The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

View Profile

Monday, October 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Shemini Atzeres

On Shemini Atzeres we begin to recite "Mashiv haruach umorid hagashem" in the middle of the second berachah of Shemonah Esreih. This phrase is so integral to the Shemonah Esreih that if it is omitted, Shemonah Esreih must be repeated. A question arises when one is in doubt as to whether or not they have recited it. Tur (OC 114) writes that this uncertainty, like many uncertainties in halachah, is decided by means of chazakah, an inclination that indicates which way to resolve the uncertainty. After thirty days of reciting the phrase properly, it is considered habitual and if one is uncertain as to whether or not they have recited it, they may assume that they have. Within the thirty days one must assume that they have not become accustomed enough and have likely omitted it and must repeat Shemonah Esreih.

Tur cites a tactic from Maharam MiRutenberg (and adds that his father, the Rosh agreed to this) to remedy this problem even within the first thirty days. On Shemini Atzeres, he would recite the beginning of the second blessing until "Mashiv haruach, etc." 90 times corresponding to the 90 times he would say it during the 30 days. This allowed him to be considered accustomed immediately and if he ever was unsure whether or not he said "Mashic haruach" he would not have to repeat Shemonah Esreih.

Tur also cites the source for this trick. The mishnah (Bava Kamma 23b) relates a dispute between R' Yehudah and R' Meir regarding the establishment of an ox as a goring ox. The Torah (Shemos 21:29) teaches that if an ox has gored already yesterday and the day before, i.e. three times, it is considered "muad," prone to gore and the consequences change. R' Yehudah takes the words of the pasuk literally and requires that three gores take place on three separate days. R' Meir, however, considers an ox prone for goring even if it gored three times in one day. His reasoning, employed by Maharam MiRutenberg, is that if spaced out gores establish the ox as prone, certainly more frequent gores will establish the same. So too, if the recitation of "Mashiv haruach" 90 times in 30 days establishes one as accustomed, certainly doing so in one day should accomplish the same.

The Magen Avraham and Taz attack this reasoning as the halachic conclusion of the gemara is in accordance with R' Yehudah. How then can Maharam MiRutenberg employ the reasoning of R' Meir?

The Drishah and Noda Bihudah give the identical answer to this difficulty. The reason why R' Yehudah disagrees with R' Meir is due to his literal interpretation of the pasuk. In theory, however, he totally agrees with R' Meir's logic. Therefore, although we rule halachically like R' Yehudah with respect to the laws of the ox, the reasoning of R' Meir is still valid and may be employed in our situation.

Have a Chag Samei'ach!

Eliezer Bulka


Post a Comment

<< Home