Halacha for Thursday 28 Elul 5780 September 17 2020

Some Details Regarding the Prayers of the Days of Awe

Anyone who appreciates the loftiness of the Days of Awe customarily tries to recite all prayers of these days with much precision and care. There are many Machzorim on the market containing several versions for various texts, some which can be relied upon and others which cannot be relied upon at all, we have thus arranged some aspects of the prayer services, about which many people inquire about every year, according to the opinion of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l as quoted in his works.

Regarding the text, “Veya’asu Chulam Agudah Ehat,” the word “Ehat” is punctuated with a Segol under the Alef and a Kamatz under the Chet, making the proper pronunciation, “Ehat.” This is based on the verse in Shmuel II (2, 25): “Va’yitkabetzu Benei Vinyamin Va’yihyu La’Agudah Ehat.

Regarding the text, “She'yadanu Hashem Elokeinu She’hasholtan Lefanecha,” in most Machzorim this word is punctuated with a Chataf-Kamatz under the Shin, i.e. “Sholtan,” similar to the punctuation of the word “Korban.” Nevertheless, the custom of Maran zt”l was to pronounce this word “Shilton” as is the custom in Jerusalem, based on the verse, “Ein Shilton Mi’yom Ha’Mavet.” This is indeed the opinion of most Acharonim. Therefore, the correct pronunciation would be “She’hashilton.” (One should not say, “Kemo Sheyadanu Hashem Elokeinu”; rather, one should merely say, “Sheyadanu Hashem Elokeinu.”)

If one errs in his prayer of Rosh Hashanah which falls on a regular weekday (on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, this year, 5781) and concludes the blessing by reciting “Zichron Teru’a” instead of “Yom Teru’a,” one need not repeat one’s prayer.

One should recite “Ten Chelkeinu Betoratach” and not “Sim Chelkeinu Betoratach,” as this is the correct text according to the Rishonim.

One should try to concentrate on one’s prayer throughout the year and especially during the Days of Awe and not to, G-d-forbid, speed through it; rather, one should pray calmly with complete concentration and in a supplicating fashion. Although one must hear one’s self utter the words of one’s Amida prayer, it is nevertheless preferable to take care that others not be able to hear one pray even during the Days of Awe, for this can disturb their concentration. Although Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules that during the Days of Awe one need not be concerned about this, for everyone has a Machzor in their hands and they will not come to err in their prayers, nevertheless, it is preferable to indeed abstain from doing so; this is especially true according to the Mekubalim who are of the opinion that it is forbidden for another person to hear the voice of the individual praying.

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