Internet Chaburah

Prologue:        At the end of Parshat Nasso, we read of the offerings
that each Nasi (leader of each tribe) brought to the Mishkan during
the dedication ceremonies. The various Korbanot of each leader is
defined and repeated even though the leaders all brought the same
offering. The Midrash explains that this was done to offer each Nasi
his proper respect. Each one had arrived at the proper Korban on his
own, thus each deserved
special mention of his Korban.

        However, at the end of the repetition, the Torah totals the
sum of all the offerings of the Nesiim together. Rashi explains that
this was done to demonstrate that the values were equal whether
individualized or lumped together. But this lesson is clear. What then
is  the Torah trying to convey?

        Rav Moshe Feinstein explained that the Torah is trying to show
us that whether we are alone or collective, we must remain consistent.
There are those who feel a sense of obligation to strengthen their
character when they are alone but feel that they can be more lax when
they are in a group. Others feel that when they are in public they
must strive to
maintain a certain image they do not strive for when in private. The
value of a person's character, like the Nesiim's offerings, must be
equal when we are in public or in private and thus the Torah's stress
on the total value of the Korbanot HaNesiim, equal to the same of the
component Korbanot of each individual Nasi.

Singing Sensations: Birkat Kohanim Tunes

        The Talmud (Sotah 38a) notes that when the Torah commanded the
Kohanim about Birkat Kohanim, they were instructed with the words "Koh
Tivarchu". Those words imply that the Birkas Kohanim must be recited
aloud. The Yirushalmi (cited by the Tur in Orach Chaim 128) notes that
the voice need not be loud, rather it should be the best of all voices
which refers to recitation with a tune. The Bach explains that the
reason for the tune is that the Koh Tivarechu refers not to Kol Gadol
(a loud voice) but Kol Rom (a superior voice). Eliyahu Rabba adds that
the concept of Rom comes from the Hebrew Romeimut which refers to a
sense of dignity, the type that comes through melody. Based on this,
Orchos Chaim (Nesius Kapayim 6) feels that each word of Birkas Kohanim
should be recited with a tune. The Meiri (Sotah 39a) concurs.

        (See Sefer Iyeii HaYam to Teshuvot HaGeonim <p. 68b> where Rav
Yisrael Yosef Chazan notes the old custom in Portugal which was to
have someone other than the Chazan lead Birkat Kohanim on special
times when many Pizmonim were added to the services and the Chazan's
tunes might have been off. Rav Chaim Palagi <Shut Lev Chaim III:8>
opposed the appointing of anyone other than the Chazan to lead Birkat
Kohanim. However he too, seemed to feel that tunes were so important
that if they could not be recited by the Chazan, Birkat Kohanim could
be led by another <Kaf HaChaim 15:65>. For further clarification about
the appointing of another to lead Birkat Kohanim, see Shut Yichaveh
Daas 4:10).

        The tunes used during the Duchaning seem to be a matter of
discussion in Halacha. Maharam (cited by Mordechai to Megilla 415) was
very concerned about Chazanim using more than one tune. He felt that
alternating tunes would lead to the Chazan's loss of concentration and
ultimately his loss of his place during the Birkat Kohanim. The
Terumas HaDeshen (26) agrees, adding that change causes the person to
have to
concentrate on the music. While concentrating on the music, he is not
concentrating on the place of Birkat Kohanim. Thus, only one tune
should be used.

        The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 128:21) notes that a Kohein should
only sing one tune when he Duchans so that the kohanim not become
confused or forgetful as to where they are up to. The Mishnah Berurah
(83) citing the Taz adds that the same is true for the  Chazan who
leads them who should not change the tune. He clarifies further (84)
that Kohanim reciting the Birkat Kohanim at the same time should not
change their tunes from one another so that they too, not become
confused  with one another (perhaps this would include not harmonizing
by them or by the Chazan leading them as well). But if the tunes are
so confusing, why bother with any of them? The Aruch HaShulchan
(128:35) explains that a musical tune adds to the spirit of the moment
and will help the people make the Beracha with the proper Kavanna as
we find in Novi when Elisha utilized violin music to receive Ruach

        Still, the Leket HaKemach HaChodosh (94) decried the tune many
Chazzanim used on Simchas Torah when they would sing all the tunes of
all year long during the Birkat Kohanim. He felt this was in violation
of the Halacha of Chashash for Tiruf HaDaas. He added that perhaps the
 multi-tuned Simchas Torah, due to its use EVERY Simchas Torah could
explain Minhag Yisroel and will not lead Kohanim astray. Still, he did
recommend its use.

        Where does one sing and is the singing a Hefsek? Rav Yakov
Zriyan (Shut Beis Yaakov, 24) noted that if one wishes to sing, let
him stress the last syllable of the word in tune, so that the whole
word can be pronounced and heard. Rav Ovadiah Yosef agrees (See Shut
Yabia Omer VI: O.C. 7). But is the Niggun a Hefsek? The Shulchan Aruch
(124:8) notes that when one recites a Beracha he should not elongate
it too much (aka on Rosh Hashanna night when he adds the Niggun) lest
the Amen recited be recited before the end of the Beracha and be
Chatufa. Shevet Mussar (34) urges the recitation of Amen at the end of
the Niggun. However, the Mogen Avraham (124:14) felt that it was a
Hefsek. Hence, in Birkat Kohanim, the elaborate tunes should be kept
reasonable so as not to lose the concentration of the Kohein or the
people expected to recite Amen.

Shabbat Shalom V'Chag Sameach