Sunday, September 09, 2007

Reading Pitum HaKetoret From A Klaf

Reading Aruch HaShulchan the other day, I saw a cute practice. He writes (IIRC he was citing someone) that because by saying korbanot it is like offering it, one should be careful to say pitum haketoret, the list of the ingredients that make of the incense offering, without omitting any ingredient. Indeed, one should say it from a text. This is because we say at the end of it ve-im chisar achat mikol sammaneha chayav mita, "and if he left out one of the ingredients he is liable to death."

Thus, it is a bad thing to leave out any ingredient, even by accident (though the Aruch haShulchan obviously would not say we would administer the death penalty to someone who misspoke, even when capital punishment was in existence). Aside from this, it is a list of arcane ingredients, and if one wants to say over the list correctly, it is appropriate to do it from a text. All in all, cute, good encouragement of Jewish practice, and taking certain halachic principles to their logical conclusion.

My father pointed out a practice which he believes stems from this. At the relevant part of davening, when it comes to this point, he has seen people put down their siddur and take a rolled up parchment out of their pocket. This parchment has the relevant text, written in ketav ashurit, but as would be written in a sefer Torah. They read pitum haketoret from this.

Indeed, in my shul, someone donated a parchment, framed and behind glass, which has the text of pittum hakketoret on it, so that people can go over to it and read it from the parchment.

If this is indeed the source of this new custom (and it surely seems so), then it is silly. The requirement to read from a ketav is not meant as a requirement to read from a kelaf. The entire purpose is so as not to make a mistake of omission, and this is accomplished just as well from a siddur. It would provide insight into how new custom develops.


Anonymous said...

"Pitum haketoret" is part of torah shebeal peh, right? Granted, we are willing to write torah shebeal peh nowadays, but wouldn't it be silly to HAVE to write it?

(Unless you're talking about the relevant verses from Terumah/Tetzaveh, but that's not my impression from what you said. I've never experience this custom myself)

joshwaxman said...

the klaf hanging on the wall, at least, has both the psukim and the torah shebaal peh stuff.

don't know if this is the general custom for those who choose to read it from a klaf.

Unknown said...

the customs stems I believe from several places. The Caf Hachaim states that saying Pitum haktoret from a klaf in ashurit is a segula for parnassa.
The concept of ashurit as something beyond being used in the torah is sourced in the ben ish chai who says that we are required to envision the name of hashem in ashurit all the time and in order to elevate all of thoughts we should envision all of our words that we use in ashurit.

Anonymous said...

If this is indeed the source of this new custom (and it surely seems so), then it is silly.

The custom is not new and is widespread amongst knowlegable

joshwaxman said...

just fyi, there was also a part ii to this post.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin