All summaries below are done to the best of my abilities and are for the purpose of informing and not paskening. In all cases, a posek should be consulted.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paying chazzanim - Yechaveh Daat 1:53

Is a community allowed to pay the individual who serves as the בעל תפילה or בעל תוקע on Rosh Hashana? The question is based on the gemara in בבא מציעא which states that even an action that is completely permitted on Shabbat cannot be performed for compensation unless the compensation also encompasses a time which is not on Shabbat (or Yom Tov). With the individuals in question, it would seem that their entire task is executed on Yom Tov and thus would be in violation of this rule.

Rav Ovadiah Yosef deals with this issue by noting the long history of Rishonim and Acharonim who permitted such practices, on the basic grounds that this prohibition does not apply when the action in question is for the purpose of performing a mitzva. He notes that even the Shulchan Aruch only says that the compensated individual will not see any bracha from that money, yet he refrains from saying that such an action is forbidden. Many others, including the מהר"ם מרוטנברג and Rav Shlomo Kluger, permitted paying individuals to lead the davening on Shabbat and Yom Tov without any qualifications, and thus Rav Yosef feels that we can comfortably be lenient in this regard.

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