The Shalosh Regalim

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Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik

by R. Aharon Ziegler

The Kiddush of Yom Tov ends with a very generic Bracha, “Baruch Ata HaShem…. Mekadesh Yisrael Ve’Hazmanim” Blessed are You, HaShem, who sanctified Israel  [meaning the Bet Din of Israel] and [they sanctified ]the festivals. But without specifying the name of the Yom Tov. Rabbi Baruch Epstein, author of the Torah Temima (in his commentary on the siddur, Baruch SheAmar), claims that the last word of this text is based on a copyist’s error. Rather than using the generic term, the Bracha should conclude with the specific name of the Yom Tov being celebrated(example, “who sanctified Israel and the festival of Pesach” –Mekadesh Yisrael veChag HaMatzot.  Rabbi Epstein suggests that in early printings of the siddur, the word, VeHazManim appeared in brackets, with the intent that the reader fill in the name of the specific YomTov. Later editors, however, misunderstood the meaning and included the word into the text of the Bracha itself. This explanation seemed unfounded according to Rav Soloveitchik and he totally disagreed. The reason we don’t specify the particular festival in the closing of the Bracha is readily understandable.

The three Regalim, Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot- all share the same Kedushat HaYom. Furthermore, they are not totally independent festivals, but rather constitute an integrated series. We see this from the laws of delaying korbanot- Bal Te’acher.  According to one view, a person violates the Issur against delaying a sacrifice after three festivals have passed  and he still has not offered the sacrifice he had promised. Another view maintains that the person violates the prohibition only after the three Regalim have passed in their proper order-namely- Pesach, Shavuot and then Sukkot.

We see that the halacha recognizes the Regalim, not as three disparate holidays, but rather as a unit. Thus, at the end of Kiddush, as well as the conclusion of the Yom Tov Shemoneh Esrei, we don’t refer to a particular festival.  Instead, we offer our Bracha to HaShem for the three Regalim which share the identical Kedusha and together constitute our holy days of the year.

About Aharon Ziegler

Rabbi Aharon Ziegler is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Agudath Achim of Boro Park and the Dean and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Agudath Achim. He is the author of six volumes of Halakhic Positions of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

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