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Laining on Shavuos

There are two ways to lain the Aseres Hadibros -- ta’am elyon and ta’am tachton. When reading the ta’am elyon, each of the commandments is read as one pasuk (even if they involve multiple pesukim). This method of reading is in accordance with the way the commandments were given on Har Sinai. The first two commandments of anochi and lo yihyeh, which were given together, are also read as one pasuk. The negative commandments of lo sirtzach, lo signov, lo sinaf, etc., are each read as a separate pasuk, since they are different commandments.  Laining according to taam tachton follows the way the pesukm are actually split up in the Torah. Accordingly, lo sirtzach, lo signov, etc., are read together as one pasuk because they are written together in one pasuk. On Shavuos--the day which commemorates matan Torah--the Aseres Hadibros are read according to the ta’am elyon, as they were given on Har Sinai. When a person reads them privately, he should read according to the ta’am tachton. There are different customs regarding the laining of the Aseres Hadibros during the weeks of Parshas Yisro and Va’eschonon.

[ ביה"ל תצד, א, ד"ה מבחודש]

Standing during the reading of the Aseres Hadibros

There is an ancient custom to stand while the Aseres Hadibros are read from the Torah. In a letter, the Rambam criticizes this custom, as it may cause people to erroneously think that these pesukim are superior to the other pesukim in the Torah. However, many Achronim uphold this custom and allow it to be practiced. They explain that it is self-evident to the participants, who are always careful to listen to laining, that all parts of the Torah are equally important. The standing during Aseres Hadibros is merely to commemorate ma’amad Har Sinai--Klal Yisroel standing at Har Sinai to accept the Torah. Other Achronim accept the Rambam’s argument and forbid standing up only for Aseres Hadibros.

[ ביאורים ומוספים דרשו תצד, 11]

Birchos Hashachar on Shavuos morning

There is a widespread custom to remain awake the entire Shavuos night in order to study Torah or recite Tikun Leil Shavuos. This leads to an issue regarding which of the Birchos Hashachar may be said in the morning. The following is a list of the pertinent halachos for one who remained awake throughout the night: 1) Al netilas yadayim and asher yotzor may be said after using the facilities. 2) The poskim disagree about whether Elokai neshama and hama'avir sheinah may be recited. A person who slept can be motzi a person who didn’t sleep when he recites these brachos. 3) There is also disagreement about whether birchos haTorah may be said. As in the previous case, one can listen to these brachos recited by a person who slept.  Mishnah Berurah rules that if one napped the day before for at least a half an hour, he may recite these brachos according to all opinions. Others disagree with this ruling. 4) Reciting a brachah on one’s talis koton is also subject to disagreement. When making a brachah on the talis gadol, one should have in mind to exempt his talis koton. 5) The rest of the birchos hashachar may be recited.

[ משנ"ב תצד, א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 8-7 ;וראה עוד שם]
  • The Rishonim disagree about whether the restrictions of Sefiras Ha’omer are kept during the first thirty-three days of sefirah or whether they can be kept during any thirty-three days of this period.

  • Rema rules that Lag B’omer is a day in which happiness is slightly increased.

  • There is an ancient custom not to do any labor after sunset during the days of Sefiras Ha’omer.

  • The first week of Chodesh Sivan

  • Tachanun after Shavuos

  • Placing flowers in shul on Shavuos
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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