What is the reason for the principle תדיר ושאינו תדיר תדיר קודם? Why does תדיר go first?

Please provide sources if possible.

  • You want to know how Chazal derive this principle from the Torah? Or you're asking for the rationale behind the principle?
    – Joel K
    Jun 30 at 6:47
  • It's a massive sugya - olamot.net/sites/default/files/pdf/504.pdf
    – Dov
    Jun 30 at 7:13
  • The way I remember it from the Maharal, the more common something is, the more important it is.
    – N.T.
    Jun 30 at 7:55
  • @JoelK the rationale
    – Yehuda
    Jun 30 at 18:33
  • 1
    @N.T. can you find me that Maharal? That's exactly the sevara I was hoping to see in a source
    – Yehuda
    Jun 30 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


The Gemara in Zevachim 89A explains that Tadir is a Gezeiras Hakasuv.

Having said that, perhaps we can offer a novel explanation as to why it is like that.

The Rambam Tamidin 9:2 says that Tadir and Kadosh are equal and either one can go first. This would seem to indicate that Tadir makes a mitzvah more important in a sense, to be on equal footing with a more holy mitzvah which we understand gives more importance.

Perhaps, the importance of Tadir can be explained with a Medrash brought in the Hakdama of Ein Yakov and in the Maharal in Nesivos Olam that discusses which one passuk of the Torah encaspulates the entire Torah best. The Medrash concludes that it is the passuk of Ben Pazi who says it is the passuk of the Korban Hatamid that includes everything in one passuk. The explanation given by many (I heard it from quite a few, most recently from Rabbi Frand) is that the point of a Jew is to serve Hashem like a servant. The hardest part of that service, is the day in day out routine, to not get bored, to keep up the enthusiasm and never fail to do the mitzvohs, even for one day. (It is not the daf, it is the Yomi).

With this, perhaps, we can understand why Tadir is more important. Conventional wisdom says that something that is rare is more important. It is more exciting. Eating matzah on the first night of Pesach is more exciting than putting on tefillin on Erev Pesach. However, the Torah looks at things differently. The point is the Tadir, the daily service without fail. That is why Tadir is more important.


Let me attempt an explanation from first principles. (So I will try to document those principles, as a compromise with your closing request.)

TL;DR: the more frequent mitzvah is more frequent because it is something we need to work on more. Therefore, we give it priority.

Say the purpose of halakhah is to provide a discipline for becoming a better person. (What "better person" means is a bit further off topic, not for this answer.) Then, why would one activity be recommended more often than another?

A comparatively famous ruling of the Rambam. He says on Avos 3:9:

Behold this thing is agreed upon by the philosophers as well: That habituation of the virtues - when it comes before [acquisition of] wisdom to the point that it is a strong possession, and he studies wisdom afterwards such that it will give him alacrity for those goods - will add joy and love to his wisdom and industriousness to increase upon it; since [wisdom] stimulates him to [do] that to which he is [already] accustomed.

Based on this, he writes a little later mishnah 15:

the virtues do not come to a man according to the quantity of the greatness of the deed, but rather according to the great number of good deeds. And this is that indeed the virtues arrive by repetition of the good deeds many times. And with this does a strong acquisition come - not when a man does one great deed from the good deeds; as from this alone, a strong acquisition will not come to him. And the parable with this is that when a man gives a thousand gold coins at one time to one man to whom it is fitting and he does not give anything to another man; the trait of generosity will not come into his hand with this great act, as [much as] it will come to one who donates a thousand gold pieces a thousand times and gives each one of them out of generosity. [This is] because this one repeated the act of generosity a thousand times and a strong acquisition of it came to him [in this way]. But [the other] only aroused his soul with a great arousal towards a good act, and afterwards it ceased from him. And so [too] with Torah, the reward of the one who redeems one captive with a hundred dinar or [gives] charity to a poor person with a hundred dinar which is enough for what he lacks is not like the one who redeems ten captives or fills the lack of ten poor people - each one with ten dinar. And in this comparison and this matter is that which he said, "וְהַכֹּל לְפִי רֹב הַמַּעֲשֶׂה - in accordance to the majority of the deed", and not in accordance to the greatness of the deed.

So, it would seem that a mitzvah we do more often, the tadir, is something we need more practice at, more habituation. As the Rambam said, regardless of the magnitude of the deed itself. The mitzvah that is tadir must be the one that is central to our avodas Hashem (worship of Hashem or doing Hashem's Work).

So, shouldn't it get priority?

(Note: I didn't bother quoting the Rambam in Hebrew because he wrote his commentary to the mishnah in Judeo-Arabic anyway.)

I believe this is also why "גָּדוֹל מְצֻוֶּוה וְעוֹשֶׂה יוֹתֵר מִמִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְצֻוֶּוה וְעוֹשֶׂה -- םמק one who is commanded [to be obligated in a mitzvah] and does it is greater than one who is not commanded and does it." (Qiddushin 31a)

Yes, the usual explanation is that the person who was commanded and does, metzuveh ve'oseh, has a greater yeitzer hara (evil inclination) to overcome simple because it was commanded. So the act is greater. But what does it mean to have a greater yeitzer hara for something? And was Hashem's choice of who to command arbitrary?

So, I would again suggest, the metzuveh ve'oseh is commanded because they need the mitzvah more to become the person Hashem made them to be. Which would explain why they have a greater internal hurdle to do it -- this is the areas that needs work! And since it is more central to the discipline needed to refine one's soul into a more accurate "image" of the Divine, the mitzvah has more value.

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