Thursday, September 04, 2014

l'David Hashem ori -- why does it come after aleinu?

The shir shel yom comes before L’David Hashem ori v’yishi because of the rule that tadir always coming first.  I saw a clever question posed to R’ Chaim Kanievsky: l’David Hashem ori is said twice a day over a span of 50 days.  Each individual shir shel yom is said only once a day for about 50 weeks of the year (let’s put side leap years).  It therefore comes out that l’David Hashem is twice as tadir as any given shir shel yom!  R’ Chaim must have though this too clever by half and dismisses it.  Apparently we look at the fact that a shir shel yom, irrespective of the particular mizmor, is said daily every day of the year and that makes it more tadir.  (Not 100% clear why this is so pashut.  R’ Chaim Kanievsky responds typically with one word answers which I guess are enough if all you care about is halacha l’ma’aseh, but which are positively frustrating if you want to have any clue as to his thinking.)

During the weeks between Pesach and Shavuos many shuls will count sefirah and then conclude davening with aleinu.  The GR”A, however, switches the order.  If I recall correctly, R’ Soloveitchik somewhere suggests that the issue depends on whether aleinu is part of the normal seder of davening and it just happens to come out last, or whether aleiunu was instituted b’davka to serve as a concluding tefilah.  If it is part of the normal seder, then rules like tadir come into play and it should precede sefirah.  If it was instituted as a concluding tefilah, which seems to be alienu’s function at the conclusion of kiddush levanah or the seder of bris milah, then it always should come last.  (This would mean that even though your Yom Kippur machzor does not have aleinu after musaf, probably because it was put together by someone that did not have an afternoon break, the tefilah should conclude with aleinu before everyone walks out the door.  Mincha should then also start with ashrei.)  This chakirah might also explain the different minhagim (Ashkenaz vs Sefard) as to whether the shir shel yom comes before or after aleinu.   

Assuming all this is correct, you would expect that at least someone should have the minhag of saying l’David Hashem before aleinu at ma’ariv so that aleinu would be the last prayer said before walking out the door.  As I know, no such minhag exists.  [Update: Someone commented that the minhag in Mosdos Boston is to say it before aleinu.]  See here in the Shu”T Revivos Ephraim vol 1 siman 392 who raises the question. 

Some explain that the GR”A’s practice of saying aleinu before seifrah is not based on the rule of tadir, but rather is based on the fact that sefirah is not really part of the seder hatefillah at all – it’s a separate mitzvah that we happen for the sake of convenience to do after ma’ariv.  By way of analogy, if someone learns mishnayos after davening every day before they leave shul, their davening still ends with aleinu – they just happen to do another mitzvah afterwards that keeps them in shul a little longer.  I would like to suggest that the same sevara may be true of l’David.  It’s not that during Elul we change/extend the davening and give it a slightly different format than the rest of the year.  To the contrary, davening ends with aleinu or the shir shel yom as always.  However, the halacha comes and tells us during Elul not to run out of shul right after davening – stay for an extra moment and do another mitzvah by saying a perek of tehillim.  Asking where l'David fits into the seder hatefillah misses the point -- it's not part of the seder hatefilah, but is something above and beyond ordinary tefilah.  Just like sefiah comes after aleinu because it is a separate mitzvah, so too, the saying of l’David may fit that same pattern.

16 comments:

  1. Wherever you think the minhag of saying LeDavid during Elul began, saying it after Aleinu definitely is from Chemdas haYamim, and therefore almost certainly some Sabbatean's idea.

    The competing theory for the origin of saying LeDavid altogether is that it's from Shem Tov Qatan, by R' Chaim haKohein, a student of the Ari haQadosh. The question is whether we trust an oral tradition recorded in Sha'arei Tefillah. But even so, the suggested practice recorded there is an edition to Tachanun for Monday and Thursday in Elul which opened with LeDavid and included a number of piyutim.

    So I'm not sure how deep the reason for its placement after Aleinu is. Personally, I think it was either following Shir Shel Yom and Borkhi Nafshi, or stuck at the end like other optional prayers (Tefillas haMan, Ani Maamin, 7 Zikhronos).

    As for counting omer... In many shuls, the president makes announcements right before Aleinu to make sure even those who rush out early get to hear them. Do you want the rushed people to miss Aleinu or counting omer?

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    1. >>>So I'm not sure how deep the reason for its placement after Aleinu is.

      My assumption is that whatever the origin, it's something big people bought into doing and therefore the practice and placement must not be by chance.

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  3. Re: Tadir - Is it clear that we would consider both the shacharis and maariv ledovids when discussing tadir by shacharis?

    Diyuk from the Mishna Brura in 581 - he says the minhag is to say Ledovid "achar gmar hatefilla" - sounds like you're saying.

    General question on Ledovid which might shed light on how you view it in context of tefilla - why is the minhag to say it at shacharis and maariv, but not at mincha? is there any reason in poskim? (now that I'm looking at the MB in 581, he says the minhag is to say it after mincha...is that a misprint?)

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    1. I'm not sure about the first point -- why would you not look at overall frequency?
      The Rivevos Ephraim makes the same diyuk from the M.B.
      He also quotes that the Divrei Malkiel discusses the different minhagim when to say it (ma'ariv vs mincha) but I didn't see it.

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    2. I think the Tadir question will depend on how you read the Tosfos in Brachos on 28a (about mincha and mussaf on Yom Kippur.) The plain reading is that mincha is more tadir than mussaf so mincha goes first (even though YK mincha is no more tadir than YK mussaf), which would seem to indicate like R Chaim, that you look at "mincha" and it doesn't matter what the particular nusach is, just like you would look at "shir shel yom" as a general.

      You could be docheh - that Tosfos means that the mincha YK nusach is more tadir because it's the same as the maariv and shacharis of Yom Kippur (which was your dechiya to me above) But I think the simple read would be like R Chaim.

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  4. I don't quite understand the initial suggestion:
    > My first guess is that since l’David follows alienu to attach it to the shir shel yom (since it is in effect a quasi shir shel yom for chodesh Elul) in the morning, the custom became to just repeat the same pattern in the evening as well.

    This suggestion seems to only make sense for minhag Ashkenaz, for whom l'David indeed follows aleinu at shacharit, and it's said right after shir shel yom. However, according to minhag Ashkenaz, evidently Aleinu is not strictly a "closing prayer" -- shir shel yom comes after aleniu every morning -- and saying Aleinu before shir shel yom every day can readily be explained by tadir. If so, it is very logical that Aleinu should precede l'Dovid for tadir reasons at night as well, and the problem is resolved. There is no need to say that in the evening "the custom became to just repeat the same pattern" as in the morning, or to seek other answers -- rather, the same underlying reason of tadir should apply at night.

    According to minhag sefard and the GR"A, who say aleinu *after* shir shel yom at shacharit, the whole part about l’David "following alienu to attach it to the shir shel yom" in the morning is a non-starter.

    My point is that the initial suggestion seems either unnecessary (for Ashkenaz), or doesn't work (for Sefard and GR"A). Sorry if it sounds like I am beating a dead horse, I don't wish or mean to do that! Just trying to be clear.

    I do like the final answer, the suggestion that l'David goes last because it is a kind of post-tefila add-on. That's consistent with what Micha writes, and there is also some discussion of this at:
    http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/30744/placement-of-ldovid-for-nusach-sefard

    This is probably the best way to explain why at least some sefardim (see that link) say shir she yom, followed next by Aleinu, and then l'David at the very end. However, per that link, apparently some sefardim say l'David in the morning *before* aleinu, right after shir shel yom. Do those people say l'David *after* Aleinu in the evening? I don't know, but if so, that would seem difficult to explain logically.

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    1. You are right -- I took out that paragraph and hopefully the rest is OK. And I updated to take into account the minhag Boston in the next comment.

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  5. The Minhag in Mosdos Boston (Flatbush were I daven) is to say L'Dovid BEFORE aleinu.

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  6. Saw somewhere that saying aleinu after kiddush levana is to counter any concept of avodas kochavim that might be suggested in "saying a brocho to the moon."

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  7. Shaagas Aryeh in 3 and 22, by a reshus, the whole discussion of tadir does not apply. Same question and answer why Slichos is before Shachris, even though it sounds counter-intuitive, fact is that's how the Shaagas Aryeh learns.

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    1. I should take the time to look, but I assume this is the S.A. by reshus vs mitzvah when it comes to tadir? Slichos is before shacharis because ideally you should be saying slichos at chatzos or b'ashmores before the time for davening starts. R' Ovadya (Yechaveh Da'as cheilek 1 I think) says if you miss slichos in the morning you can make it up by mincha, and he was asked in that scenario why you wouldn's daven first based on the rule of tadir. He seems to accept the kashe as a good one and answers with your sha'agas aryeh, but my impression is that he acknowledges this point is not muskam.

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    2. RAY uses the same SA, the same way I use it, and you say that it's not muskam?

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    3. I read what you said more carefully, and I see that you say that ROY does use the SA, but he himself says that the yesod is not muskam. I agree that the SA is not univerally accepted, but I've used it many times to answer kashes on davenning, such as the times that we combine several haftoros or read a megilla.

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  8. Tadir can be a funny thing. Suppose we say e.g. the Thursday shir shel yom 50 or so times per year -- over the whole year -- whereas we say l'David 100 times during Elul-Tishrei. (Put aside for now what R. Chaim Kanievsky said.) Is l'David more tadir because we say it more times? Or is the shir shel yom more tadir because we say it during a larger portion of the year -- i.e. it is more tadir in the sense that never more than a week goes by when we don't say it, whereas 10 months can go by without saying l'David.

    A possible proof in support of the second approach can be found in sukkah 56a, the sugya of sukka v'achar kach zman -- which bracha should we say first, she-hecheyanu or leyshev ba-sukka? One opinion in the Gemara holds we should say she-hecheyanu first because it's tadir. Rashi explains: "because it is recited on all 3 regalim." Well, that makes for a total of 4 recitals of shehecheyanu (or 8 in galus) on the regalim, counting shemini atzeret. But leyshev ba-sukkah is typically recited >= 14 times on sukkos, if one eats a meal in the sukka twice a day; even in terms of minimum obligation, one must eat a seuda/bread at least twice the first day which is yom tov (or days 1&2 in galus), plus according to Mishna Berura 639:24 at least once a day on the remaining days, for a total of 8 in israel or 9 in galus. So why is it so obvious to the Gemara on 56a that she-hecheyanu is more tadir? Rashi doesn't even bother to work out the math and compare or explain the numbers. is it really so obvious? the exact numbers seem pretty close.

    Perhaps the answer is that the question isn't how many total times the bracha is said, the question rather is how often over the course of the year -- i.e., how much time goes by without saying it at all? She-hecheyanu is said on all 3 regalim, as Rashi notes, whereas leyshev ba-sukka is only said on sukkos, of course. Therefore it is obvious at a glance that she-hecheyanu is more tadir, if we understand tadir in the sense of occurring frequently during the year, and not in the sense of how many total times it is said (if those times all occur during a relatively brief period).

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    1. Re: the MB 639:24, just because he says "nistapek" doesn't make it so, and at best it would be a kiyum mitzvah, not a real chiyuv, no? As for the Y"T meals, the Rishonim I think already write that you could theoretically be yotzei seudas Y"T by eating a k'zayis of bread if not for the chiyuv sukkah on the first night.
      I'm nitpicking, but agree with the basic point that tadir can be measured in differnent ways. Not sure if there is a case where it would make a real nafka minah.

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