Last week we started what I hope will be a series based on R' Wahrman's Oros Shabbos. I want to continue this week with a piece (siman 5 in the sefer) that relates to parshas hashavu'a as well as hilchos shabbos.
The halacha is that one may not interrupt between the bracha of ga'al yisrael and shmoneh esrei in shacharis -- one is required to have smichas geulah l'tefilah. The same holds true for ma'ariv, except that there is the additional bracha of hashkiveinu (and baruch Hashem l'olam) after ga'al yisrael. The gemara explains that this is a "geula arichta", a long geulah, meaning the bracha of hashkiveinu continues the theme of geulah and is therefore not considered an interruption. What about on Shabbos and Yom Tov, where we add V'shamru Bnei Yisrael es haShabbos and VaYidaber Moshe es Moadei Hashem... between hashkiveinu and our amidah -- why are these insertions not considered interruptions? How on these days do we satisfy the requirement of smichas geulah l'tefilah?
The Rishonim offer various answers to this question. The Tur writes that V'Shamru... is also a form of geulah, as Hashem has promised to redeem Bnei Yisrael if only we observe two Shabbosos. The Prisha sees these pesukim not as connected to geulah, but as part and parcel of our teflah, as they describe the kedushas hayom of Shabbos / Yom Tov. Rav Wahrman focusses his attention on the interesting answer of the Rokeach, who writes that these pesukim are not considered an interruption because they are recited quietly. Putting aside the fact that our minhag is not like the Rokeach, how can we explain this view? What difference does it make whether the pesukim are recited aloud or in a whisper?
There is a well known machlokes between Rashi and Tosfos (Brachos 21) regarding what to do if one is in the middle of shmoneh esrei and the tzibur is saying kedusha. Rashi writes that one should remain silent and simply attend to the recitation of the tzibur -- based on the principle of shome'a k'oneh, hearing can substitute for actually saying the words. Tosfos disagrees. If hearing is equivalent to saying the words, argues Tosfos, then listening to the words of kedusha would be no less a hefsek, an interruption, than actually reciting the words themselves. According to Rashi, obviously this is not the case -- there is a distinction between a recitation done aloud and recitation done quietly or by listening.
To explain this idea found in Rashi and the Rokeach, as he does in many places, R' Wahrman cites a novel explanation from his rebbe, R' Leizer Silver. The gemara Pesachim (56) explains the reason we say the words, "Baruch shem kvod malchuso..." after Shema in a whisper as follows: Ya'akov Avinu became worried when he wanted to reveal the day of geulah to his children and his ruach hakodesh departed. The Shevatim consoled Ya'akov by declaring, "Shema Yisrael (meaning their father), Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem echad," and Ya'akov responded to their declaration of faith by saying, "Baruch shem kvod malchuso..." However, says the gemara, when Moshe Rabeinu wrote and said the parsha of Shema, he did not add "Baruch shem..." Ya'akov said it; Moshe didn't say it; we compromise and recite it in a whisper.
The Tzlach asks what the whole tumult in the gemara is about. There are many praises and expressions that we have in our davening that were not said by Moshe. Just because Moshe didn't say, "Baruch shem...," doesn't seem to be enough of a reason to leave it out.
Tzlach answers that the difference here is context. To insert in davening additional praises not recited by Moshe, like chapters of tehillim, of course needs no justification. But here, in the case of "Baruch shem...," the additional phrase is being stuck right in the very middle of Moshe's words. What gives us the right to create a hefsek, an interruption, right in the middle of the parsha of Shema as told to us in the Torah by Moshe Rabeinu?
The gemara's answer is that there is no problem of creating an interruption because we say, "Baruch shem..." quietly. In other words, a quiet recitation, a recitation that is different in tone than the normal tefilah voice, does not consititue a hefsek.
The is exactly the point Rashi and the Rokeach were making. Through shome'a k'oneh listening counts the same as a recitation of kedusha, but since that recitation takes place silently, it does not count as an interruption. Since "V'shamreu Bnei Yisrael es haShabbos" is recited quietly, it also therefore does not count as an interruption that would break smichas geulah l'tefilah.
R' Wahrman notes that his rebbe said this derech derush and he goes on to provide a more detailed halachic analysis, but it's nonetheless a clever and enjoyable vort.