Halacha Date: 27 Elul 5783 September 13 2023
This coming year (5784), Rosh Hashanah will fall out this coming Shabbat and Sunday, G-d-willing. Let us discuss several unique laws relevant to this year.
When Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbat, Kabbalat Shabbat is recited before Arvit; however, the “Bameh Madlikin” chapter is omitted (Rama Chapter 270, Chazon Ovadia- Yamim Nora’im, page 77, and Chazon Ovadia- Shabbat Part 1, page 332). Although this is subject to a dispute among the Poskim, the prevalent custom is Israel is not to recite “Bameh Madlikin” when Yom Tov coincides with Shabbat. Indeed, Hagaon Harav Amram Aburbia zt”l rules likewise in his Sefer Netivei Am. Nevertheless, those whose custom is to recite “Bameh Madlikin” may continue with their custom as this is the opinion of the Kenesset Ha’Gedolah quoted by the Kaf Ha’Chaim.
After the Amida prayer in Arvit, the “Me’en Sheva” blessing is recited as is the case every Shabbat night. One should substitute the words “Ha’el Ha’Kadosh She’en Kamohu” with “Ha’Melech Ha’Kadosh She’en Kamohu.” If one erred, and becomes aware of this in the middle of the blessing, one must return to the words “Magen Avot.” If one has already completed the blessing, one does not repeat it. (ibid. page 83)
On the second night of Rosh Hashanah which coincides with Motza’ei Shabbat, one must insert the “Va’Todi’enu” text in the Arvit prayer, as printed in all Machzorim. If one forgets to inset this text, one should not repeat the Amida since one will be reciting Kiddush and Havdala on a cup of wine at home.
There is a positive Torah commandment to hear the Shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah. Our Sages taught that any year that Shofar blasts are not sounded at its beginning has the potential of something ominous happening at its end. According to the Kabbalah, there are many deep reasons behind this Mitzvah. Nevertheless, on a year when Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbat, our Sages were concerned that one may come to carry the Shofar through a public domain. Since our Sages understood the severity of even one sin committed by the Jewish nation, they decreed that the positive Torah commandment of Shofar blowing should be nullified when Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbat (as there is a distinction between passively nullifying a Mitzvah versus actively transgressing a prohibition).
The commentaries taught (see discourse of Rabbeinu Moshe Alshich for 17 Elul) that our Sages understood that if they made this enactment for the benefit of the Jewish nation, Yom Kippur would serve to complete the Jewish nation’s atonement and they would not be harmed as a result of not having blown the Shofar. On the contrary, when Hashem sees how we fulfill the words of our Sages, He will grant us a good and prosperous new year.
Since we will not actually be blowing the Shofar on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, any reference of “Yom Teru’ah” (a day of Shofar blasts) in the prayer should be substituted with “Zichron Teru’ah” (a commemoration of Shofar blasts). Our Sages (Rosh Hashanah 29b) supported this idea based on several verses. One verse states “Yom Teru’ah” while another states “Zichron Teru’ah.” They explain that one verse refers to Rosh Hashanah which falls out on a weekday and the other refers to Rosh Hashanah which coincides with Shabbat. Even this rabbinic injunction is hinted to in the Torah.
We have discussed in the past that a disagreement exists regarding whether or not one may insert personal requests in one’s Rosh Hashanah prayers (after the second “Yihyu Le’Ratzon” verse at the end of the Amida). Those who act leniently certainly have on whom to rely, for Hagaon Harav Yisrael Salanter writes that nowadays, since material needs are of extreme importance to people and they are also an important factor in being able to serve Hashem properly, there is room to allow praying for such things on Rosh Hashanah. (See Kochvei Ohr page 262; also alluded to in Bet Yosef, Chapter 584.) Although many great luminaries abstained from doing so and recommended the same to their students, one who wishes to do so because one feels a great need to do so may. Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l rules likewise (Halichot Shlomo, Chapter 1, Section 15). We have heard reliable sources quote that Maran zt”l had ruled likewise as well.
This issue becomes compounded this year when Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbat, for even on a regular Shabbat, one may not pray for one’s individual needs. Indeed, Hagaon Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l (quoted in Ashrei Ha’ish, Volume 3, Chapter 15) rules stringently in this regard. Nevertheless, according to Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l and others, there is room for leniency even when Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbat. This seems to be what is instructed in many Yeshivot today for those who feel it necessary.
When Rosh Hashanah coincides with Shabbat, “Tzidkatecha” is recited during Mincha. (Shulchan Aruch, Chapter 598 and Chazon Ovadia page 185)
May Hashem accept all our prayers and fulfill all of our hearts’ wishes for the good, Amen.