How to combat the Soton’s arguments on Rosh Hashonah

The tekiyos that are blown during Musaf are known as tekiyos d’meumad--the tekiyos blown while standing. During these tekiyos, both the ba’al tokaya and those who are listening to the tekiyos must stand. It is also forbidden to lean on an object or structure to the extent that one would fall if the support was removed. B’dieved, one who sat during these tekiyos has still fulfilled his obligation. The tekiyos before Musaf are known as tekiyos d’meyushav—the tekiyos blown while sitting--since one may sit while blowing or listening to these blasts. Since these tekiyos were not the primary tekiyos designated to fulfill the basic obligation, sitting is permitted. The purpose of these tekiyos is to convey our affinity for the mitzvah of tekiyas shofar by blowing extra blasts. This will in turn dispel any arguments from the prosecuting angel.

[שו"ע תקפה, א, ומשנ"ב ב; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 4]

Why do we stand during birchos hamitzvos?

All birchos hamitzvos must be said while standing. The word v’tzivonu (“and He commanded us”) connotes that we are in Hashem’s service; just as the avodah in the Beis Hamikdosh was done while standing, we stand when calling attention to our own service. In addition, sitting during the brochah gives the impression of denigrating the mitzvah. Those who are fulfilling their obligation by listening to the brochah must also stand during its recital.

Although, as explained, a person is allowed to sit during the tekiyos d’meyushav, it has become customary for the tzibur to stand while listening to the blowing. Some Achronim explain the reason as follows: A person must not talk from when the brochah is recited (before Musaf) until after the tekiyos d’meumad are blown. Since it is difficult for people not to talk, the primary tekiyos were switched from being blown during Musaf to being blown before Musaf. As such, the tzibur must stand while they are blown.

[משנ"ב תקפה, א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 1, 3 ו־4, בהרחבה ע"פ המקור]

When should a bris be scheduled on Rosh Hashonah?

A bris milah that takes place on Rosh Hashonah should be scheduled before tekiyas shofar, based on the following three reasons: 1) Bris milah is reminiscent of Avrohom Avinu, while tekiyas shofar with a ram’s horn is evocative of Akeidas Yitzchok. It is proper to commemorate the father before the son. 2) Bris milah is more commonplace than Tekiyas Shofar. As a rule, the more frequent mitzvah has precedence over the less common mitzvah. 3) It is beneficial for the tzibur to have the merit of bris milah during tekiyas shofar. Even if the bris will not take place in shul, it is appropriate to schedule a bris before tekiyas shofar for the above reasons.

[שו"ע תקפד, ד, ומשנ"ב יא]
  • The custom in some congregations is to open the Aron Hakodesh during Avinu Malkeinu. Those who have this custom also stand during Avinu Malkeinu out of respect for the sifrei Torah.

  • The poskim encourage all G-d-fearing people to receive an aliya during the Yomim Noraim. Although it may entail some form of financial outlay, it is nonetheless important to do so.

  • Although throughout the year a minor may receive the aliya of maftir, only a married and respected member of the community should receive the aliya during the Yomim Noraim. Some are not particular about this matter, except in the case of maftir on Shabbos Shuvah

  • Why should the shofar be blown from the right side of the mouth?

  • Which side should a left-handed person blow from?

  • Why should the shofar be covered during the brochah?
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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