Thursday, August 10, 2006

kerias shema and kavanah (II)

Apologies for not finishing this topic sooner (or very coherently) - swamped with too much other stuff on my plate right now! Continuing from last post...
Unlike the Ramban (Milchamos R"H ch 3) who understood the sugya's debate over kavanah in kerias shema as the same as the general debate over whether mitzvos tzerichos kavanah, R' Soloveitchik explained (as David also commented on the previous post) that the Rambam held that kerias shema requires a unique higher level of kavanah by virtue of its being a fulfillment of kabbalas ol malchus shamayim. This is why although the braysa quotes a number of opinions as to the shiur of kavanah for kerias shema - the first pasuk, the first perek, etc. - the gemara never relates these opinions to the general debate of mitzvos tzerichos kavanah. Acceptance of Hashem as King (kabbalas ol) by definition is a mental act which requires intent; the debate over mitzvos tzerichos kavanah is whether a physical act of mitzvah performance requires accompanying intent to define it as a mitzvah. The Rambam understood the case of korei l'hagiha not as mitaskek (Rashi) or as improperly pronouncing the words (Tosfos), but as simply reading without this higher level of intent for kabbalas ol, which is sufficient outside the requirements that apply to the first pasuk.
R' Soloveitchik used this same idea to explain the Rambam's opinion regarding someone who falls asleep in the middle of kerias shema. The gemara writes that R' Yehudah instructed that if he dozes off, he should be woken up to recite the first pasuk of shema with kavanah. According to many rishonim, he would recite the rest of kerias shema, but he was not concerned with the intensity of kavanah for the remainder. However, the Rambam writes that one must be woken to read the first pasuk, and then if one dozes, one is not obligated to recite the remainder of k"s at all. According the the simple reading of the Rambam (in perek 1), all three parshiyos of k"s are d'oraysa, so why must one be woken only to read the first pasuk? The Rav explained that if one falls asleep one is patur from mitzvos becuase of ones, and this ptur is relevant even for the mitzvah of k"s. However, there is a specific din in kabbalas ol malchus shamayim which supercedes the exemption of ones and requires being woken to recite the first pasuk.

9 comments:

  1. anon11:23 PM

    IIRC, R'Twersky in the Zichron ha-Rav talks about both the Rambam and the Ramban's shitos re: kriays shma -- the Ramban holding that the mitzva is essentially reading/learning torah and ahavah rabah/ahava olam is a bircas ha-mitzvah by being a bircas ha-Torah, whereas the Rambam holds the mitzvah is kabalas ol malchus shamayim and hence the different understandings of kavanah. Also interesting story about how the Griz would say krias shma and the din of hefsek.

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  2. R.Kaffah in his mishna torah comments has a similar approach regarding Kabbalat Ol Malchut shamayim being the Kavanah here.

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  3. Have not seen R' Twersky's piece - too pressed for time to write everything out this week, but the Rav has a letter to his father in Igros haGRID on this sugya and it is a kuntres in shiurim l'zecher aba mari. It is worthwhile comparing the two as they are not exactly identical.

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  4. So you were practicing your laining this week also early in the morning before shachris and wanted to know if you can read the parshas krias shema and be yotzei for preparing the laining, the mitzvah of krias shema, and shanyim miqrah? lol

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  5. To tell you the truth, this is the first week in awhile that I am not leining on Shabbos because I have a bar mitzvah to go to!

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  6. If only I had off this week. Besides what I was supposed to lain, the guy who was supposed to the 4th aliyah cancelled on me last night. So I woke up this morning at 5:30am so I can learn that aliyah before shachris, but then I fell asleep in shul over my tikkun. I guess I'll have the Rav lain it or I'll have to learn it tonight. oy.

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