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Rosh Hashanah 29


OPINIONS: The Gemara earlier (28b) quotes Rava who says that "Mitzvos do not need Kavanah." That is, one does not need specific intent to fulfill the Mitzvah while performing the act of the Mitzvah. Therefore, says Rava, if one was forced against his will to eat Matzah on Pesach night, he fulfills the Mitzvah.

The Gemara here (29a), though, relates that Rebbi Zeira told his assistant to have Kavanah to be Motzi him when blowing the Shofar. Rebbi Zeira clearly seems to be arguing with Rava. According to Rava, who holds that Mitzvos do not need Kavanah, the only time one does not fulfill the Mitzvah is when the Shofar is being blown with short, barking sounds, and not with the proper sounds of the Shofar. But if one blows the Shofar properly, and the person listening knows that it is the Shofar that he is hearing, then he fulfills the Mitzvah and neither the blower nor the listener need Kavanah to fulfill the Mitzvah. Since Rebbi Zeira and Rava seem to argue whether or not Mitzvos need Kavanah, whom does the Halachah follow?

(a) The ROSH and BEHAG (and as implied by the words of the RIF) rule that the Halachah follows Rebbi Zeira, because the Beraisa says explicitly that if the listener had Kavanah and the blower did not have Kavanah, then the listener does not fulfill his obligation. The Beraisa says that only when *both* of them have Kavanah will they fulfill the Mitzvah. Even though the Gemara (28b) explained this Beraisa, according to Rava, to be saying that the reason the listener and blower did not fulfill the Mitzvah is because the blower did not blow proper Teki'os altogether (but rather he made short barking sounds), the simple understanding of the Beraisa supports Rebbi Zeira's opinion -- that one must have Kavanah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah for oneself and for others. Moreover, the Yerushalmi proves from this Beraisa that one must have Kavanah in order to fulfill the Mitzvah. Therefore, these Rishonim rule like Rebbi Zeira, because his opinion is supported by the straightforward understanding of the Beraisa, and it is also consistent with the Yerushalmi.

(b) The MAHARITZ GE'AS (cited by the TUR OC 569), RABEINU CHANANEL here and the BA'AL HA'ME'OR rule like Rava, that Mitzvos do not need Kavanah. Even though the Beraisa says that if the blower did not have Kavanah to fulfill the Mitzvah then he does not fulfill the Mitzvah, that is referring to when he did not blow proper Teki'os, as the Gemara explained earlier according to Rava.

(c) RAV SHERIRA GA'ON and the RAN here (cited by the DARCHEI MOSHE 475:6) maintain that l'Chatchilah, one must have Kavanah, as can be seen from Rebbi Zeira's statement. However, b'Di'eved one fulfills the Mitzvah without Kavanah, as can be seen from Rava's statement. Therefore, one does not have to repeat the performance of the Mitzvah if he did not have Kavanah the first time.

(d) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR quotes "Yesh Mefarshim" who explain that Rebbi Zeira and Rava are not arguing at all. They both hold that Mitzvos do not need Kavanah. Rebbi Zeira merely requires that one have Kavanah that he is blowing the Shofar and *letting the other person hear* the Shofar, but not that he has to have Kavanah to fulfill the Mitzvah. This might be the opinion of the RAMBAM who cites both statements of Rava and Rebbi Zeira as the Halachah.

(e) The RAN understands the RAMBAM differently. He says that the Rambam holds that Mitzvos require Kavanah and that is why the Rambam says that the listener and the blower must have Kavanah to fulfill the Mitzvah (Hilchos Shofar 2:4). Why, though, does the Rambam (Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah 6:3) write that one fulfills the Mitzvah of eating Matzah when he was forced against his will to eat it? Because the Rambam holds that a Mitzvah of eating, Achilah, is different than all other Mitzvos, and one fulfills the Mitzvah even though he does not have Kavanah. Since one's body gets pleasure out of the eating even when he does not intend to, he fulfills the Mitzvah the same way that he transgresses an Aveirah when he is forced to eat something that is forbidden. (This is in accordance with the logic that Rashi suggested logic at the bottom of Daf 28a.)

It is not clear, however, how the Ran understands the Rambam's words in Hilchos Keri'as Shema (2:1), where he says that one who reads the Shema without Kavanah fulfills the Mitzvah (even though there is no physical pleasure involved).

(1) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 60:4) records the first two opinions, and concludes that the Halachah follows the ROSH and BEHAG, that Mitzvos need Kavanah. Therefore, if one performed an act of a Mitzvah and did not have Kavanah to fulfill the Mitzvah, he must repeat the Mitzvah. However, he may not recite a Berachah when he repeats the Mitzvah, because there are opinions that say that Mitzvos do not need Kavanah. (MISHNAH BERURAH 60:9)

The MAGEN AVRAHAM, citing the RADBAZ, says that this applies only to Mitzvos d'Oraisa, but for Mitzvos d'Rabanan one does not need have to repeat the Mitzvah. The VILNA GA'ON (OC 489) argues, though, and says that Mitzvos d'Rabanan need Kavanah as well.

When it comes to a Mitzvah that is eaten, such as Matzah or eating in a Sukah, the Poskim are more lenient, since the Rambam (according to the Ran, above (e)) makes this an exception and says that one fulfills such a Mitzvah even without Kavanah. (BI'UR HALACHAH ibid. DH v'Yesh Omrim)

(2) However, the BI'UR HALACHAH (based on the Milchamos) writes in a case where a person was Mis'asek in the performance of a Mitzvah, and had not idea that what he was doing was an act of a Mitzvah, he is not Yotzei the Mitzvah according to any of the above opinions (and therefore must recite a Berachah when he performs it again). For instance, if a person picks up a Lulav on the first day of Sukos thinking that today is *not* Sukos at all, or thinking that the Lulav is not a valid Lulav, or if he eats Matzah thinking that it is not Pesach or that this is not a Matzah, he has certainly not fulfilled the Mitzvah.

Another case in which he certainly has not fulfilled the Mitzvah because of lack of intent, is when a person specifically has in mind that he does *not* want to fulfill the Mitzvah with this act. (MISHNAH BERURAH 60:9, based on Rabeinu Yonah in Berachos and others)

The opposite is true -- that is, there is no question that one *does* fulfill the Mitzvah -- if he did the action *in the context of the performance of a Mitzvah*, but he merely did not have specific intent that he was doing so for the purpose of the fulfillment of Hashem's will (CHAYEI ADAM #68, based on Tosfos in Sukah, cited by the MISHNAH BERURAH (60:10). In this case it is considered as though he had Kavanah, since the context of his action shows that it was done for the sake of the Mitzvah. (For this reason, it is not necessary to recite "l'Shem Yichud" in order to fulfill the Mitzvah.)

(3) The BI'UR HALACHAH adds that the rule "Mitzvos Tzerichos Kavanah" applies even to Mitzvos that are not obligatory, such as Tzitzis (if one does not wear a four cornered garment, he has no obligation to wear Tzitzis) and Sukah (if one does not want to eat, he has no obligation to sit in a Sukah -- other than the first night). If one puts on Tzitzis without intending to fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis, not only has he not fulfilled the Mitzvah, but he has *violated* the Mitzvas Aseh by wearing a four- cornered garment without Tzitzis! Because people normally find it difficult to bear in mind that they are fulfilling a Mitzvah while they are rapidly doning a Talis for an Aliyah la'Torah, the Mishnah Berurah recommends using a Talis borrowed from a friend, rather than the synagogue's public Talis, since a borrowed garment is exempt from Tzitzis.

(It might be pointed out that this does not seem to be agreed upon by all. The MINCHAS CHINUCH writes (Mitzvah 386) that if one sits in a Sukah that has stolen Sechach, although it is a Mitzvah ha'Ba'ah b'Aveirah and one does not receive credit for fulfilling the Mitzvah of Sukah, nevertheless, he also has not transgressed the Aseh of not eating outside of a Sukah -- since he is, after all, sitting inside of a Sukah. According to the Minchas Chinuch, apparently one has not transgressed the Mitzvah of Sukah or Tzitzis unless he *physically* is not sitting inside of a Sukah and does not have strings of Tzitis on his garment. Not fulfilling the Mitzvah properly does not necessarily entail a violation of the Mitzvas Aseh.)


QUESTION: The Mishnah states that in the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash, when Rosh Hashanah fell on Shabbos they blew the Shofar only in the Mikdash itself. After the Churban, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai decreed that they blow the Shofar in Yavneh (according to Rebbi Elazar) or in all cities that have a Beis Din (according to the Tana Kama). The Mishnah adds that Yerushalayim had an elevated status over Yavneh in that even the cities that were nearby to Yerushalayim could blow the Shofar on Shabbos of Rosh Hashanah.

The beginning of the Mishnah implies that during the times of the Beis ha'Mikdash, the Shofar was blown only in the Mikdash and nowhere else, not even in Yerushalayim, as Rashi says. This seems to contradict the end of the Mishnah, though, which says that when they blew the Shofar in *Yerushalayim*, the city had a special status in that the nearby cities also blew the Shofar. If they blew the Shofar only in the Mikdash before the Churban, and in all cities with a Beis Din after the Churban, at what point did Yerushalayim have a special status?


(a) TOSFOS (DH Aval Lo) and the RA'AVAD (Hilchos Shofar 2:8) explain that the Mishnah is referring to Yerushalayim after the Churban. After the Churban, when Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai made his decree, not only did he enact that the Shofar should be blown in every city that has a Beis Din (or in Yavneh), but he also decreed that Yerushalayim should have a special status and that all cities near Yerushalayim should also blow the Shofar even if they do not have a Beis Din. It was all part of Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai's decree.

The RITVA asks that according to this explanation, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai actually made two decrees with regard to blowing the Shofar on Shabbos after the Churban -- first, that they should blow the Shofar in every city that has a Beis Din, and second, that they should blow the Shofar in cities close to Yerushalayim. Those are two separate decrees. Why, then, does the Gemara later (31a) count these two decrees as only one decree? The Gemara implies that there was only one decree -- to blow the Shofar in cities that have a Beis Din; Yerushalayim was not afforded special status by Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai. If so, at what point did Yerushalayim have a special status?

Furthermore, if the Mishnah is referring to the status of Yerushalayim after the Churban, why should it be more special than Yavneh? All of the Chachamim were in Yavneh, as was the Beis Din ha'Gadol, while Yerushalayim was virtually desolate!

(b) The RITVA and MAHARSHA answer that Yerushalayim had a special status of blowing the Shofar in surrounding cities *before* the Churban but *after* the Beis Din ha'Gadol moved out of the Lishkas ha'Gazis into the city proper. Since the Beis Din had moved into Yerushalayim, a special Takanah was made (not by Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai) that the Shofar be blown in Yerushalayim on Shabbos of Rosh Hashanah and not in the Mikdash, and that the cities surrounding Yerushalayim should also blow the Shofar on Shabbos.

Hence, there were three stages in the blowing of the Shofar on Shabbos of Rosh Hashanah. The first stage was that the Shofar was blown only in the Mikdash. Second, when the Beis Din ha'Gadol left the Lishkas ha'Gazis, the Shofar was blown in Yerushalayim and nearby cities. Third, after the Churban, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai decreed that the Shofar should be blown in every city that has a Beis Din.

(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shofar 2:8), the RAMBAN and TOSFOS YESHANIM explain that when the Mishnah says that they blew the Shofar in the Mikdash, it does not just mean in the Beis ha'Mikdash alone, but it means in the Beis ha'Mikdash *as well as in Yerushalayim*. Even though the term "Mikdash" normally refers only to the Beis ha'Mikdash and not to Yerushalayim (such as in the Mishnah on 30a), in this Mishnah it also includes Yerushalayim.

The Rambam, in PERUSH HA'MISHNAYOS, goes even further and says that every time the Mishnah uses the term "Mikdash" it refers to the Beis ha'Mikdash as well as to Yerushalayim. In the Mishnah later (30a) which states that the Lulav was taken seven days in the Mikdash, the Rambam explains this to mean that it was taken seven days in the entire city of Yerushalayim (see also Insights to Sukah 42:2:b).

(d) The RAMBAN (Derashos, p. 444) gives another answer and says that indeed the original enactment was to blow the Shofar on Shabbos only in the Mikdash and not in Yerushalayim. The cities near Yerushalayim also blew the Shofar, though. There was not need to institute blowing the Shofar in Yerushalayim itself, because the people living there could simply go to the Mikdash if they wanted to hear the Shofar. That is what the Mishnah means when it says that Yerushalayim had a special status over Yavneh -- *before* the Churban.

The Ramban asserts that this is also the intention of Rashi, who writes that the Mikdash does not include Yerushalayim, and yet when Yerushalayim was standing they blew in the surrounding cities. Rashi might mean to explain the Mishnah like the Ramban.

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