However, writes Radbaz, since these two benedictions were enacted to be said—along with “al mikra Megilla”—together with the Megilla reading, when there is no required Megilla reading, one is exempt from reciting them. In accordance with Rabbeinu Tam’s principle, though, Radbaz argues that one may nevertheless recite these berakhot optionally. As for the benediction of “al mikra Megilla,” here R. Engel is absolutely correct: where there is no minyan, there can be no properly mandated Megilla reading and therefore no “al mikra Megilla” either. One is not merely exempt from “al mikra Megilla”; there is no place for the berakha, ab initio. Rabbeinu Tam’s principle is, in this case, irrelevant. Accordingly, as a proper reading of Radbaz’s responsum will reveal, Radbaz never even entertained its application to the berakha of “al mikra Megilla.”
(e) An onen (note 30) is normally freed from fulfilling all positive commandments. Nevertheless, the noted halakhist, R. Joseph Te’omim, Peri Megadim, O.H. sec. 71, Mishbetsot Zahav 3 and Rosh Yosef, Berakhot 17b, s.v. “Mishna. Mi she-meito,” allows the optional recitation of Shema with its benedictions by an onen (provided he has someone to take care of all the burial arrangements).
(f) Maharah Or Zaru’a, responsum no. 183, maintains that yeshiva students dorming with their teachers are freed of fulfilling all positive commandments. Nevertheless, they may recite the appropriate benediction before performing the mitsvot of their choice.
(g) R. Hayyim D. S. Zorapa, Resp. Sha’ar Shelomo, Y.D. sec. 109, p. 109 column 3, permits non-relatives to tear keria with a berakha.
(h) R. David Samuel haLevi, Turei Zahav (Taz), O.H. sec. 46, no. 7, invokes Rabbeinu Tam’s principle in his discussion of birkat ha-noten la-ya’eif ko’ah.
(i) R. Aaron Worms, Me’orei Or, V, Be’er Sheva (published 1790), hashmatot to Berakhot 46a, p. 65a, raises the possibility of an optional two-man zimmun based on R. Tam’s ruling.
(j) R. Moses Shternbuch, Mo’adim uZemanim, IV, sec. 288, p. 53, argues that one who became Bar Mitsvah during the counting of the Omer may continue counting because of Rabbeinu Tam’s principle.
(k) R. Menashe Klein, Haggada Magid Mishne, p. 168, indicates that only kohanim are obligated in the ritual slaughtering of sacrifices, although non-kohanim are permitted to do so. Nevertheless, an Israelite who ritually slaughters a sacrifice may make the appropriate benediction.
(l) R. Samuel Elimelekh Turk, Resp. Kerem Tsvi, sec. 43, invokes Rabbeinu Tam’s principle in his discussion of keriat haTorah in a minyan on a day not ordained by Hazal.