Sunday, December 2, 2007

Is Tefilla Deoraisa or Dirabanan?


I hope that everyone had a restful Shabbos.

This is a Chaburah that I heard this past week from Rabbi Josh Blass:

There is a famous Machlokes, Rambam vs. Ramban on whether or not Tefilla is DiRabanan or Deoraisa.

(Rambam Hilchos Tefilla 1:1) Is of the opinion that because of the words “…BiChol Livavchem…” it must be deoraisa. Its practicalities however remain dirabanan.

(Ramban) Holds that the entire category of Tefilla is a rabbinic decree. Although he agrees to the textual source for Tefilla within Shma he says that these words are strictly an Esmachta Bialma and nothing more. To strengthen his point, the Ramban adds the source of a Baal Keri who is not allowed to say Shema but still may say Tefilla. This therefore must connote that the obligation to pray is strictly on a rabbinic level.

The Shulchan Aruch sides with Rambam and says that there is a Biblical obligation for woman to pray. Most commentaries say that the obligation for woman is still purely dirabanan.

In a famous (teshuva) responsum from the Shaagas Aryeh, he concludes that although tefilla is rabbinic in origin (like the Ramban) there are still certain times in which the Ramban would admit to the Rambam that Tefilla would be deoraisa. An example of this would be if it was an Eis Tzara (Time of Sorrow) .

Rabbi Soloveitchik says on this that the Rambam would say that it is always an Eis Tzara therefore the obligation is biblical in nature.

Another example of an exception in which the Ramban would agree that there is an obligation to daven would be in the mitzvah of HaKel.

Interestingly the Ramban would also agree in the following case. The Gemara in Brachos/Gittin says that if there are only 9 there preparing for a Minyan and the 10th is an Eved (slave), you may free the slave in order to make the Minyan. Many of the Rishonim go up in arms on this topic. How can we do this?! Freeing an eved is an issur dioraisa?! We answer that the Aseih of davening in a minyan (DiRabanan) is stronger than the Lo Sasei of freeing slaves (DeOraisa). We see from here that being mikadeish shem shamayim trumps a Biblical Obligation.

Q: What is a difference between the Rambam and the Ramban (Deoraisa or Dirabanan)?

The Gemara in (Brachos Daf Chuf.) says that women, slaves and children are patur from Kriat Shma but nevertheless are chayiv in Tefilla! The Gemara meantions that the reason for this is because “Dirachmei Ninhu” – “They also need mercy”.

Q: Why does the Gemara say that this is so pashut that women are chayiv in Tefilla?! It certainly is not!

Tosafos answers that I would have thought that it is a “Mitzvas Aseih Shehazman Grama” nevertheless woman are still chayiv because of “Rachmei Ninhu”.

Rashi however, disagrees and says that the only reason why she is patur is by deoraisa but if it is dirabanan then even if it is a mitzvas aseih shehazman grama she is still chayiv!

The Maharal explains the Chiluk between Rashi and Tosafos by saying that only Hashem has the ability to release people from the shiibud (servitude) of mitzvos not the Chachamim.

The Rambam however has a girsa of Pshita because he holds that it is a dioraisa not because it is “dirachmei ninhu”. Therefore of course she is chayiv it is not timebound!

Now that we have established that woman are chayiv to daven, the question is what are they chayiv to daven?

If it is deoraisa then they have a chiyuv once a day. If it is dirabanan then the chiyiv is 3 times a day.

Halacha Limaasah à(Shulchan Aruch S’ Kuf Vav) waman are obligated in Tefilla because it is not time bound. The( Mishna Brurah) woman are chayiv in shacharis and mincha but not maariv because it is a reshus (“optional”- woman were never mikabel).

- Maariv is Reshus: What does this mean?!

Rashi – optional

Tosafos- mandatory but another mitzvah trumps it

If the Rambam is right then the Magen Avraham says based on him that woman only have to daven one time a day. This service must include Shevach, Bakasham and Hodaa (Praise, Requests, and Thanks).

Q: What about Maariv and Musaf?

Rav Ovadia Yosef says that if you go like Rashi and the Ramban that Tefilla is Dirabanan then Maariv is mandatory for woman as well.

Q: What about Musaf?

The Ramban and the Bisamim Rosh say that a woman was never obligated to bring a korban tzibbur therefore woman are exempt from this.

Nevertheless, most people rely on the Magen Avraham for their psak when it comes to woman and Tefilla. People should teach their daughters that Tefilla is not a zero but it is in fact a chiyuv deoraisa for them and that it should be taken seriously from day one.

When the Gemara in Taanis answers that the true avoda is one from the heart, people must realize that this is not something that is unique to men but it is in fact equally as important to woman aswell……Drachmei Ninhu

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