Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pores Al Shma

The Mishna in Megillah on 23b discusses different things that require 10 people. The first of the list is called "pores al shma". There is a major machlokes rishonim as to what exactly this means. The Ran (in the dapei harif) has a there has a good summary of the different strains of thought in rishonim. Basically, according to Rashi's camp the issue is regarding someone who already davened b'yichidus and now wants to make up the stuff that he missed because he didn't daven b'tzibbur. He joins together with 10 people and they daven in an abridged form to make up Borchu, kaddish, and kedushah.

The Geonim have a different approach entirely. They say that we are referring to how one can be yotzei in birchas krias shma through shomeah k'oneh. The rules of shomeah k'oneh change depending on the tefillah. Most of the time one person can recite a bracha and the listener can be yotzei through shomeah k'oneh. However, sometimes it's not so simple. For example, by bentching the halacha is that in order to do shomeah k'oneh one needs to have three people in a mezuman. The mishna is teaching us that for birchas krias shma one needs ten people to be yotzei through shomeah k'oneh.

In the Chidushei HaRan there in Megillah (not the Ran in Dapei HaRif I quoted above) he says that the kedusha that we recite in the bracha of yotzer ohr in the morning is not a real davar shebikdusha. We are merely saying what the Malachim say to be mekadesh Hashem - but we are not really doing it like we do in the kedusha of chazaras hashatz. In the footnotes there I saw that this is not agreed upon by all rishonim. Some hold that this kedusha is a real davar shebikdusha.

I heard that this was the opinion of R' Chaim Soloveitchik (or at least he was choshesh for this opinion). He may have held that the responsive nature of this tefillah rendered it a davar shebikdusah (see here). He used to stand up when he got to this kedusha - just as we stand up when we recite any davar shebikdusha. [Not everyone has this minhag to stand by davar shebikdusah but we are assuming here that one does stand for davar shebikdusha.]

R' Yosha Ber Soloveitchik also used the logic of davar shebikdusha to explain the different minahagim by a mezuman of 10 people. We explained that previously here as well.

The Rishonim here on the inyan of Pores Al Shma all deal with a difficult Meseches Sofrim. Although our gemara clearly states that davar shebikdusha requires 10 people the Meseches Sofrim seems to disagree. Some explain that the Meseches Sofrim only means to tell you the number of people in the minyan who cannot have davened yet. Others say that the Meseches Sofrim is indeed arguing and requires less than 10 for a davar shebikdusha.