In our previous lesson, we began a discussion about donning two taleisim in close proximity of one another. The common application of this halacha is when one dons his talis katan at home and soon afterward, his talis gadol - either at home or at shul. It is interesting that the way this question is dealt with in the Shulchan Aruch is not the way we deal with it. The Shulchan Aruch assumes that of course a bracha will be made on the first talis; the question is whether or not one should be made on the second talis. For us, it’s just the opposite: the question is whether we should make a bracha on our talis katan at all, or just wait to make the bracha on the talis gadol, having the talis katan in mind retroactively. One reason for this, I believe, is that, while the bracha over the talis katan (i.e. ‘…al mitzvas…’) suffices for the talis gadol, after the fact, the bracha of ‘lehis’ateif’ is much more appropriate. Secondly, the question of making a bracha over the first and having it count for the second is fraught with complexities, particularly if one goes to shul to daven shacharis: How far away is the shul? Did the person talk in between the donning of the two taleisim? How much time has elapsed? That is why the alternative solution is much better: skip the bracha on the talis katan and make it only the talis gadol, with the talis katan in mind. In this way, there is never a concern that a ‘bracha in vain’ was uttered. (Ed: In our learning, we concluded that if one typically rises early, dresses and has a regular shiur or chavrusa before shacharis, then he should make a separate bracha on his talis katan. It is written that several great Torah authorities of the past and present have this practice. This is, of course, provided that the time has arrived (‘mi-she-yakir’*) for making the bracha on tzitzis, and 2) one is certain that his talis katan is made to halachic specifications.) [*“Mishyakir - Light enough to see your friend at 4 Amos (cubits) away: Earliest time to make a bracha on talis, tefillin and fulfill Shema” - excerpted from the MBY archives from our VERY FIRST halacha email shiur!!!]
Same talis, multiple wearings
Question: Suppose you are davening in shul with your talis on, and you take it off to go to the restroom. Should you make another bracha when you put it back on?
Answer: We follow the Rama’s opinion who rules that as long as at the time that the talis was removed, the person had the intention of putting it back on soon afterwards, another bracha is not made. (Note: A contributing factor in this ruling is the fact that, halachically speaking, one is not required to remove his talis when going to the restroom – although the custom is to do so.) The Mishnah Berura writes that even if the person did not have express intent to put it back on (i.e. he did not think about it at all), if he was wearing a talis katan the entire time that the talis gadol was removed, it acts as a “bridge”, and another bracha is not required when he puts the talis gadol back on. (Note: The Mishnah Berura writes further that when one is in the middle of davening, his “default position” is that he intends to put it back on, even if his mind was blank at the time, and was not wearing a talis katan!)
Question: What if a person’s talis fell off completely – does he make a new bracha when he puts it back on again?
Answer: What do you think? (Please think before reading ahead…)
Yes he does! Falling off is worse than taking it off, because the former was unplanned and that constitutes a ‘hesech hada’as’ – expiration of thought. Now, if he caught it just before it fell completely off of his shoulder, there is a dispute as to whether or not he makes a new bracha. In that case, the rule is: when in doubt, don’t make a bracha! (Ed: May I suggest that when he puts it on at the beginning, he has in mind that if it should fall – even completely - he intends to put it back on again? Then, it seems to me, its falling off would not constitute a ‘hesech hada’as’, because he prepared himself for that possibility. What do you think? Don’t just “fall for” what I say!)
Based on everything we have learned in this lesson, what is the halacha about the following: When I take my shower before Shabbos, and take off my talis katan, planning to put the same one back on after the shower, do I make another bracha? What if I wear a different talis katan? (If you would like to research the answer to this question, together with other interesting tzitzis-related issues, please join the Kollel for the Shavuos All-Night learning in the ASK Beis Midrash!)