Wednesday, July 28, 2010

making a tnai on the mitzvah of kri'as shema

If a person is uncertain if he will make sof zman kri’as shema if he davens along with the tzibur, simply reading shema early is not the ideal solution. That might guarantee making the zman, but it definitely forfeits the kiyum mitzvah of reading shema in the context of its brachos. A better solution (see R’ Akiva Eiger O.C. 46) would be to read shema early with a tnai that if one makes the zman, the earlier recitation counts only as talmud torah; if not, the earlier recitation counts as the mitzvah of kri’ah.

The problem with this solution is that the reading of shema does not seem to be something one can set stipulations on. The gemara (Kesubos 74a) tells us that a tnai can only be made when an action can be done by a shliach. Tosfos explains that the ability to designate an agent to act on one’s behalf demonstrates control over a process. It is that same level of control which affords the possibility of making conditions. Since one cannot appoint a shliach to read kri’as shema on one’s behalf, one should be precluded from setting any conditions on the mitzvah.

How then can R’ Akiva Eiger suggest tnai as a possible solution in this case? I have seen two basic approaches to resolve the quesion. I’ll leave it for you to mull over for now.


  1. Anonymous4:07 PM

    or mishna bruras chazans nedavah tenai, or avnei nezers afikoman tenai

  2. Or the mechaber's sefiras ha'omer tnai, etc. etc. : )

  3. Anonymous12:27 AM

    Can somone write these tnaim out for the Uneducated.

  4. Anonymous8:47 AM

    In the sefer "mikroei kodesh" pg 190, he answers the question with a Ramban which states that a nazir can make a tnai, although he can't send an agent for himself.

    The "Mishkanos Yaakov" explains this to mean that the reason that one can only make a tnai on something which he can send an agent, explains Tosfos (Kesuvos 74a) because sending an agent shows that you have ba'alus ("ownership") over the action to do be able to send another party to do it for you. Therefore you can also make a tnai.
    But by a mitzvaah, the mitzvah is YOURS, i.e. it is an obligation for you to do it. So just because you can't make a shliach to do it , this doesn't take away your ownership over it; in fact, it strengthens your ba'alus. Therefore the usual rule of "you need to be able to send a shliach..." does not apply by mitzvos like shema and afikomen.

  5. The tnai would be "If I don't make zman kri'as shema, this should count as my mitzvas k"s: if I make zman k"S with the brachos, then this reading should be talmud torah."

  6. Anonymous2:46 PM

    Or the tnai we make on ibud klaf to work for any of STa"M.