Monday, September 25, 2006

Why the New Sanhedrin Blew the Shofar On Shabbat

Apparently, the newly reconstructed Sanhedrin blew the shofar on Shabbat. Some viewed this as following Rav Shlezinger's position about blowing the shofar even on Shabbat. I don't know the specific reasons he gave, but perhaps it is the reason given here in this post, which as we will see is only relevant to a bet din.

Some might view this as "taking back Judaism" because the reasons changed for the cancelling changed, as one comment categorizedit. But really, this is simply just applying the halacha, as it is listed in the gemara, and brought down by the Rif.

Citing from the Rif, who is just citing the gemara:
{Rosh HaShana 29b}

The Yom Tov of Rosh HaShana that fell out on Shabbat -- in the Temple they blew but not in the medina {whether this includes Yerushalayim or not is up for debate among Rishonim}.
When the Temple was destroyed, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai established that they should blow everywhere there was a bet din.
Rabbi Eliezer said: When Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai established this, he only established it in Yavneh.
They said to him: Both Yavneh and anyplace which has a bet din.

"In the Temple they blew, but not in the medina":
What is the reason?
Rabba said: All are obligated in blowing of shofar, but not all are experts in blowing of shofar. This is a decree lest he take it in hand and travel to an expert, and carry it four cubits in the public domain. And this is the reason for lulav, and this is the reason for megillah.

{Rosh HaShana 30a}
"Once the Temple was destroyed":
Rav Huna said: And with bet din.
What is the implication of "and with bet din?" Before bet din, to exclude not before bet din, when one should not {blow}.

It was stated also {by Amoraim}:
Rabbi Chiyya bar Gamda cited Rabbi Yossi ben Shaul who cited Rabbi: They only blow during the time when bet din is in session.
The Rif only brings things which are relevant halacha leMaaseh bezman hazeh, so it would seem that this would be the case in front of any bet din. But certainly if the new Sanhedrin consider themselves to be a Sanhedrin, they should blow.

Of course, as Rabbi Chiyya bar Gamda cited Rabbi Yossi ben Shaul who cited Rabbi, this is only when the court is in session.

Update: A discussion of why on their forums.

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