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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sotah 39



(a) Rava bar Rav Huna learned from the Pasuk "u'che'Poscho Amdu Kol ha'Am" - that talking, even Divrei Torah, is forbidden, once the Seifer-Torah has been opened for Leining.

(b) "Amdu" means 'they stopped talking'.

(c) Rebbi Zeira Amar Rav Chisda learns exactly the same thing from the Pasuk "ve'Oznei Kol ha'Am el Sefer ha'Torah".

2) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi learns from the Pasuk "Se'u Yedeichem Kodesh u'Varchu es Hashem" - that a Kohen is obligated to wash his hands before Duchening, failing which, he is not permitted to Duchen.


(a) Rebbi Elazar ben Shamua attributed his long life to the fact that he never made the Beis-Hamedrash a Kapendarya, never trod on the heads of the holy people - and (in his capacity as a Kohen) never Duchened without first reciting a B'rachah.

(b) 'Kapendarya' is the acronym of 'a'de'Makifna a'Darei, Ei'ul be'Ha' (instead of making my way round these rows of houses, I will go through here').

(c) When he said that he never trod on the heads of the holy people - he meant that he never clambered over the heads of the Talmidim who were sitting on the floor, to get to his place; he either arrived early or waited outside until the session was finished.

4) Besides the B'rachah that a Kohen recites before Duchening, he also recites one prayer as he goes up to Duchen, and another prayer when he turns round after Duchening. He prays ...
1. ... on his way up to Duchen - that the B'rachah that he is about to bless Yisrael should not cause a stumbling-block or a sin.
2. ... when he turns round after Duchening - that now that the Kohanim have fulfilled their obligation, Hashem should do what He promised to do (to look down from His Holy dwelling, and bless His people Yisrael).



(a) The Kohanim are permitted to bend the joints of their fingers - as soon as they have turned away from the Tzibur.

(b) Rebbi Zeira Amar Rav Chisda lists the stages of Birchas Kohanim. The care that must be taken by ...

1. ... the one who announces 'Kohanim' is - to wait until the Tzibur have finished responding Amen to the B'rachah.
2. ... the Kohanim (before reciting the B'rachah (of 'Asher Kidshanu .. ') is - to wait until the Tzibur have finished responding Amen to their first B'rachah.
3. ... the Tzibur, before responding 'Amen' is - to wait until the Kohanim have finished the B'rachah.
4. ... the Kohanim, before beginning each B'rachah is - wait until the Tzibur have finished responding 'Amen'.
(c) The Kohanim are permitted ...
1. ... to turn away from the Tzibur - when the Shatz begins 'Sim Shalom'.
2. ... to go down from the Duchan - with the termination of the Amidah.
(a) Rebbi Zeira Amar Rav Chisda prescribes that before ...
1. ... the Tzibur respond 'Amen' to the B'rachah of the person who is called up to the Torah - he has completed the B'rachah.
2. ... the Ba'al Korei before he begins to Lein - the Tzibur have finished responding 'Amen'.
3. ... the Metargem (translator) before he begins to translate the Pasuk just read by the Ba'al Korei - that the Ba'al ha'Korei has completed the Pasuk.
4. ... the Ba'al Korei before he continues to Lein - that the Metargem has finished translating the previous Pasuk.
(b) The reason for these Halachos - is due to the principle 'T'rei Koli Lo Mishtam'i' (it is not possible to hear [properly] two voices simultaneously, and certainly not someone else whilst one is oneself talking).
(a) Rebbi Tanchum Amar Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi says that the person who reads the Haftarah - must first read in the Torah (Maftir).

(b) He forbids him to begin the Haftarah until the Golel has finished his Mitzvah - so that the Magbihah and the Golel will be able to concentrate on the Haftarah.

(c) And when he says 'Ein Sh'liach Tzibur Rashai Le'hafshit es ha'Teivah be'Tzibur' - he means that, after they finish Leining, the Shamash should not remove the cloths from the Aron (that were brought together with the Sefer-Torah and placed there in its honor) before the Tzibur have left to accompany the Sefer-Torah back to its current (protected) location. Only after they have departed is he permitted to remove them from the Aron and return them to where the Sefer-Torah is housed.

(d) The reason for this is - because of Kavod Torah (i.e. Tircha de'Tzibura), so that the people will not have to wait for him whilst he removes the cloths from the Aron.

(a) He also forbids the people to leave the Shul before the Sefer-Torah has been picked up to return to its place. Shmuel is even more stringent - forbidding them even to leave until the Sefer-Torah has been taken out of the Shul.

(b) The two opinions do not argue - because Rebbi Tanchum Amar Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi speaks when there are two entrances, in which case, one is permitted to leave from the second entrance as soon as they have picked up the Sefer-Torah; whereas Shmuel speaks when there is only one entrance, in which case, one should not leave before the Sefer-Torah.

(c) bar Ahina learned from the Pasuk "Acharei Hashem Elokeichem Teilechu" - Shmuel's Halachah (that one should not the Shul before the Sefer-Torah).

(a) The significance of the three Pesulim in Tehilim ...
1. ... "Borchu Hashem Mal'achav, Giborei Ko'ach"; "Borchu Hashem Kol Tzeva'av, Meshorsav Osei Retzono"; "Borchu Hashem Kol Ma'asav be'Chol Mekomos Memshalto, Borchi Nafshi es Hashem" is - that this is what the Tzibur recite as an expression of thanks and acknowledgment to Hashem following the three B'rachos with which the Kohanim have just blessed them.
2. ... "Shir ha'Ma'alos, Hinei Borchu es Hashem Kol Avdei Hashem"; "Se'u Yedeichem Kodesh u'Varchu es Hashem"; "Baruch Hashem mi'Tziyon Shochen Yerushalayim Halelukah" - is that those are the three Pesukim which they recite at Shabbos Musaf.
(b) In the last set of Pesukim, they substitute the third Pasuk (which is taken from the following chapter) for "Yevarech'cha Hashem mi'Tziyon Oseh Shamayim va'Aretz" (which is written in the same chapter) - because the latter Pasuk speaks about Hashem blessing Yisrael, whereas all the Pesukim deal with Hashem being blessed (to acknowledge His having blessed them).

(c) They recite different Pesukim at Shabbos Musaf than at Shachris - because Duchening then is a new institution, that did not exist during the week.

(a) The Tzibur recite the Pesukim "Im Avoneinu Anu Vanu Hashem, Asei Lema'an Shemecha"; "Mikveh Yisrael Moshi'o be'Eis Tzarah Lamah Sih'yeh ke'Ger ba'Aretz"; "Lamah Sih'yeh ke'Ish Nidham, ke'Gibor Lo Yuchal Le'hoshi'a?" - at Minchah on a Ta'anis.

(b) They recite special Pesukim then - because again, it is something new that was not done on other days?

(c) The Kohanim Duchen at Minchah on a Ta'anis but not otherwise - because they do not need to worry about the possibility of being drunk, which they do on regular days.

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