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S.A.L.T. - Motzaei Shabbat

 

          In Parashat Beha'alotekha we are introduced to the "chatzotzerot," the silver trumpets blown by the kohanim at various times as mentioned in the parasha (10:1-10).  Among the occasions requiring the blowing of the chatzotzerot are "the days of your joy and your festivals."  To what does "the days of your joy" refer?  Interestingly enough, the Sifrei understands this as a reference to Shabbat.

         This interpretation raises the halakhic issue of an obligation of "simcha," joy, on Shabbat.  Generally speaking, we associate this obligation with Yom Tov, specifically the three "regalim" (pilgrimage festivals).  On Shabbat, however, halakha generally speaks in terms of two obligations instituted by the prophets, that of "kavod" (honor) and "oneg" (enjoyment).  "Oneg," which requires the consumption of three meals on Shabbat (Rambam, Hilkhot Shabbat), differs from "simcha," which is very much connected to the sacrifices offered on Yom Tov.  The practical ramifications of this distinction will become clear as we examine some of the sources related to this issue.

         Along the lines of the Sifrei, several sources indeed imply that a mitzva of "simcha" applies on Shabbat. The Yerushalmi in Masekhet Megila (1:4) forbids conducting a Purim feast on Shabbat (even when Purim falls on Shabbat). The Megila requires us to turn the days of Purim into "days of festivity and joy"; this requirement cannot apply when the day is already deemed a day of joy.  Likewise, the Behag, in his listing of the 613 mitzvot, includes "simcha" and "oneg" on Shabbat as two mitzvot, implying that indeed the obligation of simcha applies on Shabbat. Furthermore, the Sefer Ha-manhig rules that we omit the solemn "tachanun" prayer on Fridays in anticipation of the onset of Shabbat, due to Shabbat's status as a day of "simcha."

         Other authorities, however, deny the existence of such an obligation on Shabbat. This position is taken by the Maharil in a ruling related to the institution of "ta'anit chalom," a fast conducted after experiencing a frightening dream.  If one has such a dream on the night of Shabbat or Yom Tov, may he fast on the following day?  The Maharil rules that fasting is forbidden on Yom Tov, as the requirement of simcha does not allow self affliction.  On Shabbat, however, when no such obligation applies (in the Maharil's view), one may fast after experiencing a bad dream.  Similarly, Tosafot in Masekhet Moed Katan (23b) employ this distinction between Shabbat and Yom Tov to explain why only festivals cancel mourning, but not Shabbat.  Since Shabbat does not require "simcha," it can only temporarily suspend, but not end, the given mourning period. 

         How do those holding this second view explain the aforementioned comment in the Sifrei, which interprets "the day of your joy" as a reference to Shabbat?

Rav Soloveitchik zt"l answers by arriving at an interesting "compromise" between these two views.  Unlike Yom Tov, Shabbat does not, in and of itself, require "simcha."  However, the "mussaf" offering brought on Shabbat does generate such an obligation.  The verse cited above from Parashat Beha'alotekha states explicitly that the trumpets were to be blown on these occasions in conjunction with the sacrifices offered in the Midkash. In this respect, Shabbat indeed acquires the status of a "day of your joy," as the Sifrei comments.  In all other respects, however, no such obligation applies on Shabbat.  Rav Soloveitchik employed this principle to explain the text of Shabbat shemoneh esrei according to the version of "nusach ashkenaz."  Unlike "nusach sefard," "nusach ashkenaz" does not include the sentence, "Yismechu be-malkhutekha" ("They shall rejoice in Your Kingship") in all the shemoneh esrei prayers on Shabbat; it does so only in the mussaf prayer.  Rav Soloveitchik explained that since the concept of "simcha" relates to Shabbat only through the mussaf offering, it earns mention on Shabbat only in the mussaf prayer, which commemorates the sacrifice.

(Based on Rav Binyamin Tabory's column, "Ha-mitzva She-beparasha," in Shabbat Be-shabbato, Parashat Beha'alotekha 5760)

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