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The Psalm for the Day on Rosh Hodesh

(OH 423:3)

Question:
There are various customs regarding the recitation of Barekhi Nafshi on Rosh Hodesh. What are the sources for each custom and what is the recommendation of the Va’ad Halakhah?

Responsum:
There are four customs regarding the Psalm for the Day on Rosh Hodesh: to recite Barekhi Nafshi instead of the Psalm for the Day; to recite Barekhi Nafshi in addition to the Psalm for the Day; not to recite Barekhi Nafshi at all; to recite Barekhi Nafshi during Ma’ariv.

Since we are dealing with a custom, we could rule that every community should follow its own tradition. It is better, however, to adopt the original Sephardic custom, and to recite a Psalm appropriate for each holiday instead of the regular daily Psalm. There are three reasons for this position:

1) There is no talmudic obligation to recite a daily Psalm after the Destruction of the Temple. The first source that mentions the custom of reciting a Psalm for the Day also mentions the tradition of reciting different Psalms on each festival.

2) The majority of the authorities who mention the custom of reciting Barekhi Nafshi, quote it as a substitute for the daily Psalm.

3) Finally, adding Psalms at the end of the service “is an imposition on the congregation” (tirha d’tzibbura), especially on Rosh Hodesh when everyone is rushing to work, and we should not lengthen the service without necessity.

Rabbi David Golinkin
Approved Unanimously

A Reaction to the Responsum on the Wearing of a Kippah by Men and Women

(OH 91:3-5)

I agree with Rabbi Frankel’s responsum, aside from the last section regarding women and girls. Inasmuch as wearing a kippah is a symbol of Fear of Heaven, of modesty, and of respect for tradition, which became a binding custom in times of sanctity, we have to require the wearing of the kippah not only of men and boys but also of women and girls. By so doing, we give women and girls the same opportunity to enrich their religious experience and to give the sacred moments in their lives the additional dimension that wearing a kippah adds.

Rabbi Gilah Dror
In favor: Rabbi Michael Graetz
Opposed: Rabbi David Frankel
Rabbi David Golinkin
Rabbi David Lazar
Rabbi Simchah Roth
Rabbi Yisrael Warman

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