Correspondence with Reuven Goldfarb

Correspondence with Reuven Goldfarb
September 2010

On Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 8:47 AM, wrote:
Dear Reuven,

I would appreciate some advice on what we should especially include and exclude from this year's Yom Kippur services since they occur on Shabbat. So far, I have read that we should exclude the 13 attributes and Avinu Malkeynu.

l'shanah tovah,


On 9/13/2010 1:28 PM, Reuven Goldfarb wrote:
Dear Shoshana, et. al.,

Yehudit and I scanned our memory banks and did some research in regard to the question you asked about what to include and what to exclude when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, as it does this year. While you are correct that the Avinu Malkaynu chant in most services, and the recitation of the Thirteen Attributes (and Va'ani Tefilati) which occur before the Torah Service, are customarily omitted, they are both part of the Neila Service, even on Shabbat. I believe the recitation of the Thirteen Attributes is also part of the Selichot Service of Ma'ariv. The Viduy (Ashamnu and Al Chet) is recited at all services.

The Kabbalat Shabbat Service is typically abbreviated. It begins with Psalm 29, followed by Ana B'koach; only the first two and final two verses of L'cha Dodi are sung; and Psalms 92 and 93 remain part of the service, followed by the Mourner's Kaddish and Ma'ariv.

Don't forget that after we take out the Torah, and the person holding it calls out the Shema and people respond, the next verse ends with "Kadosh v'Norah Sh'mo!" And in the various Kaddishes, one says l'aylah u-l'ayla after "Baruch Hu" and in the final verse, "Oseh ha-Shalom...."
I hope this is helpful.



On Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 11:24 PM, Robert Jaffe:
Dear Chevera: If we can chant Thirteen Attributes on Shabbat, why preclude it during the Torah Service?.....tradition would be the only reason to preclude it and we are a Renewal Group...rj


From Reuven:

Dear friends,

I can see that a few more points of clarification might be in order here. First, let me note that "HaShem, HaShem" (i.e., the Thirteen Attributes) is recited during weekday services as part of Tachanun, which follows the Amidah. They are recited repeatedly during the Selichot prayers which precede the daily service starting at the beginning of Elul and continuing through the Ten Days, for Sephardim, and starting several days before Rosh HaShanah, for Ashkenazim and those who follow Nusach Sfard (aka Minhag Yisrael) up until Yom Kippur. Since Selichot are not usually recited on Shabbat, their inclusion in the Ma'ariv Service is an exception made in honor of Yom Kippur. We never fast on Shabbat , either, with the exception of Yon Kippur.

Likewise, both Kol Nidre and Neila are not part of Shabbat, even though on many Yom Kippurim they precede and follow Shabbat, respectively, and frequently overlap it, time-wise. Rabbi Isaac Klein, in his A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice (a sefer that Zalman recommended we consult), writes, "The Yom Kippur services begin with Kol Nidrei, which must be recited before sunset because it deals with the annulment of vows, and this cannot take place on a Sabbath or on a festival...." I daresay this is not a distinction that the Minyan has taken pains to observe, or even been particularly aware of, mostly, I would guess, for logistical reasons. Worshippers enter the sanctuary and light [Shabbat and] Yom Tom candles, thereby inaugurating the Shabbat and/or the Holy Day, and then we begin Kol Nidre. Technically, we're doing it too late and in the wrong order. But that's our tradition — our renewal tradition.

In regard to Neilah, in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch we find written, "After the Concluding Prayer is over" (by which is meant the Amidah of Neilah), 'Our Father, our King' [i.e., Avinu Malkaynu] is said, even if it is a Sabbath Day and still day when the concluding service is ended...." Isaac Klein writes, "We make this exception because Ne'ilah is the final moment of judgment and a plea for mercy is extremely appropriate (Shneur Zalman of Lyady, Shulchan Arukh 623:9)." The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch goes on, "...then Hear O Israel is said once, 'Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever,' three times, and 'The Lord He is God,' seven times" (we do all this); "the Reader then says the entire Kaddish in a joyful tone, after which the shofar is sounded once.... It may be sounded even though the stars have not yet made their appearance and it is but twilight, even if it is a Sabbath Day, but it should not be sounded in the daytime. After it is sounded, all say thrice 'For the ensuing year in Jerusalem' (i.e., L'Shana Ha-Ba'ah Be'rushalayim)." Here, I believe, we have always been scrupulous to begin Neilah only after sundown and not to blow the shofar until we have seen three stars.

Klein discusses whether the shofar sounding should be delayed until after Ma'ariv lest most congregants leave for home immediately after they hear the shofar sounded. The point is moot for us since we never do Ma'ariv at that point, only Havdalah, and most folks stay for the potluck fast-break. Kiddush Levanah also gets a mention. I believe we've often done a brief version of that ceremony as well.

But back to "HaShem, HaShem." In the ArtScroll Nusach Sfard Yom Kippur Machzor, this note appears, immediately prior to the Thirteen Attributes: "ON THE SABBATH THE FOLLOWING PRAYERS ARE OMITTED AND THE SERVICE CONTINUES WITH 'BLESSED IS THE NAME.'" In the Birnbaum Nusach Ashkenaz Machzor, in regard to the same prayers, the same omission is requested, with the words, "On Sabbath omit." Yet in the back of the ArtScroll Machzor I just cited, in the section entitled Halachot / Laws, "Selected Laws and Customs," compiled by Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, under "Reading the Torah," we find, "After the Holy Ark has been opened, the chazzan and congregation begin the three-time recitation of HaShem, HaShem, the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, followed by various prayers. This should be said even on the Sabbath." The compiler of these laws cites a sefer called M.E., which at the beginning of this section is identified as "R' Ephraim Zalman Margulies' classic work, Matteh Ephraim [M.E.] on the laws and customs of the period from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Succos. We have also included many of the general laws of prayer that apply to Yom Kippur. This summary concentrates on laws relating to the individual because, in regard to such public observances as the chazzan's recitations and so on, the congregation will be guided by its rabbi or other competent authority."

In summary, if you're looking for halachic support for reciting HaShem, HaShem, you can find it, although Rabbi Margulies' views seem to run counter to established custom. There is also some ambiguity here as he seems to refer to individual practice as opposed to communal practice - or does he? In any case, he recommends consulting a "rabbi or other competent authority." So I don't think we've settled the matter yet.

My approach, when I come across a custom or law whose purpose I cannot comprehend, is to inquire into the rationale for it. I do not assume that our ancestors were dolts who blindly followed a senseless dictum. I am also cognizant of the wide variety of practices engaged in by various Jewish congregations. Flexibility and innovation are built into our tradition. When I read about the various leniencies and exceptions in the Talmud, the Shulchan Aruch, and other sources, I realize that our laws and folkways are not set in stone. So I will inquire of one of the rabbis in Tzfat with whom I am close regarding this custom or law, whichever it is, regarding the omission of HaShem, HaShem prior to the Torah reading when Yom Kippur falls on a Shabbat and will get back to you tomorrow, b'li neder. Thank you all for grappling with these serious questions.

Btw, I forgot to mention yesterday, in regard to another of our long-standing customs, the practice of saying "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuto L'Olam Va-ed!" as loudly as the Shema Yisrael which precedes it, on Yom Kippur.