MB 669 seif koton 17 says in the name of the Levush that the custom is that the Kohanim do not bless the people at Mussaf on Simchas Torah because there is a likelihood that the kohanim may be intoxicated. MB quotes the custom in Prague based on the Elyoh Raboh that the Kohanim do bless the people on Simchas Torah.

The likelihood of intoxication is present, I suggest, in Eretz Yisroel on Shmini Atzeres. The custom in Israel is that the Kohanim do bless the people at Mussaf on Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah as long as they have not drunk a shiur of intoxicating beverage. Is the custom in Israel an extension of the Elyoh Raboh’s position or are there other sources?

  • 1
    You are taking a discussion of what to do in chutz laaretz, where (among Ashkenazim) duchening is restricted to Yom Tov musaf, and trying to apply it in Eretz Yisrael where duchening is far more common. Of course in Eretz Yisrael there is duchening at musaf on Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah by whichever kohanim happen to be sober. The same would be true if there was a boozy kiddush in the middle of davening on any Shabbat (The town drunk is making a bar mitzvah maybe?) If there is a kohen sober enough to duchen, he does.
    – Ze'ev
    Oct 5, 2016 at 18:09
  • @Ze'evFelsen Thanks for that. Why don't you post it as an answer? Oct 5, 2016 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure the Elya Rabba really has a 'position'. He writes (669:20):

פה פראג נוהגים לעלות במוסף, רק בבית הכנסת פנחס נוהגים בשחרית כמ"ש המנהגים [הל' שמיני עצרת]:‏
Here in Prague the custom is to go up at Musaf, except in the Pinchas Synagogue they only go up at Shacharit.

He is just observing the custom in the different synagogues in his town. As the whole discussion is just based on the custom, what's relevant for Israel is Israel's custom. R Yechiel Michal Tuccinsky codified many of the customs in the Land of Israel in his Sefer Eretz Yisrael. He writes (2:5) that the custom in Israel is to warn the Kohanim not to drink alcohol in the morning on Simchat Torah, and that those who listen, may perform Birkat Kohanim. And that is what they do.


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