Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tefillah - d'oraysa or derabbanan?

The Rambam's opinion is that tefilla is a mitzvah d'oraysa, while the Ramban disagrees. One of the proofs against the Rambam's position (discussed by the Sha'agas Arye #15) is the Mishna in Brachos (20b) which states that a ba'al keri must think (hirhur) the words of keriyas shema and bentching even if he cannot say them because of his state of tumah, but he can skip tefilla. The difference would seem to be that that shma and bentching are d'oraysa mitzvos, while tefilla is not - which of course, is contrary to the Rambam's position.


  1. Anonymous1:12 AM

    Can we distinguish shmah from tefillah by saying that k'riat shmah is in a sense a mitzvah of talmud torah and rememberance of the Exodus, so that it still makes sense to read it silently, but that tefillah does not make sense unless it is out loud because the very essence of it is a conversation with God? I don't know how the Rambam could distinguish bentching though, which seems more like tefillah in this respect.