This letter was addressed to R. Yerucham Lainer, a descendant of the Radiziner Rebbe and a scholar who corresponded with the Rebbe with regard to certain Lubavitch customs.

B”H, Tuesday, 12 Elul, 5705

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your letter, I will begin with your fundamental question which is:

a) In his Siddur, the Alter Rebbe writes:

After Hallel, on Rosh Chodesh... at this point, we recite the Song of the Day... Borchi Nafshi,... the Mourners’ Kaddish... and four men are called to the Torah. Afterwards, we say Ashrei and Uva L’Tziyon Goel. We bring the Torah scroll back to the ark and afterwards, the chazan recites a half-Kaddish.... On Rosh Chodesh, the tefillin should be removed before the Kaddish is recited.

[You raise a question] based on the Pri Etz Chayim, Shaar Rosh Chodesh, ch. 3, which states:

The master, [i.e., the AriZal,]would not remove his tefillin until the completion of the recitation of the Kaddish after the returning of the Torah scroll to the ark, before the recitation of Mussaf. He would then take off his tefillin and recite Mussaf.

Similar statements are found in the AriZal’s Shulchan Aruch. It is not appropriate to say that this was the AriZal’s personal practice, but it was not a directive for people at large. For the Mishnas Chassidim (Maseches Rosh Chodesh 3:2) writes: “After the Kaddish following Uva L’Tziyon Goel, one should remove his tefillin.” This is also stated in the Siddur of R. Shabshi of Roshkov. (I was not able to find [this concept in] the Siddur Naggid U’Mitzaveh which you cited.)

The question appears even greater, for it is explicitly stated in several other sources that tefillin should be removed after Kaddish and not before it. Shaar HaKavannos (Inyan Rosh Chodesh) states: “It is customary to remove the tefillin before the Mussaf prayers after the Kaddish which is recited after returning the Torah scroll to the ark.” And the Siddur Kol Yaakov (authored by R. Yaakov Kopil) states: After Kaddish, before Mussaf, one must remove his tefillin. And there are others.

The text Maasef L’Chol HaMachanos 25:131 cites the Responsa of Radbaz, Vol. IV, Responsum 80, the Responsa D’var Shmuel, Responsum 112; Machzik Berochah, sec. 15; Kesher Godel 3:30; Shalmei Tzibbur, p. 41c; Zachor L’Avraham, Vol. III, Os Suf; Siddur Beis Oved, Os Alef after Seder Hallel; Chesed L’Alofim, sec. 13; Ben Ish Chai, Vayikra, sec. 17; Kaf HaChayim, sec. 94, which all mention that tefillin should be removed before Mussaf. It is necessary to investigate whether they explicitly state [that the tefillin should be removed] before Kaddish or afterwards. These texts are not in my possession.

A possible resolution ofthe position of our great master, [the Alter Rebbe,] — which is the practice in all Chabad synagogues — can be offered based on the preface [of the explanation] of the custom of when to remove tefillin. Based on the statements of the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, sec. 25 [and commentaries], there are four customs: two — after Aleinu or after the Mourners’ Kaddish that follow Aleinu — are not relevant on Rosh Chodesh, for then, we remove our tefillin before Mussaf. Thus only the two remaining views are relevant. They are: the common custom to remove the tefillin after the Kedushah in Uva L’Tziyon1or the Kabbalistic custom of removing the tefillin after having recited three Kaddeishim in them. {This is the version cited by our great master in his Shulchan Aruch (sec. 25:37) and we are debating his perspective.} Therefore we should not remove [our tefillin] until after the Kaddish which follows Uva L’Tziyon. Then — together with the Kaddish that follows the Shemoneh Esreh and the one which precedes Borchu — three Kaddeishim will have been recited. Note the comments concerning this further on.2

Since a distinction regarding the above is not made concerning a day when the Torah is read — and thus with the half-Kaddish that follows the Torah reading, the number of Kaddeishim will be completed without the Kaddish that follows Uva L’Tziyon — we are forced to say that this Kaddish is not included in the number. For it is not related to prayer, but to the Torah reading.

The above applies on an ordinary weekday. On Rosh Chodesh, concerningwhich the Alter Rebbe writes: “After Hallel, on Rosh Chodesh... we recite the Song of the Day... and the Mourners’ Kaddish,” the sum of three Kaddeishim will have been completed without the Kaddish that follows Uva L’Tziyon. Therefore directly after reciting Kedushah in Uva L’Tziyon, one will have recited three Kaddeishim and four Kedushos.3 [Hence,] there is no necessity for one to wear tefillin while reciting the Kaddish that precedes Mussaf. On the contrary, it is necessary for one to remove one’s tefillin before the Kaddish. For this Kaddish is associated with the Mussaf prayers4 (since Shemoneh Esreh is never recited without a Kaddish being recited before it). Hence, [the two] should be recited as close together as possible as indicated by the commentaries to the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 292 — see also the statements of the Shulchan Aruch HaRav. Therefore the Alter Rebbe writes that the tefillin should be removed before Kaddish.

The above applies according to the order followed by the Alter Rebbe in which the Song of the Day and the Mourners’ Kaddish precede Uva L’Tziyon. [Different principles apply] according to the order in the Siddur Kol Yaakov which states: “[After] ViAvraham Zakein... we take out two Torah scrolls.... We recite Kaddish after the Torah reading... [and then] Ashrei and Uva L’Tziyon.” Similar statements are found in all the sources mentioned above — [i.e.,] they do not mention the recitation of the Song of the Day before Uva L’Tziyon.

(It must be clarified whether, according to these opinions, the Song of the Day is not recited at all or is recited after Mussaf or after the prayer service entirely.5 Sec. 423 [of the Shulchan Aruch] states that it is Sephardic custom to recite Borchi Nafshi after Mussaf. See also the quote attributed to the K’nesses HaGedolah6 which states that it is customary to recite Borchi Nafshi on Rosh Chodesh instead of the Song of the Day. He objects to that custom. See my later statements on this subject.) Therefore, [in the Sephardic community,] they would remove their tefillin after the Kaddish following Uva L’Tziyon, for that would complete the three Kaddeishim.

This also explains the wording chosen by the Alter Rebbe in his Siddur: At this point, we recite the Song of the Day.” Seemingly, the phrase “At this point” is extraneous. Based on the above, however, it is understood. For it comes to exclude the other customs and places an emphasis on this point, because the question of when we remove our tefillin — either before Kaddish or afterwards — is dependent on it.

b) One should not ask: If so, we have raised an even greater query. For the resolution which reconciles the Alter Rebbe’s statements with those of the writing of the AriZal concerning the removal of tefillin on Rosh Chodesh appears to raise a contradiction between these two authorities with regard to the Song of the Day. That is surely problematic.

It is possible [to resolve this issue as follows]: There are three opinions with regard to the recitation of the Song of the Day:

1) It is not part of the prayer service at all. Therefore it is not recited at all. (Thus it is not included in the Siddur of R. Saadia Gaon and is not mentioned in the Sefer HaMinhagim of R. Yitzchak Tirnau. In his Order of Prayers, Rambam states: “Some of the people follow the custom of reciting the Song of the Day.”) Alternatively, it is recited after the Morning Prayers (as is Ashkenazic custom) for it was instituted only as a remembrance [of the service in the Beis HaMikdash] (see Magen Avraham, the conclusion of sec. 132 and the other glosses [to the Shulchan Aruch]).

2) There are others who say that since it has become customary to recite it, it should be recited in its place. Thus just as it was recited in the Beis HaMikdash after the sacrifice of the morning offering; so, too, it should be recited after the morning Shemoneh Esreh.

3) According to [the teachings of] Kabbalah, its place is after Uva L’Tziyon, before Ein K’Elokeinu, for this is the order of drawing down G‑d’s influence, as explained in the writings of the AriZal (in the sources cited above; see also Siddur Tefillah L’Moshe by the Ramak).

All of the above applies on an ordinary weekday. On Rosh Chodesh, however, the order of the descent of Divine influence differs. (See the Mikdash Melech to the Zohar, Vol. I, p. 75b,which states that on Rosh Chodesh, there is a ray from the world of Beriah. In several maamarim in Chassidus, it is stated that [the source of the revelation is the world] of Yetzirah. Seethe maamar entitled Biur Al Passuk Machar Chodesh in Or HaTorah from the Tzemach Tzedek, p. 22b, which explains these different views at length.)

[In such an instance,] perhaps it is possible to say that according to the third rationale, [the Song of the Day] should not be recited at all and it is recited only as a remembrance, as stated with regard to the first rationale. (See the statements of the Shiyarei K’nesses HaGedolah quoted by the Be’ar HaTeiv at the conclusion of sec. 132 with regard to the custom of all communities in this regard.)7 According to this approach, the place for its recitation would be after the entire prayer service as stated above in the name of the Magen Avraham.

The Alter Rebbe, however, follows the second approach. Hence, he rules that the Song of the Day should be recited close to the morning Shemoneh Esreh on Rosh Chodesh as well, as above.

[Following this approach] differs with the custom practiced in the AriZal’s community and as a result leads to the decision that the tefillin should be removed before Kaddish. However, the difference of opinion between the first and the second rationales is a difference of opinion in Nigleh, [the revealed teachings of the Torah. Hence,] it is not a new [and independent] judgment for the Alter Rebbe to have decided in favor of the second approach. In contrast, were the difference of opinion concerning whether to remove our tefillin before Kaddish or afterwards to be an independent judgment, it would be a difference of opinion regarding [a point of] Kabbalah, as [indicated by the ruling of R. Yosef Caro] in [his] Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim sec. 25:13. And who would dare follow the AriZal and yet differ with him concerning such a matter?8

See also the Magen Avraham’s statements at the conclusion of sec. 423. It is obvious from his choice of wording that the opinion that tefillin should be removed after Kaddish is based on the number of Kaddeishim recited.

Based on the above, the statements in the Siddur Yaakov Emden that tefillin should be removed after the Kaddish [following Uva L’Tziyon] and that, based on Rama (R. Menachem Azariah),9the Song of the Day should be recited in the morning service, are problematic. For the two rulings contradict each other.

One should not raise the question: Why did our great master rule according to the Rama who instituted the recitation of the Song of the Day in the morning service? (From a superficial reading of Rabbi Yaakov Emden’s wording, it appears that the Rama instituted two practices: to recite the Song of the Day and not Borchi Nafshi and to recite it in the morning service. This should be clarified by checking the Responsa of Rama, but they are not accessible to me.) Rama lived in the time of the AriZal. If so, why [did the AriZal’s students] remove their tefillin after the recitation of Kaddish?10

There is no place for such a question, for the Rama maintains that tefillin should be removed before the reading of the Torah, as stated in the name of his responsa by the later halachic authorities. It would be valuable to clarify the practice of the Sephardim in the era of the AriZal with regard to the recitation of the Song of the Day on Rosh Chodesh. The Shiyarei K’nesses HaGedolah is not accessible for me to look into. The custom practiced by the Sephardim at present cannot be used as proof, because several customs have changed between that era and the present day.

c) Several notes: Based on the above, according to our custom of reciting the Song of the Day on an ordinary weekday before Ein K’Elokeinu and Aleinu, it would appear that according to all opinions, one should remove his tefillin before the Mourners’ Kaddish that follows Aleinu. The Rama’s statement (sec. 25:13) that they should be removed afterwards follows his version which requires four Kaddeishim to be recited in tefillin and the custom he would follow of reciting the Song of the Day after the entire morning service in contrast to our custom.11 I have seen people citing a discussion of the matter in the text Artzos HaChayim. Support is brought from the fact that it is stated that the AriZal would remove his tefillin after Aleinu and not after the Mourners’ Kaddish. The text Os Chayim, sec. 25:17, raises questions concerning this for it ignores the fact that according to the custom of the AriZal, a Mourners’ Kaddish is not recited after Aleinu. The text Artzos HaChayim is not accessible for me to look into.

Also, clarification is necessary as to why the Kaddish that precedes Hodu (or Boruch She’omar)is not included in the three Kaddeishim. The text Os Chayim writes that the reason is that sometimes a person comes late to the synagogue and does not hear it. [This resolution appears] forced.

* * *

With regard to the points you raised:12

[With regard to the reason] why the Siddur records the distinction that the Oral Tradition makes concerning which of the names of G‑d is implied: It is possible to explain that prayer is singled out, for there one’s intent (particularly with regard to G‑d’s names) is very important. See the great emphasis placed on this in the preface of R. Yehudah Leib of Yanovitch, the Alter Rebbe’s brother, in his introduction to the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur.

With regard to your statements concerning the mitzvah of honoring one’s ancestors, [as it applies to] a grandson and subsequent generations: In my letter, I cited the glosses to the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, sec. 240, which discuss the matter. The texts Birchai Yosef and Shvus Yaakov are not accessible to me.

The kovetz13was sent to you as you requested.

I conclude with blessings for a kesivah vachasimah tovah, [andwith the blessing,] “Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to Redemption,”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Director of the Editorial Board