Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yisro - Aseres Hadibros

Many have the custom of sitting during krias hatorah. However, twice a year when we read the Aseres Hadibros, in parshas יתרו and ואתחנן, it is the custom of some to rise for their reading. There has been much debate as to whether this custom is problematic for the following reason. Opponents of this custom argue that rising for one part of the Torah may be an indication of importance of that parshah over another.  We firmly believe that every part of the Torah is of equal importance for it all comes from Hashem.

 I once asked my rebbe, Reb Shmuel Berenbaum zt"l, if he thought the custom to stand was in contradiction to this fundamental principle. He answered that the advocates of the custom hold that by standing up for the Aseres Hadibros, one is not indicating more importance to that reading, rather more quantity of Torah contained within. Though every passuk is of equal importance, some parshios represent, and encompass more Torah than others. The Aseres Hadibros in their general form, contain the entirety of the Torah. When one stands for the Aseres Hadibros it is not an indication that they are more important than the rest of the Torah, but rather that the entire Torah is contained within them.

This question was asked to the Rambam, and is brought in his responsa. The Rambam answered that one should not stand for select parts of the Torah, as this exhibits a higher importance to them. It seems then, as if the custom of many people, to rise for the reading of the Aseres Hadibros, is not in accordance with the p'sak of the Rambam!
The Sefer Harirai Kedem offers the following explanation to assure that this prevalent custom is not a direct contradiction to the p'sak of the Rambam.
Throughout the year we read the Torah using the regular טעמים, (the "trup"), known as Tam Tachton. On Shavuos we read the Aseres Hadibros with a different "trup", called Tam Elyon. The difference between them (besides the tune) is that Tam Tachton keeps the p'sukim reading the simple way we have them, while the Tam Elyon divides or connects some p'sukim, reforming them into longer or shorter passages. With Shavuos's Tam Elyon for example, the first two commandments of the Aseres HaDibros are read as just two passages, whereas they are five seperate passages (the way it appears in the Chumash), when read in the regular Tam Tachton. There are also several separate Dibros that are all read as one passuk in the regular Tam Tachton, however when Tam Elyon is applied they are each divided appropriately into separate p'sukim.

During regular krias hatorah we are not allowed to separate the p'sukim that Moshe Rabbainu set forth. The reason that we may do so when applying Tam Elyon is, that reading the Torah in Tam Elyon is not considered regular krias hatorah .With Tam Elyon one is reenacting מעמד הר סיני (the giving of the Torah).

On Shavuos we read the Aseres Hadibros in Tam Elyon. There is a machlokes brought in the Bear Haitaiv in Shulchon Uruch Orach Chaim (494:2), as to whether one should read the Aseres Hadibros of parshios יתרו and ואתחנן using Tam Elyon or the regular Tam Tachton. We may assume that the Rambam held that one should read the Aseres Hadibros of parshas יתרו and ואתחנן in the regular Tam Tachton, thereby rendering it part of regular krias hatorah. In which case rising for that reading alone, would indicate that this part of the Torah is more significant than others. However, most congregations today use Tam Elyon not just on Shavuos, but even for the parshios of  יתרו and ואתחנן, therefore it is not regarded as regular krias hatorah and standing is permitted as part of remembering מעמד הר סיני.

 Based on this reasoning, it would seem appropriate for one to have in mind the mitzvah of remembering מעמד הר סיני, if he stands specifically when the י' דברות are being read this week. Let us use this as an opportunity to make krias haTorah a lot more than just a reading. We can make it an experience!

 Gut Shabbos!

For questions or comments about this vort e-mail:

No comments:

Post a Comment