The identity of the recipient of this letter was not released. The letter is a response to the recipient’s reply to Letter No. 544.

B”H, 16 Kislev, 5710

Regarding the questions you raised concerning the resolution [of your previous queries] concerning the distinctions the Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe makes with regard to the length [of the interruption that requires a new blessing] with regard to tzitzis [and other matters]: I explained that this resembles the law stated with regard to the recitation of the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh: that if one waits the amount of time it takes to recite the entire prayer, [one must repeat it entirely].

You raise a question, noting that with regard to the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh, [this law applies] only when one [was forced to interrupt] due to factors beyond his control. This does not apply to the matters cited.

[That idea] is not relevant to the resolution that I offered. Even if my resolution will not be accepted, it is necessary to find an explanation why, with regard to the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh, a wait that is not caused by forces beyond one’s control is not considered an interruption, but in the other circumstances, it is considered as such.

The distinction between [the situations] is simply [understood]: [The laws applying to] the recitation of the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh are different because one is still obligated in them [after the interruption]. [The person] has no way of ceasing his obligation (and thus his connection) [to these prayers]. Only a powerful reason, a force beyond his control, can break his connection while he is in the midst of his obligation. In the other matters mentioned above, even though one is [continuing to] perform a mitzvah, he has already completed his obligation.

You raised a question about the statements of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, sec. 8[:30], with regard to a person who sleeps during the day.1 A distinction can be made regarding sleeping2 because it is an interruption [that diverts his thought]. See subsec. 26.3 There appears to be a printing error in the references to subsec. 30. The reference should be רמ"מ, i.e., Rabbeinu Moshe of Mintz.4

A Later Addition [to the letter]:

There is still room for some analysis with regard to the morning blessings for Torah study. [After reciting them in the morning,] one is exempt [from saying them again] the entire day, even if, in the interim, [one is prevented from studying] by forces beyond his control, or he slept.5 It is, however, possible to explain that the obligation to study Torah is different [from the other matters mentioned], because it is so powerful that [one who ignores it incurs] the words [of censure]:6 “He scorned the word of G‑d.” Thus he is obligated [to study Torah] even when he is being held back by forces beyond his control. It is just that he is being prevented.7

Nevertheless, analysis is required why an unlearned person who is incapable of studying is exempt after reciting the blessings for Torah study in the morning until he recites the Shema in the evening even though “the idle words he recites are permitted”8 (Tanya, ch. 8).

Analysis is also required regarding the above matters in a situation where a person dies and is buried immediately thereafter. [The close relatives are not required to recite the blessings [for Torah study] again, although they were exempt from all the mitzvos [between the death and the burial] (see the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, sec. 71, and the sources mentioned there). There is no greater interruption than this.