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Hilchos Kriyas Shema 60 (page 186)
מסעיף ב עד אמצע סעיף ד וכן הלכה

Is Proper Intent Necessary to Fulfill General Mitzvos?
Which Mitzvos Can Be Fulfilled Without Intention?
Why Must Someone Who Read Shema Before Davening Repeat it During Davening?

Is proper intent necessary to fulfill general mitzvos?
Someone who performed a mitzva action but mistakenly assumed that it wasn't valid (e.g. he held an esrog but thought that it was pasul or that it was the wrong time for the mitzva) has not fulfilled his obligation. There is a machlokes as to whether someone who performed a mitzva without any thought - positive or negative - has fulfilled his obligation. There is an opinion which holds that if a person had the right intention at some point during or immediately after the mitzva, he has fulfilled his obligation even according to those who require intent. Intention before commencing the mitzva [but not during the action] is adequate.
( סעיף ד, ס"ק ז-ח, וביה"ל ד"ה יש; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 6)
Which mitzvos can be fulfilled without intention?
The previous machlokes pertains to someone who knew he was executing an action but was unaware that he performed a mitzva by doing so. According to all opinions, however, someone who does something inadvertently-i.e. he does not even intend to perform the action -- is not yotzei (e.g. someone who blew into a shofar without intending to make a shofar sound). According to many poskim, mitzvos which involve eating can be fulfilled inadvertently.
( ביה"ל ד"ה יש וד"ה ויש)
Why must someone who read Shema before davening repeat it during davening?
Someone who read Shema before davening must repeat it later when reciting the berachos. One reason for this is that repeating Shema prepares a person for Shemoneh Esrei with the study of Torah. A second purpose is to satisfy the opinion of the poskim who hold that the mitzva of kriyas Shema is not properly performed without the berachos. If for some reason someone recited Shema without the berachos and then davened Shemoneh Esrei, he should repeat Shema with the berachos afterwards .
( סעיף ב, ס"ק ד, וביה"ל ד"ה ונראה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 4)

  • According to the Mechaber, members of the congregation should not respond Amen when the chazan completes the beracha of Ahava Rabbah. Any talking between the beracha and Shema may be considered a hefseik between the beracha and the mitzva.
  • According to the Rama, it is proper to respond Amen to the beracha of Ahava Rabbah. It is not considered an interruption because Ahava Rabbah is not a classic birkas hamitzva since it does not contain the words asher kidishanu b'mitzvosov.
  • According to the Rama, it is only permissible to answer Amen to the beracha of Ahava Rabbah or other berachos that one is allowed to respond to between the segments of birchos Kriyas Shema.

  • Intent for mitzvos d'rabonon

  • Does preparation for the mitzva count as intention?

  • The kavana of the first pasuk of Shema



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.