What is the law regarding one who borrows a garment that already has tzitzit on it? Tosafot write that since one is exempt from placing tzitzit on a borrowed garment that does not already have tzitzit on it, so too one may not recite a beracha on a borrowed talit. Tosafot explain that since they are already deemed exempt from the obligation to place tzitzit on that garment, one may not recite a beracha on them. However, Rabbeinu Asher suggests two reasons why one would recite a beracha on a borrowed talit. In his commentary to Chullin 8:26, he states that although in principle, one would not recite a beracha on a borrowed garment, nevertheless, the lender will always have the intent to give the garment to the borrower as a gift (on condition that he return it- matana al m'nat l'hachzir) in order to enable the borrower to recite a beracha. In Hilchot Tzitzit no.2, Rabbeinu Asher states that one cannot avoid reciting a beracha by borrowing someone else's talit because the exemption of a borrowed garment applies only to garments that do not already have tzitzit attached to them. This implies that in principle one can fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit with a borrowed garment that already has tzitzit attached to it, even if there was no acquisition of the garment.
Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 14:3, rules in accordance with Rabbeinu Asher that if one borrows a garment that already has tzitzit, he may recite a beracha. However, Shulchan Aruch does not indicate whether this is due to the fact that the lender has intent to give the garment as a gift, or whether in principle one may recite a beracha on a borrowed garment. Taz, Orach Chaim 14:4, states that the reason is because the lender has intent to give the garment as a gift. Taz adds that according to this reasoning, one would only recite a beracha if the garment is normally used to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit. If the garment is normally worn as part of one's wardrobe, and because it is a four-cornered garment, tzitzit were placed on it, one would not recite a beracha as it cannot be assured that the garment was given to the borrower for the purpose of fulfilling the mitzvah. Eliah Rabbah 14:6, argues that primary reason for reciting a beracha on a borrowed garment is because in principle one recites a beracha on a garment that has tzitzit already attached. The Mishna Berurah 14:11, adopts the opinion of Taz.
R. Shlomo Luria, Yam Shel Shlomo, Chullin 8:53, suggest that we only assume that the lender intends to give the talit as a gift when the borrower requests to use it for the morning prayers. If the borrower requests to use it on order to lead the congregation in prayer or when he is called to the Torah, there is no acquisition, as the borrower is not borrowing the talit for the purpose of fulfilling the mitzvah. R. Ya'akov of Lisa, Derech HaChaim, Dinei Tzitzit, Din Im Noda Lo no. 3, states that if one wants to rely on the opinion of R. Luria, it is preferable that the borrower should have specific intent not to acquire the talit. It should be noted that according to the opinion of Eliah Rabbah, one would be required to recite a beracha as neither of these leniences are applicable.
The Congregation's Talit
The Gemara, Chullin 136a, states that one is obligated to place tzitzit on a garment owned in partnership. Mordechai, Menachot no. 950, notes that therefore, one recites a beracha on the talit of a congregation as this is tantamount to a garment owned in partnership.
R. Ya'akov of Lisa, op. cit., suggests that the reason why one recites a beracha on the talit of the congregation is because it was purchased with the intent that whoever uses it acquires it. Mishna Berurah, Bi'ur Halacha 14:3 s.v She'ala, questions the need for such a reason after Mordechai already compared this to a garment owned in partnership. Mishna Berurah posits that R. Ya'akov of Lisa's reasons would apply in a case where there are so many people in the congregation that each person's share in the talit is worth less than a perutah (approximately half of a penny and the smallest halachically significant amount of money). In such a situation, one can no longer consider one's share in the talit as something significant, and the only reason to require one to recite a beracha is because it was purchased with intent that whoever uses it acquires it. Perhaps one can suggest that R. Ya'akov of Lisa's reason is necessary in order that a guest of the congregation may recite a beracha. A guest is not considered a legal partner in the congregation and therefore the only reason to require one to recite a beracha is because it was purchased with intent that whoever uses it acquires it.
Mishna Berurah cites some Acharonim who rule that if one does not want to recite a beracha on the congregation's talit, he should have specific intent not to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit, and he should not cover his head with the talit. Although Mishna Berurah questions the rationale of these Acharonim, he does not offer a conclusive opinion as to whether one may rely on the opinion of these Acharonim. Nevertheless, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (opinion cited in Halichot Shlomo 3:12) maintains that one is not required to recite a beracha on the congregation's talit, even if one covers his head with it.
Should a Shaliach Tzibbur Don a Talit at Night?
An interesting question arises from this discussion regarding whether a shaliach tzibbur (the leader of the congregation) should don a talit for the evening services. Rama, Orach Chaim 18:1, writes that one who dons a garment with tzitzit at night does not recite a beracha as there is a dispute whether there is a fulfillment of the mitzvah of tzitzit at night. Taz, Orach Chaim 581:2, points to the following conundrum regarding the nighttime selichot services. On the one hand, it is important for the shaliach tzibbur to don a talit during the selichot services. However, on the other hand, Taz claims that it is inappropriate to don a talit at night as there is dispute whether one should recite a beracha upon donning a talit at night, and one should not enter into a situation of doubt unnecessarily. Taz therefore suggests that the proper course of action is to borrow a talit from a friend, and in this manner there is definitely no requirement to recite a beracha as the talit is not being borrowed for the purpose of fulfilling the mitzvah.
It should be noted that Taz is following his own opinion that the reason why one recites a beracha on a borrowed garment is because it is assumed that the lender has the intention to give the garment to the borrower as a gift. Therefore, if either the borrower or the lender do not have intent of acquisition, no beracha is recited. However, according to Eliah Rabbah who rules that in principle one recites a beracha on a borrowed garment that already has tzitzit attached, one would recite a beracha on this borrowed garment, regardless of whether there was intent of acquisition or not. In fact, the comments of Rabbeinu Asher which serve as the basis for Eliah Rabbah's ruling address this very question. Rabbeinu Asher notes the practice that some have that the shaliach tzibbur borrows a talit from someone else when selichot are recited at night in order to avoid the question of whether to recite a beracha. Rabbeinu Asher's response is that borrowing a garment with tzitzit already attached does not solve this problem, as one would be required to recite a beracha in such an instance were it to be daytime.