Volume 38: Number 76
Mon, 14 Sep 2020
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
From: Micha Berger
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2020 13:50:27 -0400
Subject: [Avodah] [Torah Musings] Why Did the Holocaust Happen
A survey by R Gil Student.
(And a couple of the comments on his post.)
Why Did the Holocaust Happen?
Posted by: Gil Student
Posts Sep 7, 2020
As I reviewed the weekly Torah reading for this past Shabbos, which
includes the tochekhah (Deut. 28), I was taken back to my teenage years,
reading it one Saturday or Sunday afternoon and seeing Jewish history in
it. To a non-religious Jewish teenager in the 1980's who grew up among
survivors, the question of God in the Holocaust was not a faith issue
that could be ignored. Reading the biblical text with minimal commentary
(I think I used S.L. Gordon's secular commentary), I saw a prophecy that
sin would lead to the kind of inhuman devastation seen in the Holocaust,
a prediction that was fulfilled thousands of years later. To me, the
Holocaust was not an impediment to faith but a convincing proof of
Judaism's truth claims.
Not everyone sees it that way. Many are offended by the very claim that
the Holocaust was a divine punishment, although often due to objections
that miss important discussions in traditional Jewish literature which
we will mention briefly below. The issues are so sensitive, and during
the 1970's and 1980's in particular the denominational conflicts were so
strong, that unnecessarily forceful rhetoric turned an issue of faith
into a weapon. In my opinion, a legitimate theological view has been
dismissed due to heightened sensitivities and denominational politics.
I. Five Approaches to the Holocaust
Modern Orthodoxy has developed two main theologies of the Holocaust:
1) Hester Panim - God hid His face, turned away, and let mankind
unleash wanton violence. R. Norman Lamm takes this approach in his
"The Face of God: Thoughts of the Holocaust". It is important to
note that God hides His face (Deut. 31:17) due to Jewish sins (ibid.,
16). (Some claim that brief mentions of hester panim by R. Joseph B.
Soloveitchik in his Kol Dodi Dofek constitute his adoption of this
approach, but see R. Reuven Ziegler, Majesty and Humility, p. 277 n. 4,
where he dismisses this interpretation.)
2) Free Will - God allows mankind the free will to sin, which includes
the ability to murder and torture others. R. Eliezer Berkovits advocates
this approach in his Faith After the Holocaust.
The alternative approaches generally discussed are:
3) Anti-Zionism - The Satmar Rebbe's argument that Zionism led to the
Holocaust, in his Al Ha-Ge'ulah Ve-Al Ha-Temurah.
4) Zionism - The Religious Zionist argument that the Holocaust paved the
way for the creation of the State of Israel. This view is attributed
to R. Zvi Yehudah Kook (see Aviezer Ravitzky, Messianism, Zionism and
Jewish Religious Radicalism, pp. 126-128).
5) Secularization - R. Avigdor Miller popularized the view that the
assimilation and secularization of Jews in the 150 years prior to the
Holocaust resulted in this punishment. R. Norman Lamm quotes this from
R. Miller's Rejoice O Youth (pp. 278-279) and you can find quotes on
the subject by searching TorasAvigdor.org for the word "Holocaust".
(A reader informed me that R. Miller has a book on the subject was
posthumously published -- A Divine Madness: Rabbi Avigdor Miller's
Defense of Hashem in the Matter of the Holocaust.)
II. The Slabodka Holocaust Theology
I would like to explore here the approach of a Holocaust victim,
Rav Avraham Grodzinski, the mashgiach of the Slabodka yeshiva who
perished in 1944. I will be blending in another important view of Rav
Grodzinski, along with his son-in-law Rav Shlomo Wolbe's presentation of
Rav Grodzinski's approach in Rav Wolbe's (anonymously published) book
of outreach speeches given in the wake of the Six Day and Yom Kippur
wars (originally published as Bein Sheshes Le-Asor, later republished
as Olam Ha-Yedidus). Rav Grodzinski's approach is most similar to that
of Rav Miller, which is not surprising since the latter studied in the
Slabodka yeshiva. However, I am not sure that Rav Miller developed it
in the same way as Rav Grodzinski and he certainly did not present it
in the same sensitive way as Rav Wolbe.
Rav Avraham Grodzinski succeeded Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel ("The Alter")
as mashgiach of the Slabodka yeshiva, when the latter moved to Israel
and established a branch of the yeshiva in Chevron. Rav Grodzinski (a
brother-in-law of Rav Ya'akov Kamenetsky) stayed in Europe to the end,
suffering a martyr's death in the Kovno Ghetto in 1944. He sent his
writings to his students in Israel, who together with his surviving
sons published them in 1963 as Toras Avraham, a brilliant book of profound
Mussar thought presented in the style of Talmudic thinking.
Rav Shlomo Wolbe first published Bein Sheshes Le-Asor anonymously in
1975, although it is clearly in his style and was posthumously republished
by the foundation to publish his writings. The book consists mainly of
his outreach lectures throughout Israel, spurred by the renewed interest
in Israel awakened by the Six Day War and Yom Kippur War. The chapter
on the Holocaust, however, was prepared for a class at the Bais Ya'akov
of Jerusalem (commonly known as BJJ). I assume that Rav Wolbe included
this chapter because he believes that this issue is important to those
seeking to grow in faith.
Rav Wolbe begins with a story emphasizing the importance of finding
meaning in your suffering. It is obvious, he says, that we must help
others by alleviating their suffering in any way possible. However,
faith teaches us that there is meaning in suffering, a lesson to be
learned. Rav Wolbe continues that even when God hides His face from us,
there are no accidents. Therefore we must examine our lives to see what
God wants from us. This is true not just for individuals but for nations
as a whole. Throughout, Rav Wolbe quotes mainly biblical verses to prove
his points, although I can think of many Talmudic passages that would
The believer is strengthened from the fact that destruction and suffering
do not occur by happenstance but rather come guided by divine providence
after ample warning. The traditional Jewish texts of the Bible, Talmud
and Midrash warn us of the horrific consequences of sin. Rav Wolbe
highlights in particular the language of the Gemara (Kesubos 111a),
while sidestepping the specific Talmudic context, of "If not, I (God)
will abandon your flesh like the gazelles and like the hinds of the
field." Due to sin, Jewish flesh will be hunted like animals.
Nobody, Rav Wolbe continues, is allowed to decide for what reason the
Holocaust happened to us unless he personally suffered himself. Only a
victim can conduct this examination of the generation. As we will later
see, Rav Grodzinski did not necessarily agree with this. Perhaps Rav
Wolbe set this condition for rhetorical purposes. Regardless, with that
introduction, Rav Wolbe then invokes Rav Grodzinski's Holocaust theology.
III. Suffering and Sins
The introduction to Toras Avraham (1978 second edition, p. 17) describes
how Rav Grodzinski discussed at length with his students in the Kovno
Ghetto the spiritual causes of the Holocaust. He listed twelve primary
sins, or areas where we were lacking, and exhorted them to strengthen
the Jewish people in these areas if they survived the war. Rav Grodzinski
wrote all these talks down but the writings were lost in the war. Rav
Mordechai Zuckerman survived and recorded the twelve lackings from
memory. They are:
2) Shabbos observance
3) Family purity
4) Kosher food
5) Charging interest
6) Torah education of children
7) Wasting time that could be used for Torah study
8) Loving your fellow Jew
9) Lovingkindness (chesed)
10) Making do with less (histapkus)
11) Trust in God
12) The land of Israel (I don't know what this means in this context).
I do not know if Rav Grodzinski applied Talmudic statements to his
contemporary events, such as "seven punishments come to the world due to
seven sins" (Avos 5:8), or if he looked at specific types of suffering and
found the "measure for measure" in them, or a combination of both methods
or something else. Because his writings were lost, we lack insight into
his specific methodology. Regardless, I appreciate his general approach,
as described below, and recognize that he used it to reach specific
conclusions, which I find worthy as areas to strengthen ourselves.
Rav Wolbe adds to the above list the general secularization of the
Jewish people that began with Emancipation and continued with the
Jewish Enlightenment. This was accompanied by widespread abandonment
of Jewish faith and practice. Historically, he claims, every period of
"enlightenment" has ended with Jewish tragedy. The Holocaust continues
that historical cycle.
I believe that Rav Grodzinski's Holocaust theology is intimately connected
with his theology of suffering. In a series of lectures in late 1936
and early 1937, Rav Grodzinski explored the unique value of suffering
to the religious personality. It might be worthwhile noting that since
childhood, Rav Grodzinski suffered great physical pain that he overcame
through sheer force of personality.
Rav Grodzinski begins by pointing out what we lost as a nation and as
individuals by the cessation of prophecy (roughly) after the destruction
of the First Temple. The prophets informed us of our sins, directed us
to the proper behavior, guided us to spiritual recovery. When prophecy
ceased, we lost that guidance but were not left without any religious
compass. Suffering shows us where we must focus. God punishes us measure
for measure. Therefore, we can look at our suffering, our punishment,
as a guide for where we need to improve our behavior.
To some degree, suffering is more effective than prophecy. "The removal of
Achashverosh's ring (for the sealing of Haman's decree) was more effective
than the forty-eight prophets and the seven prophetesses who prophesied
on behalf of the Jewish people. They all were unable to bring the Jewish
people to repentance, but the removal of Achashverosh's ring brought them
to repentance" (Megillah 14a). Additionally, suffering empowers you to
find your own path to redemption, without the need for a third party,
a prophet. Suffering not only directs you to improve but encourages you,
offers you the incentive of freedom from suffering.
Rav Grodzinski adds (p. 54) that suffering guides not only the sinners
but others, as well. When we see someone suffering and understand the sin
that caused it, we learn a very persuasive lesson about what behavior we
should avoid. This is true also about the educational value of nations
making flawed decisions that seal their fate. The suffering of nations
teaches us what national mistakes to avoid (cf. Zephaniah 3:6-7).
In Rav Grodzinski's view, a wise and learned person, steeped in
Talmud and Midrash, can examine the suffering of the Holocaust to
identify its underlying spiritual causes and learn from them. After
conducting a careful examination, Rav Grodzinski reached his conclusions
(unfortunately, his thought process was recorded in writing but lost)
and beseeched his students to work to fix these spiritual problems.
IV. Common Objections
1) Rav Wolbe concludes with a common question: Why did righteous people
suffer in the Holocaust? He quotes Rav Grodzinski as explaining that the
more righteous someone is, the harsher he is judged. R. Akiva suffered
from Roman torture and murder because, we are told, "this intention arose
before" God (Menachos 29b). What is that intention? Rashi (Gen. 1:1)
says, "At first God intended to create the world under the attribute of
strict justice, but He realized that the world could not thus endure
and therefore gave priority to mercy combined with justice." R. Akiva
and the other righteous individuals are judged with the initial intent,
Even without Rav Wolbe's interpretation of this passage, we see elsewhere
that the righteous are judged by a hairbreadth (Yevamos 121b), meaning
that what for others constitutes a minor infraction for someone righteous
is a big sin. Additionally, once God sends a punishment to a group
(city, country, nation), that punishment applies to everyone whether
righteous or wicked (Bava Kamma 60a). That is part of being a people --
our fates are connected. In fact, the Gemara (Shabbos 55a) says that
when God punishes the Jewish people, He starts with the most righteous.
2) Were the people killed in the Holocaust guilty? - Even though no
one can claim to be free from guilt, it is hard to imagine that anyone
committed a sin so heinous as to deserve the horrors of the Holocaust.
However, a sin committed by many is worse than a sin committed by an
individual. Additionally, God is patient and allows time -- generations
-- for the Jewish people to return before punishing us. When the
punishment arrives, it is not just for that generation but for the
previous generations as well (Ex. 20:5; Or Ha-Chaim, ad loc.). The
generation of the Holocaust lived at the end of God's long wait for a
return that never arrived. We do not stand in judgement of those who died
or suffered in the Holocaust, nor do we say that they are more deserving
than people before or after them. According to this understanding, they
were individuals who lived at a time in history when the Jewish people
was punished for its collective sins over many generations, for its long
drift away from traditional Jewish observance.
3) Were the Nazis right to kill Jews? - This question is natural but
odd. Natural because it emerges from the overall approach but odd
because it has been discussed for centuries. Rambam (Mishneh Torah,
Hilkhos Teshuvah 6:5) asks why Pharaoh and the Egyptians were punished
for enslaving the Jews when it was part of God's plan as told to Avraham
(Gen. 15:13). Rambam answers that someone was destined to enslave the Jews
but the Egyptians were guilty for being the ones to do it and therefore
suffered ten plagues and drowning at the sea (see also Ramban, Gen. 15:14;
I discuss it here). May the Nazis suffer a hundred times ten plagues
for their part in the Holocaust. None of this detracts from God's role
in punishing the Jewish people through the guilty Egyptian hands.
4) What value is there in looking for other people's sins? - As
discussed above, Rav Grodzinski sees value in learning what to fix. If
we do not learn the spiritual lessons of history, we are condemned to
repeat them. Additionally, Ramban (Sha'ar Ha-Gemul in Kisvei Ha-Ramban,
vol. 2 p. 281; I discuss it here) offers four reasons to engage in
theodicy, even if ultimately you cannot fully understand God's ways.
First, we benefit from gaining a better understanding of God's ways.
More wisdom is good. Metaphysical knowledge, understanding God's actions,
is always positive. Second, studying the ways in which God rewards and
punishes people strengthens our belief. Our continuous exploration of
God's ways reinforces within us His existence and His providence. Our
greater understanding affords us confidence that explanations exist to
even what we do not understand. Additionally, concludes Ramban, the
obligations to fear and love God include a requirement to accept His
judgment, to explain and justify God's decisions. This is a mitzvah of
4) Is it sacrilegious to try to understand God's justice? - No, it is
a mitzvah, as per the previous point. It also is not insulting to speak
of punishment due to sins. When the Shakh writes about the Chmelnitzki
massacres, he refers to what happened to us "due to our sins." When the
Ra'avan writes about the First Crusade (Kuntres Gezeiras Tatn"u),
he specifically invokes the tokhecha, saying that they experienced all of
the biblical curses. This is a strain of, if not the dominant strain in,
traditional Judaism. Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhos Ta'aniyos 1:3) calls
it cruelty to fail to look for the sins that led to divine punishment.
5) Can anyone know God's reasons absent prophecy? - Rav Yitzchak
Hutner ("Holocaust" -- A Study of the Term, and the Epoch it is Meant
to Describe" in Jewish Observer, October 1977, p. 9) writes: "One
would have to be a navi or Tanna (a prophet or Talmudic sage) to claim
knowledge of the specific reasons for what befell us; anyone on a lesser
plane claiming to do so tramples in vain upon the bodies of the kedoshim
who died Al Kiddush Hashem [as holy martyrs] and misuses the power to
interpret and understand Jewish history." On the other hand, this same Rav
Hutner gave an approbation to Rav Wolbe's book quoted above. Furthermore,
it seems that Rav Grodzinski, himself a holy martyr, felt his method of
analyzing suffering serves the function of prophecy in today's age.
6) Why does this usually ring so hollow? - When the Holocaust is discussed
without sensitivity and empathy, the proposed explanations sound shallow
and offensive. In my opinion, that is why Rav Wolbe began with a long
introduction and invoked the conclusions of a Holocaust victim, Rav
Grodzinski. Furthermore, many of the people offering explanations
today either are, or sound like or are portrayed by the media as
being, self-righteous fools. It is hard to take seriously someone
whose analysis is shallow and only validates his regular message. If
your answer to everything is female immodesty, you lack credibility
to offer a thoughtful and nuanced answer. Rav Grodzinski does not face
this challenge but some people may unfairly associate him with others
who suffer that problem. There may be other reasons that this approach
often rings hollow but these should suffice for our purposes.
Personally, I benefited from this tokhecha approach which I intuited as a
non-religious teenager. I am not certain which sins caused the Holocaust
but I am open to honest, sensitive speculation as a way of learning from
history, which I believe is that in which Rav Grodzinski and Rav Wolbe
engaged. If this approach had been deemed theologically unacceptable,
despite its impeccable pedigree, I don't know if I would be religious
today. In my opinion, it is a shame to remove this approach from our
theological toolbox due to politics and rhetoric from decades ago.
Sep 8, 20 at 6:44 am
You missed out on one more important approach. Read the classic
introduction to Zichron Kodosh written by the author of Nesivos
Sholom - RSN Barzovsky zt"l. The sefer was published once, and never
reprinted. Also, the Toras Avrohom was published by a son - not sons -
of RAG. Only one son did not perish.
Sep 9, 20 at 7:05 pm
I'm not skilled to do so accurately and faithfully. Never the
less, I'll venture to say that the central point is that it's
all part of Hashem's Grand Plan of human history, and is beyond
our comprehension. And therefore the most appropriate response is
Copyright 2020 All rights reserved
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From: Aryeh Frimer
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2020 17:18:12 +0000
Subject: [Avodah] Davening BiYehidut on Yom Kippur
Has anyone seen litereature about the following Issues when Davening BiYehidut
(1) saying Kol Nidrei - You need a Bet Din to be Matir Neder, but perhaps
it can be said as a Notification for the future [a la Rabbenu Tam] - using
the language "MiYom Kippur Zeh ad Yom kippurim.
(2) If one says the piyut of the Avoda after his private Musaf shmoneh Esrei, can he fall korim, what about Aleinu
Shanah Tovah, Beri'ah u-metukah!
Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 5290002, ISRAEL
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From: Akiva Miller
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 2020 23:36:29 -0400
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Aruch HaShulchan OC 62:4
<wolb...@yebo.co.za> asked several questions about Aruch HaShulchan OC
62:4, who wrote:
> And therefore at this time it is forbidden to recite the
> Shema and Tefillah and all brochas except in Hebrew.
Spoiler alert: I have several problems with this Aruch Hashulchan, and I
suspect that (as R' Wolberg suspects), the AhS had ulterior reasons for
writing this (such as the inroads that Reform was making via their
translations) and could not have really meant it l'halacha. In any case,
there are other poskim who do allow translations.
I will begin by giving my own translation of this section of AhS, so that
if anyone disagrees with my understanding of what he said, they can bring
it to my attention. I will break it into several numbered pieces for easier
1) Know that this [halacha] that Krias Shema and Tefilla may be said in any
language - this is certainly when one translates really the entire three
sections [of the Shema] and all of the Shmoneh Esreh into the other
language. For otherwise, it would not constitute Shema and Tefilla.
2) According to that, this law does not apply except in the time of the
Mishna and Gemara, for they knew our language well, and they were able to
3) But now, it is well-known that we have a number of uncertainties in
explaining the words, and the commentators are divided about it. For
example, how do we translate "totafos"? Similarly, the pasuk "Shema
Yisrael" has various explanations even of its simple meaning. Likewise in
the section about tzitzis, some explain it [the word "tzitzis"] in the
sense of "looking" [from the root tzadi yud tzadi], and some explain it as
"going" [from yud tzadi aleph]. Same for the word "p'sil" and many [other
words] like it.
4) Behold, the essential Name of Havay' - we don't know how to translate it
correctly! There are those who translate it as Nitzchi [Eternal], and some
translate it as Kol-Yachol [Almighty], and there is no translation at all
for "Was and Is and Will Be", which is the real Name Havay', so they equate
the translation of the Name Havay' with the Name Elokim.
5) [Here he says something about two very different ways of translating
"V'chara af", but I don't understand what he is saying.]
6) And therefore, nowadays it is forbidden to recite Krias Shema or Tefilla
or any brachos except in Lashon Hakodesh, and so have the Geonei Olam
paskened for about eighty years now, and this is the bottom-line halacha.
The first thing I noticed is that this ability to translate correctly was
supposedly lost since Gemara days, but the prohibition of saying translated
prayers was less than a century old. If so, how did the Shulchan Aruch (in
the section that this very Aruch Hashulchan is commenting on) allow it?
He is also ambiguous about the exact problem: Is it that our translators
lack the skill to translate correctly, or that the foreign languages are
incapable of reflecting the many shades of meaning that the original text
holds? For example, is the problem that we can't find a word in English to
adequately express Hashem's Name, or that no such word exists?
According to Rashi on Devarim 1:5 and 27:8, Moshe Rabbeinu translated the
Torah into 70 languages. I don't doubt that he understood the word
"totafos" and was able to translate it well, but did all seventy of those
languages contain words that could be used as Hashem's Name to the AhS's
satisfaction? All 70 languages had a word that meant Eternal AND Almighty
In fact, the AhS seems to contradict himself on this very point. Here's my
translation of Aruch Hashulchan OC 202:3:
1) It seems in my humble opinion that there is an established halacha by
which one can get out of any questionable bracha acharona. For example, one
is unsure if he said a bracha acharona or not. Or if he *needs* to make a
bracha acharona or not. There is a way to extricate himself from this safek.
2) Namely: We hold that if a person said [in Aramaic]: "Brich Rachamana,
Mara Malka d'alma, d'hai pita" [Blessed be God, Lord King of the Universe
(and) of this bread], he is yotzay the bracha of Hamotzi, as it is written
in [Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim] 167.
3) If so, one can say "Brich Rachamana, Mara Malka d'alma, boray nefashos
etc. ..." If he was obligated in this bracha, then he is yotzay with this.
And if he didn't need this bracha, then he has *not* uttered the Name of
Heaven in vain, because there is no mention of the Name at all. Look, you
can say "Rachamana" a hundred times!
4) Or similar things with other brachos. You should think in your heart
that if you need the bracha then it is [being said] for the sake of a
bracha; and if not, then it's just talking.
5) I have done this myself several times when drinking hot drinks.
The most obvious thing from this section is that the Aruch Hashulchan
personally believes that a bracha CAN be said in Aramaic. You might respond
that he makes an exception for Aramaic, which is arguably a Lashon
Hakodesh. But look again at the AhS's requirements for an adequate
translation of Hashem's Name - which is an absolute necessity when saying a
bracha - and I don't think "Rachamana" conveys any sense of "Was and Is
and Will Be".
Finally, what did the AhS 62:4 mean when he wrote about translating "the
entire three sections [of the Shema] and all of the Shmoneh Esreh". Why did
he specify the whole thing? I suspect that he was trying to preclude
someone from a partial translation. For example, one could translate most
of the words, and leave the difficult words untranslated, which is almost
exactly how ArtScroll handles the cited case of "totafos": "Bind them as a
sign upon your arm and let them be tefillin between your eyes."
If I'm understanding Siman 62 correctly, the AhS wants translation to be
all-or-nothing, and since all is not possible, he feels justified in
banning all translations. But in Siman 202, a partial translation is
exactly what he is doing, by translating the initial words of the bracha,
and then continuing with the regular Hebrew text.
By the way, it seems that Rav Moshe Feinstein agrees that a translation
must be all-or-nothing. See Igros Moshe OC 4:40:27, which is two
paragraphs. In the first paragraph, he rejects the AhS's suggestion of
using Brich Rachamana to get out of problems, precisely because you can't
mix languages in that manner. (It's not at all clear to me why we're not
allowed to mix languages, but it is very clear that Rav Moshe rejects it.)
In the second paragraph he explains that even if one would say the entire
bracha in Aramaic, that too would not resolve a safek bracha problem,
because whereas the AhS had no compunctions against saying Rachamana a
hundred times, *we* are noheg to avoid saying the Name in vain even when
As an aside, there are several teshuvos in which Rav Moshe explains his
views on how to translate Hashem's Name for brachos in other languages. See
for example, the last three paragraphs of Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 1:272,
where he explains that every language has a word that its speakers have
assigned to being G-d's Name, and that in Aramaic, that word is Rachamana,
"and even if it might come from Rachum, nevertheless, they made and
established it as the Name. ... And if so, in the foreign languages common
among us, only the name Gott is a Name, and not Eibershter and such. ...
And in English it is specifically the name God." According to Rav Moshe,
whatever is used *as* His Name *is* His Name, without any need to include
concepts like "Was and Is and Will Be".
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From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2020 12:43:25 +0000
Subject: [Avodah] Q. What is the minimum amount of shofar blowing that
From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis
A. In three different places the Torah commands us to blow shofar in the
month of Tishrei: Twice in relation to Rosh Hashanah, and once in reference
to Yom Kippur (Yovel ? Jubilee). The Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 34a) connects
the three verses and derives that each time the shofar is blown, it must be
blown three times. The Gemara also proves that every blowing of the shofar
actually consists of three parts: A Tekiah (a long blow), followed by a
Teruah (a broken blow), followed by a Tekiah. This makes for a total of
nine blows. The mitzvah is to blow the shofar nine times following this
Tekiah ? Teruah ? Tekiah
Tekiah ? Teruah ? Tekiah
Tekiah ? Teruah ? Tekiah
However, because the Gemara records a disagreement as to the sound of the Teruah, we blow three variations. This amounts to 30 blows.
3X ? Tekiah ? Shevarim Teruah ? Tekiah=(12)
3X ? Tekiah ? Shevarim? Tekiah=(9)
3X ? Tekiah ? Teruah ? Tekiah=(9)
This is the minimum amount of shofar blows that one should hear to fulfill
their obligation. If even this is too much, at the very least one should
make sure to hear at least ten blasts. (See Mishnah Berurah 586:22 &
Tekiah ? Shevarim Teruah ? Tekiah=(4)
Tekiah ? Shevarim ? Tekiah=(3)
Tekiah ? Teruah ? Tekiah=(3)
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