We have finished siman 1, and left off with the concept of mitzvos tzrichos kavanah. We have learned about this concept in the past, but will review it today.
The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah brings a machlokes whether mitzvos tzrichos kavanah or not. Kavanah does not mean deep kabbalistic incantations, but rather an awareness that one is performing a mitzvah because Hashem said so. If a person performs a mitzvah without any awareness, known as misaseik, but they are not yotzei. For example, if one is pursing his lips in order to practice the correct positioning to blow the shofar, and a sound comes out of the shofar, the sound is not a valid tekiyah, because they had no intention whatsoever for the sound.
If one was blowing the shofar because they enjoy the sound of the shofar, there is a machlokes whether they would be yotzei with those tekiyos. This machlokes is based on the question of mitzvos tzrichos kavanah. One opinion holds that you are yotzei, since the tekiyos were blown with the intent of the human being to blow them. The other opinion holds that it is not enough to have intent for the action, but one needs to have intent to fulfill the mitzvah as well. Hashem does not need sounds of the shofar (i.e., the action), but for us to listen to Him and fulfill His ratzon through the mitzvah (i.e., the kavanah behind the action)..
We pasken that mitzvos tzrichos kavanah regarding mitzvos deoraysa. That being said, there are times that we can assume, based on the circumstances, that there was kavanah, even if it was not explicitly stated. For example, if one makes a bracha before performing the action, we can assume they had kavanah to fulfill Hashem’s commandment, even if they are not thinking about fulfilling the commandment of Hashem at the time of the mitzvah.
Similarly, if there is no other reason to why the person is doing the mitzvah action, we can assume there is kavanah. For example, there is no reason why one would wrap black boxes around their body, so we can assume they have kavanah for putting on tefillin.
The question becomes regarding an action which a person does not realize is a mitzvah. For example, the Chayei Adam just wrote that one fulfills the mitzvah of zachor es yom hashabbos lekadesho when they state that today is the ___ day to Shabbos. Arguably, one does not fulfill the mitzvah of zachor es yom hashabbos lekadesho if they just read the words because they are in the siddur. If one pauses beforehand, and thinks to themselves that they are about to say this line for the sake of the mitzvah, they fulfill a mitzvah deoraysa. The same would apply when purchasing items for Shabbos. If they do not think about it, they do not fulfill the mitzvah, but as long as they think about the fact that they are doing the action to fulfill a mitzvah deoraysa, they will fulfill the mitzvah of zachor es yom hashabbos lekadesho.
One can give their action the status of a mitzvah simply by thinking the words lesheim mitzvah, even without specifying which mitzvah they are about to perform.
- We pasken mitzvos tzrichos kavanah when fulfilling a mitzvah deoraysa. This means that one must have deliberate intent not only to perform an action, but to fulfill Hashem’s commandment as well.
- Nevertheless, if the circumstances lead us to assume that there was kavanah, one is yotzei. This includes making a bracha before the mitzvah action, or doing an action that cannot be understood as anything but a mitzvah.
- One can give their action the status of a mitzvah simply by thinking the words lesheim mitzvah, even without specifying which mitzvah they are about to perform.