By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Many people are aware that Rav Yom Tov Lippmnn Heller zt”l the Rav of Cracow and the author of the Tosfos Yom Tov composed a special prayer, a mi sh’bayrach, for those who refrain from talking during Davening. Unfortunately, not all of us have reached this ideal yet, which is why the Tefilah of the Tosfos Yom Tov was necessary.
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 124:7) discusses the terrible Aveira of talking during Shmoneh Esreh. Indeed, it is the only place in Shulchan Aruch where Rav Karo uses the expression, “ v’gadol avono minso – his sin is too great to carry.” It would seem that Rav Karo employed the language used by Rabbeinu Yona in his Igeres HaTeshuvah ( section 6). The Mishna Bururah (124:27) cites the Eliyahu Rabbah that a number of shuls ended up being destroyed on account of this violation.
The Tefilah of the Tosfos Yom Tov was composed during the Chmelnieki Massacres 1648-1649 (Gzeiras Tach v’tat) where some 300,000 Jews were murdered by Cossacks under his leadership. The Chida explains that it was revealed to the Tosfos Yom Tov from Heaven that the talking was the cause of the terrible tragedy. We still recite the special Mishebayrach to this day in many communities throughout the world.
The question arises, however, as to when the ideal time for this mishebayrach is to be recited. This was one of the questions that were recently posed to Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita during the visit of Mr. Larry Gordon, owner of the Five Towns Jewish Times, this past Sunday.
As background, many shuls recite it in between the Aliyos that are called on Shabbos morning. There are places that recite it after the silent Shmoneh Esreh, but before the reader repeats the Shmoneh Esreh. One can see both pluses and minuses in doing it then.
The plus side is that this is the time when the actual challenge for the people arises. It is bad and wrong to talk, converse, and disturb during the repetition of the Shmoneh Esreh. Wouldn’t it be best to recite this Tefilah right before the Chazan repeats the Shmoneh Esreh?
The down side is that the time between the Shmoneh Esreh and Chazaras HaShatz should not be one where we interrupt with a long item that is not necessary for Shmoneh Esreh.
The Alter of Slabodka zt”l addresses the fact that people engage in frivolous activity during this time between the Shmoneh Esrehs and (Or HaTzafun Bereishis p. 59) and he decries the situation.
On account of the fact that this time should have no interruptions,, Rabbeinu Yoseph of Posen zt”l (Likkutim on Shulchan Aruch p. 333), son-in-law of the Noda BiYehudah, ruled that one should not auction of the opening of the Aron Kodesh during this time.
There are also Poskim (Shulchan HaTahor cited in Binyan Ephrayim page 83) that hold that if one spoke during the weekday in between the two Shmoneh Esrehs then one does not do Nefilas Apayim for Tachanun. Other Poskim write that if one did so bdieved, we still do Nefilas Apayim. The halacha is like the latter Poskim, but still, we see that it is quite a serious matter.
Below we find the transcript of the written query to Rav Chaim:
1. האם מותר לרב של קהילה לומר את המשברך של התוספות יום טוב לפני חזרת הש”ץ?
Is it permitted for the Rabbi of a congregation to recite the special mishebayrach of the tosfos yom tov (for those who don’t talk during tefilah) before chazaras haShatz but after the shtilla shmoneh esreh?
למה לא? טוב מאד לעשות!
Rav Chaim responded, “Why not! This is a good thing to do!”
It is clear that Rav Chaim is of the position that it is good and proper to say it when it would be most effective.
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