Mincha for Mishmara
(fast eve of Rosh Chodesh)
The reason to make this page was the Corona pandemic (מגפה). The Chief Rabbinate of Israel had declared the day before Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5780 (25 march 2020) as a global half day fast. Our kehila had not adopted this as a fast, but as a תענית דיבור (see responsa).
As before the decision of our rabbi was communicated the page was already mostly made, I decided to publish it, even though it was not needed at that moment שלא תשכח תורה מישראל, so it will not be forgotten.
In general, we have the custom to fast on the eve Rosh Chodesh, a fast called “Mishmara”. Other communities call this fast Yom Kipur Katan.
As far we know, the Mishmara was not kept after the war. Even if it was, there is nobody alive anymore who remembers the Mishmara and thus we lost the tradition. Keter Shem Tob (1932, part 1, page 432, note 484) writes that this minhag is not kept by the Sephardim, which obviously was not correct for Amsterdam. The texts themselves can be found in the back of all editions of the Ta’aniyot book (after 9 Ab) and the fast is described in Seder Chazzanut Brandon (1866). Nabarro (1960th) made no recordings of the Mishmara. The melodies as presented on this page are an “educated guess”, taken from others services with similar texts. Therefore the words may sometimes differ.
Seder Chazzanut Brandon (SHB page 174 left column) writes:
“There is a fast on the 29th of each month. In the morning the hashcavot for the 29th of each month must be said after the קדיש תתקבל, followed by the pregão (announcement) “Mincha se rezará esta tarde por os senhores, que jejuão a Mizmara, ahuma hora”: Mincha will be prayed this afternoon for you, who fast the Mizmara, at one o’ clock.
If Rosh Chodesh is on Friday, Shabbat or Sunday, then the fast is advanced to Thursday, except for the Mishmara of Tishri, which can be held on Friday. The Mishmara of Tebet will take place on the 24th of the month. There is no Mishmara before Rosh Chodesh Iyar, as one may not fast in Nissan.” (Translations JBS)
Brandon adds that if there are enough fasting men, the chazzan must be available to read the parasa. This indicates that already in his days (the first manuscript was written in 1866) the mismara was kept by a small group only.
For mincha, the various Ta’aniyot books write similar texts. Below the text from Rodriguez Mendes, 1725 on page 117-1
מנחה כמו בצום
Mulder and Cardozo edition adds:
אומרים לא שמע
From Brandon it seems
that if there is no minjan of fasting men, Parasa is not read. It is obvious
from this that in that case עננו
is not read in the repetition by the Chazzan as a separate beracha, but as part
קולנו by those who fast.
Important notice. As stated, the Mishmara hasn’t been kept for many generations, and thus this page is based printed sources, complemented with assumptions. I did my outmost best to have it verified, but there is no guarantee. In case of any doubt, always contact the rabbinate for clarification.
All are standing during Kaddish
 Seder Chazzanut Cardozo (SHC page ה) writes that the Hashcavot and pregão in the morning are read after קדיש תתקבל or before Hanoteen. This indicates that there isn’t always Tora reading on the Mishmara morning and thus that the reading is caused by the day of the week (Monday or Thursday) and not by the Mishmara. The reading Brandon refers to must thus be the Mincha reading. We thus find no evidence for any changes during the morning service, as indeed we see nowhere else for Yom Kippur Katan.
 Unlike Kal Nidre, where it is sung.
 The high melody starts with "Vayikach biyado" and ends with "Venakeh". It is also sung like this when there is no Rabbi. The Rabbi takes over the pontairo from the Chazzan and starts with "Vaya'avor". The words "Hashem Hashem" to "Venakeh" are first sung by the congregation and then repeated by the Rabbi. This is also done if there is no Rabbi. At the words "Lo Yenakeh" the Rabbi returns the pontairo a de Chazzan that continues with the regular melody, but the Shofar Holech ("Munach") is emphasized, which otherwise never happens after a Kadma ("Pashta").
 This can found in the Rodrigeus Mendes edition, 1725. Leaving it out really looks as a mistake. All three omissions can be found in Rodrigeus Mendes respectively on pages קי"ח, קי"ט קכ'. For the convenience I refer in the table to the Rosh Hashanah book which is more commonly available.
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