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Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 50 - Rationale for Reciting Mishnah Beginning Eizehu Mekoman

Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 50 - Rationale for Reciting Mishnah Beginning Eizehu Mekoman

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SECTION 50 The Rationale for Reciting the Mishnah Beginning Eizehu Mekoman. (1–3)

סימן נ טַעַם לָמָּה אוֹמְרִים מִשְׁנַת "אֵיזֶהוּ מְקוֹמָן" וּבוֹ ג' סְעִיפִים:

1 [The Sages] established [the practice of] reciting the chapter beginning Eizehu Mekoman1 and the beraisa beginning Rabbi Yishmael2 after the passage describing the daily burnt-offering, so that everyone will merit studying Scripture, Mishnah, and Talmud every day.3 For the beraisa beginning Rabbi Yishmael takes the place of Talmud, since Midrash4 is equivalent to the Talmud.

Because [this beraisa] is the opening passage of Toras Kohanim,5 i.e., the introduction to all the passages concerning the sacrifices, its [recitation] was ordained close to that of the sacrifices. Similarly, the mishnah beginning Eizehu Mekoman was ordained [to be recited] after [the passages describing] the daily sacrifice, as [implied by the interpretation of the verse],6 “In every place incense is burnt and sacrifices are offered to My name....” [Our Sages ask:] But is incense burnt and are sacrifices offered “in every place”?! Rather, this verse alludes to Torah scholars who study the laws of the sacrificial service [of the Beis HaMikdash] every day, wherever they are located — and [G‑d promises], “I consider it as if they burnt incense and offered sacrifices to My name.”

Another reason for which the chapter [beginning Eizehu Mekoman is recited] is that it does not include any differences of opinion [between the Sages].7 Rather, it is an unequivocal teaching transmitted to Moshe at Sinai.

א קָבְעוּ לִשְׁנוֹת אַחַר פָּרָשַׁת הַתָּמִידא פֶּרֶק "אֵיזֶהוּ מְקוֹמָן"ב,1 וּבְרַיְתָא דְּרַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל,ג,2 כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּזְכֶּה כָּל אָדָם לִלְמֹד בְּכָל יוֹם3 מִקְרָא מִשְׁנָה וְתַלְמוּד,ד דִּבְרַיְתָא דְּרַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל הִיא בִּמְקוֹם תַּלְמוּד שֶׁהַמִּדְרָשׁ4 כְּתַלְמוּד.ה וּמִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא תְּחִלַּת תּוֹרַת כֹּהֲנִים,5 שֶׁהוּא רֹאשׁ לְכָל פָּרָשַׁת הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת – קְבָעוּהָ אֵצֶל הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת.ו וְכֵן מִשְׁנַת "אֵיזֶהוּ מְקוֹמָן" קְבָעוּהָ אַחַר הַתָּמִיד, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:ז,6 "וּבְכָל מָקוֹם מֻקְטָר מֻגָּשׁ לִשְׁמִי", וְכִי בְּכָל מָקוֹם מַקְטִירִין וּמַגִּישִׁין? אֶלָּא אֵלּוּ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁעוֹסְקִין בְּהִלְכוֹת עֲבוֹדָה בְּכָל יוֹם בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁהֵם – מַעֲלֶה אֲנִי עֲלֵיהֶם כְּאִלּוּ מַקְטִירִים וּמַגִּישִׁים לִשְׁמִי.ח וְעוֹד, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבְּפֶרֶק זֶה אֵין בּוֹ מַחֲלֹקֶתט,7 וְהוּא מִשְׁנָה בְּרוּרָה לְמֹשֶׁה מִסִּינַי:

2 The reading of the above chapter and above beraisa is considered as studying the Mishnah and the Talmud only for a person who understands [them].8 If a person does not understand, he must [first] learn and understand, for if not, this is not considered as study.9 For even with regard to prayer, it is preferable for one to pray in a language that he understands.10 Nevertheless, [with regard to prayer,] it could be argued that although he does not understand, the Holy One, blessed be He, knows his intent and understands [his words]. If, by contrast, one reads a mishnah without understanding it, this is not considered study at all.

ב אֵין קְרִיאַת פֶּרֶק זֶה וּבְרַיְתָא זוֹ עוֹלָה לְלִמּוּד מִשְׁנָה וְתַלְמוּד אֶלָּא לְמִי שֶׁמֵּבִין,י,8 אֲבָל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מֵבִין – צָרִיךְ לִלְמֹד וּלְהָבִין, שֶׁאִם לֹא כֵן אֵינוֹ נֶחְשָׁב לְלִמּוּד,9 שֶׁאַף בִּתְפִלָּה מוּטָב לְהִתְפַּלֵּל בְּלָשׁוֹן שֶׁמֵּבִין,יא,10 אֶלָּא שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹמַר שֶׁאַף שֶׁהוּא אֵינוֹ מֵבִין הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יוֹדֵעַ כַּוָּנָתוֹ וּמֵבִין, אֲבָל אִם אוֹמֵר הַמִּשְׁנָה וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִין – אֵינוֹ נִקְרָא לִמּוּד כְּלָל:

3 In some places, Eizehu Mekoman is not recited in the home of a mourner, for a mourner is forbidden to study the Torah. This is not a correct [practice], for any [passages] that are included in the order of the daily [prayers] are not included in [the prohibition against] Torah study by a mourner, as will be explained in sec. 554 and in Yoreh Deah, sec. 384.11

ג יֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים "אֵיזֶהוּ מְקוֹמָן" בְּבֵית הָאָבֵל,יב מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאָסוּר בְּתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה. וְאֵין זֶה נָכוֹן, שֶׁכָּל שֶׁהוּא סֵדֶר הַיּוֹם – אֵין בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה לָאָבֵל,יג כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תקנ"דיד וּבְיוֹרֶה דֵּעָה סִימָן שפ"ד:11

Footnotes
1.
Zevachim 5:1-8 (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 23).
2.
The Introduction to Sifra, which is also known as Toras Kohanim (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 25).
3.
As obligated by Kiddushin 30a. On the term Talmud, see sec. 47, footnote 10 above.
4.
In this context, the term Midrash does not denote the body of Aggadic Midrashim described in sec. 47, footnote 11 above, but to the system of interpretation by which the Talmudic Sages extrapolated laws from the verses of Scripture.
5.
The Beraisa interpreting the verses of the Book of Vayikra.
6.
Malachi 1:11; the interpretation that follows is cited from Menachos 110a.
7.
It has been pointed out that in fact there is a difference of opinion among the Sages with regard to one of the points in this mishnah, for R. Akiva (Berachos 9a) maintains that the Pesach offering may be eaten throughout the night, in contrast to the view of the Sages that it can be eaten only until midnight. (See Magen Giborim, sec. 50, Elef HaMagen 1.) In response, the Ritva (Avodah Zarah 19b) explains that the intent is that no difference of opinion appears in the text of the Mishnah.
8.
In contrast to the Mishnah and the Talmud (i.e., the Oral Law), reading Scripture (i.e., the Written Law) is considered as Torah study even if one does not understand what he is reading. Thus an unlettered person, too, recites the appropriate blessings when called to the Reading of the Torah. (See Hilchos Talmud Torah 2:12 in a later volume of the present work.)
9.
In Hilchos Talmud Torah 2:13 the Alter Rebbe echoes this ruling, but adds: “Nevertheless, a person should engage in [the study of] the entire Torah, even those subjects that he cannot comprehend. For in the ultimate Future, he will be granted the possibility of understanding and grasping all [the teachings of] the Torah in which he engaged in This World but which he did not comprehend because of his limited intellectual capacity.”
10.
With regard to the Grace after Meals, the Alter Rebbe states (sec. 185:1): “If one does not understand the language [in which he is reciting the blessing], even if [it is] the Holy Tongue (Lashon HaKodesh), he does not fulfill his obligation. For I cannot say that he is fulfilling the commandment, ‘And you shall bless G‑d, your L‑rd,’ since he does not understand the words of the blessing he utters.” Having said that, the Alter Rebbe goes on to cite the contrary view, that one can discharge his obligation by reciting (or listening to) the Grace after Meals in the Holy Tongue even if he does not understand it, and notes that this in fact is the prevalent custom. He concludes, however, that it is advisable to follow the more stringent view and to use a language one understands.

This also applies to the Shema and Shemoneh Esreh, for one must be able to concentrate on understanding the meaning of the words in at least the first verse of the Shema and in the first blessing of Shemoneh Esreh. With regard to other blessings besides the Grace, Shema, and Shemoneh Esreh, there is a difference of opinion among the Sages. Some maintain that it is acceptable to recite the blessings in the Holy Tongue without understanding the words, while others do not.

One thing is certain: the Alter Rebbe’s words underscore the importance of endeavoring to understand the prayers that one recites. If one does not understand the meanings of the Grace, Shema, or Shemoneh Esreh, he should not recite them in the Holy Tongue, but in a language he understands. (Today, accurate translations are available in many major languages.) With regard to other blessings, though there is room to allow their recitation in the Holy Tongue, it is clear that the Alter Rebbe considers it halachically preferable to recite one’s prayers in a language he understands. (See also op. cit., sec. 101:5.) Parallel to this, in gradual stages, one can habituate himself to praying in the Holy Tongue, as one new passage after another becomes familiar and intelligible.
11.
These sections are not extant in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch. In the Shulchan Aruch of R. Yosef Caro, Orach Chayim, sec. 554:4, the above concept appears in the context of Tishah BeAv. With regard to a mourner, Pis’chei Teshuvah (Yoreh Deah, sec. 384:2) cites varying opinions. However, the discussion there refers to passages recited daily but not by everyone (see Magen Avraham 559:7), whereas Eizehu Mekoman is part of the standard Morning Service, and hence is recited on Tishah BeAv and by a mourner.
Sources
א.
תשובת רב נטרונאי (סימן ט, ובאוצה"ג ברכות חלק התשובות סימן שסט). סדר רב עמרם. תוס' קידושין ל, א ד"ה לא צריכא. רא"ש קידושין פ"א סימן מג. טור ושו"ע. וראה גם לעיל סימן א מהדו"ב ס"ט. וראה לקמן סימן נד סוף ס"ד בענין הקדיש שלאחריו.
ב.
זבחים פרק ה.
ג.
תורת כהנים ריש פר' ויקרא.
ד.
קידושין ל, א. וראה גם לקמן רס"י קנה. הל' ת"ת פ"ב ה"א. קו"א שם פ"א סוף סק"א.
ה.
עי' הל' ת"ת פ"א ה"ד. פ"ב ה"א וש"נ. וראה גם לעיל סימן מז ס"ב.
ו.
טור. לבוש. וראה ב"ח. פרישה ס"ק ג.
ז.
מלאכי א, יא.
ח.
מנחות קי, א. וראה לעיל רס"י מח, שבפסוקי הקרבנות אמרינן ונשלמה פרים שפתינו.
ט.
חידושי רא"ה ברכות לב, א. ב"י. לבוש. עי' חקרי הלכות ח"ו יא, ב.
י.
מ"א ס"ק ב. וראה גם הל' ת"ת פ"ב הי"ג.
יא.
עי' הטעם לקמן סימן קא ס"ה.
יב.
כנסת הגדולה ומ"א ס"ק א.
יג.
ולענין ברכת התורה עי' לעיל סימן מו ס"ח וש"נ.
יד.
סימן זה בשוע"ר לא הגיע לידינו, וראה טושו"ע שם ס"ד. וראה ס' המנהגים — חב"ד ע' 74 לענין תשעה באב.
Translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and Uri Kaploun.
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