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B'rov am hadrat melech (ברב עם הדרת מלך, "in multitudes there is glorification of the king")[1] is a principle in Jewish law that recommends that mitzvot (commandments, good deeds) be performed as part of as large a gathering as possible, with the intention of providing greater honor to God.

Talmudic examples of application

The Talmud provides many examples of the practical application of this principle. One such example is brought by a Tosefta,[2] which quotes a situation in which many individuals were gathered together and learning in a study hall when a candle arrived for use in the havdalah prayer that is recited at the end of Shabbat. In such a case, either each individual could recite his own blessing on the fire, or one person can recite the blessing and all of the others can listen and respond amen, thereby fulfilling their obligation to recite the blessing. Whereas the Academy of Shammai proposed that each person recite their own blessing, the Academy of Hillel proposed that one person should recite the blessing on behalf of everyone present in fulfillment of the principle of b'rov am hadrat melech. The law follows the latter opinion.[3]

Another example is in reference to blowing the shofar.[4] The Mishna[5] mandates that the shofar be blown during the musaf prayer service, and the Gemara, ostensibly providing an explanation to why the shofar is not blown in the earlier shacharit prayer, provides the rationale that inclusion within the musaf prayer is because of the principle of b'rov am hadrat melech, as more people are in the synagogue by the time the congregation has reached musaf. This rationale is immediately debunked, as the Gemara continues to ask why Hallel (when recited) is included in shacharit if b'rov am hadrat melech is indeed governing into which prayers the additions are added.

References

  1. ^ Proverbs 14:28
  2. ^ Bavli Berachot 53a
  3. ^ Ayin Mishpat Ner Mitzvah, citing Maimonidies
  4. ^ Bavli Rosh Hashanah 22b
  5. ^ Rosh Hashanah 4:8
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