Monday, December 25, 2017

bracha on shul talis

The M"B paskens in 14:11 that if a person takes a shul talis to get an aliya or daven for the amud he is obligated to say a bracha on the talis.  The logic here is that the shul talis is jointly owned by everyone in the shul.  Therefore, just like you would say a bracha on your own talis, you should say a bracha on the shul talis.

Maybe I am wrong, but my impression is that most people do not recite a bracha when they take a shul talis to daven for the amud.  Maybe the reason why is because if you fast forward to the M"B in 18:5, there he paskens that anyone who davens for the amud, even someone who says kadish, needs to put on a talis; however, since he is just wearing the talis for kavod tzibur and not as a garment, no bracha is recited.

I am not sure how you get these two M"B's to fit together.  In 14:11 M"B applies the sevara of the garment being worn only l'kavod tzibur only to a talis borrowed from another individual.  It sounds like the concern is that since you are borrowing the talis only for the purpose of kavod tzibur, the person lending it is not really makneh it to you for use as a garment.  However, if the talis belongs to you, or is the shul talis, i.e. it belongs to everyone, then even if you put it purely l'kavod tzibur, a bracha is required.  Yet this seems to fly in the face of the psak in 18:5.


  1. "and not as a garment"-- then why the tzitzis thereon?

  2. Yashar koach for calling our attention to this!

    I believe MB explains his reasoning in 14:11 slightly differently than what you wrote:
    בטליתות של קהל כעין שלנו המצויות בבתי כנסיות צריך לברך עליו לכו"ע אפילו כשלובשו רק לעבור לפני התיבה או לעלות לתורה משום דטלית של קהל אדעתא דהכי קנוהו מתחלה שכל מי שלובש אותו שיהיה שלו כמו באתרוג

    In other words, the key isn't that everyone in the community jointly owns it, but rather that anyone who uses it as Shat"z etc. is given temporary ownership rights. So this covers e.g. even a shat"z who is visiting from a different community.

    Also, I read MB's comment in 18:5 about not making a bracha as only applying in the specific case of one who puts on the talis to recite kadish yasom. Note btw that Sha'ar ha-tziyun references Magen Avraham; but MA only mentions wearing a talis to say kadish yasom, and says nothing about not making a bracha - that part is the MB's own addition, apparently.

    In any case, great question about how to reconcile MB's ruling in 18:5 not to make a bracha, with what he very clearly says in 14:11 about the Shat"z making a bracha "לכו"ע" when he puts a talis on. This is such a stark contradiction -- regardless of rationale/lomdus, just on the simple level of the basic rule -- that I am inclined to conclude that in 18:5 MB was only talking about the very narrow case of kadish yasom. Perhaps MB held that since it is questionable whether one who merely recites kadish needs a talis at all for kavod ha-tzibbur, therefore we can't assume that the tzibbur intended to grant temporary ownership to reciters of kaddish (unlike a shat"z or one who receives an aliya), and so unlike the cases in 18:5 here one who wears it only for kadish yasom should not make a bracha.

    1. >>>the key isn't that everyone in the community jointly owns it,

      See the Biur Halacha -- I read the M"B in light of his discussion there.