Monday, November 06, 2006

Mashiv HaRuach UMorid HaGeshem

There is a Halachah about the recital of Mashiv Haruach U'Morid HaGeshem that is a bit anomalous. The Halachah is that Assur L'Yachid L'Hazkir Ad SheYachriz Shaliach Tzibbur - the individual is not allowed to recite Mashiv HaRuach etc. until the emissary of the congregation has announced the alteration. This is not true for, say, Yaaleh V'Yavo, or V'Sain Tal U'Matar. Even if no one would announce that change, we would all certainly recite them in any event.

A number of years ago, when I gave a summer Chaburah on Masseches Taanis, I was thinking about what the reason for the special status of Mashiv HaRuach was. I realized, after some thought, that this was probably not related to Mashiv HaRuach per se, but rather to the fact that this change is in the first three Berachos of Shemone Esrei - the Berachos of Shevach, of praise to Hashem. The Gemara (Berachos and Megilla) records the story of the Chazzan who recited many more praises of Hashem than the standard "HaKel HaGadol HaGibor V'HaNora", and was criticized for it.

So, we need a Mattir - some sort of license to change the Nussach of the first three Berachos. That license is the Hachraza of the Shaliach Tzibbur - as he has the power of the Tzibbur vested in him. The Tzibbur, embodied by their Shaliach, has a special license to alter the Nussach of the Tefilla, due to the special efficacy of their prayer, even the first three Berachos, when the appropriate time comes.

[I mentioned this Sevara to my Rosh Kollel, who appreciated it at the time, and said that it sounded like something Rav Solovetchik might say. I indeed subsequently found this Sevara in Rav Schachter's MiPeninei HaRav.]

The question arises, however, regarding the Aseres Y'mei Teshuva. How do we alter the Nussach of the first three Berachos then - with HaKel HaKadosh and the two insertions of Zochrainu and Mi Chomocha without any Hachraza?

I think the answer lies in a Gemara in Rosh Hashana (18a) and the Rambam's codification thereof. The Rambam writes in Hilchos Teshuva (2:6) :
[ אף על פי שהתשובה והצעקה יפה לעולם, בעשרת הימים שבין ראש השנה ויום הכיפורים היא יפה ביותר, ומיד היא מתקבלת, שנאמר "דרשו ה', בהימצאו; קראוהו, בהיותו קרוב" (ישעיהו נה,ו). במה דברים אמורים, ביחיד; אבל בציבור--כל זמן שעושין תשובה וצועקין בלב שלם הן נענין, שנאמר "כה' אלוהינו, בכל קוראנו אליו

" Although Teshuva and Tze'aka are always good, during the ten days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur it is exceptionally good, and is accepted immediately, as it states "Seek out Hashem when He is available, call to Him when He is close". When is this so, by an individual; but by the Tzibbur -- at any time that they do Teshuva and cry out with a complete heart they are answered..."

During the Aseres Yemei Teshuva, every individual has that Koach of the efficacy of his prayer, just like the Tzibbur all year round. There is no need for a license of the Shaliach Tzibbur.

[This idea, that the Koach of the individual during ASY"T is like that of the Tzibbur all year round, is also brought in the Kehillos Yaakov by the Steipler Gaon to Masseches Berachos, in a different context.]

This may be alluded to in the Passuk that tells us about this ten day quantum leap in the efficacy of our Tefilla. The source for this is the Passuk in Yeshaya:

קראהו, בהיותו קרוב

Normally, the word קראהו should be spelled Malei, with a Vav after the Alef, since it is a plural of Kra'u + hu - "Call to Him". The way the word is spelled, it can be read as Kera'ehu - as for an individual. The Navi is combining the individual and the Tzibbur into one word, to tell us that when Hashem is close, during those Ten Days, we each rise to the level of the community in our Tefillah.

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