, and he writes that according to this Girsa the last blessing ("Shome'a Tefilah") is a general prayer and is not included in the count of eight blessings. (See also Insights to Yoma 70:2.)