Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reciting Shema without Tefilin

A certain person was up late, learning Torah. By the time he got to sleep, there wasn’t much time until he had to recite Shema. His usual practice was to wake up shortly before the time of Shema, dress quickly and say Shema on time. But there wasn’t enough time for him to put on tefillin before reciting Shema. When he reached the sugyah in Berachos which states that one who says Shema without tefillin is compared to one who gives false testimony, he was very devastated and wondered if he was required to change his habit. At the same time, he wondered if this statement was relevant to him. He said to himself, “After all, I do put on tefillin while I daven. So perhaps it is not likened to giving false testimony. On the other hand, I don’t have tefillin on when I recite Hashem’s command to bind them on your arm and head, so maybe that is the problem?” When this question reached the Chozeh of Lublin, zt”l, he permitted the man to continue his practice. “This is clear from the very gemara you quote. We find that that saying Shema without tefillin is like bringing a sacrifice without the wine libation. But the halachah regarding a libation is that it is still valid if it is brought within ten days after bringing the sacrifice. We see that as long as one brought the libation within its halachic time framework, the sacrifice is not considered to be without a libation. The same is true regarding Shema. Even if one said Shema without tefillin, if he put on tefillin that day as the halachah requires he is not likened to one who gives false testimony.” The Eretz Tzvi, zt”l, proves this from the halachah in Rosh Hashanah. “From the Maharsha in Avodah Zarah 4 it is clear that one need not wear tefillin when saying Shema as long as he puts it on afterwards. He explains how we say יום תרועה during shachris before blowing shofar. Since we will blow later, this is not considered false testimony. The same is true regarding tefillin.”

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