Tuesday, August 08, 2006

krias shema and mitzvos tzerichos kavanah

The mishna in Brachos (13) tells us that someone who is reading the torah and gets to the parsha of krias shema fulfills the mitzvah of k"s only if he has kavanah to do so. The gemara suggests that we can deduce from this mishna that mitzvos tzerichos kavanah, intent is required to fulfill any mitzvah, but then rejects the proof - perhaps the mishna is speaking of a case of 'korei l'hagiha', reading with no intention whatsoever (Rashi) or stumbling over the words (Tosfos), which is not accurate reading. The mishna's requirement of kavanah refers to simple cognizance that one is performing an act of reading, but has nothing to do with the general disagreement whether intent to fulfill a mitzvah is required to be yotzei. The Rambam (krias shema 2:1) seems to pasken exactly the opposite of the gemara's conclusion. Rambam writes that as long as one had kavanah while reading the first pasuk of krias shema (which is derived in a braysa as mandatory according to some Tanaim for just the first pasuk, according to others for the first perek) one fulfills the mitzvah of k"s even if one is "korei l'hagiha" through the rest of the parsha. To be continued...


  1. Rambam seems to understand Kavannah that R. Meir requires is not that he is doing a mitzvah but Pirush hamilim and yichud. That stops at passuk rishon the rest can be said without even that.This tyKavanah can be even if one is not mechaven leshem mitzvat kriat shema, e.g. just meditating about it which would be Hakoreh Batorah. That being the case the Gemara Shemah Minah in the beginning remains that there is no definite proof either way for Mitzvot Tzarichot Kavan which is the kavana to do the mitzvah. The Beit Yossef's Kushya is therefore not that strong as the idea that if ein Tzarichot kavana you still need to do better than lehagiha is just a throw away answer.

    It would work nicely with his shita by Matza and we would need to differentiate by Shofar why he requires kavanah.

  2. I just happened to be working this through this PM.

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