A friend called me to complain about Reb Moshe’s teshuva in Orach Chaim 4 99, where Reb Moshe says that he doesn’t approve of the minhag to make the bracha on the lulav in the sukkah before davening, because there is a todir, or if you prefer, tadir problem; davening is tadir vis a vis lulav. (Rav Shach says exactly the same thing, that in Kletzk the minhag was to make the bracha on the lulav before davening, but he didn’t do so because of the tadir problem.)
My friend's complaint was the following: The Pri Megadim in hilchos tefillin, in the Eshel Avraham, says that if you don’t want to wear your talis gadol walking to shul, but you do want to wear your tefillin, there is no tadir problem, because since you don’t want to put on the talis now, there is no question about which is todir, the talis or the tefillin. Now you want to put on the tefillin only, so talis is not in the cheshbon. The Pri Megadim shtells tzu the halacha of musaf and mincha in 286, that even if it is zman minchah, you daven musaf first. So, my friend asked, if you want to do the mitzva of lulav now, and you don’t want to daven shachris now, and you have a minyan kavu’a later to daven, according to the Pri Megadim there should be no tadir problem at all.
I told him that it is not a kashe, because the Pri Megadim is only talking about talis, which is not a chiyuv be’etzem. There is no chiyuv of tzitzis unless I want to wear the beged, and since I don’t want to wear the beged now, there is no chiyuv at all. But by shachris, it doesn’t matter if I want to daven now— it is the zman chiyuv of tefilla, so there is a din of todir whether I like it or not. And the din of tadir is mechayev that I cannot do a different, less tadir mitzva.
He then asked, if I were right, what is the Pri Megadim’s tzushtell to 286? There, of course, Mincha is a chiyuv, not a choice. We looked, and it came out that 286 is talking about a tzibur that was davening late on Yom Kipur, and they didn’t start musaf before the zman mincha came, that they should daven musaf first. But if you look carefully there, and at Reb Moshe’s teshuva in OC 4 68, you will see that the Rambam says that in such a case, the tzibur should daven musaf first only “shelo yit’u—” because doing Mincah first will confuse them. And Reb Moshe brings that the Rosh used to daven musaf while the tzibur was saying the yotzros of shachris, and later daven mincha with them. So you see that the Rosh holds that tadir is mechayev that you daven the tadir first, even if that means that you will be davenning musaf beyichidus. This is an exact tzushtell to the case of the lulav and shachris— that I cannot take the lulav before davenning, because tadir is mechayev that I daven first. And even though the tzibur has the minyan later, and I cannot daven now unless I daven beyichidus, it’s too bad. The din of tadir says that you cannot take the lulav first, or that you should daven shachris beyichidus and then take the lulav, or, of course, just wait till you daven shachris betzibur and then take the lulav.
So he then asked, if so, what does the Pri Megadim mean when he shtells tzu 286? It seems the 286 says farkert from him!
We realized, though, that it appears that in 286 there is a difference between Mincha Gedola and Mincha Ketana. There might be a chiluk that if it is the time of Minchah Gedolah, then it is better to daven musaf first, but if it is the time of Minchah Ketanah, then you should daven mincha first. If so, this is exactly the difference between other mitzvos and talis: Mincha Gedola is like a talis, because you may choose to daven Mincha Gedola if you like, but it is not the real time of chiyuv. Only then if you don’t plan to daven Mincha Gedola, you should daven musaf first, and that is the Pri Megadim's source for saying that you can wear your Tefillin before your Tallis. . But if it were a real chiyuv, namely Mincha Ketana, then tadir would say that you have to daven mincha first- at least theoretically, but in fact, of course, there's a shema yit’u problem.
The shaylah also comes up in Kiddush Levana— how can we do that if we have a chiyuv to say havdala? And it certainly is not a tadir versus m’kudash issue. Unless you say that you need people to say sholom aleichem to, which you won’t have if you wait until after havdala.
By the way, Rav Shternbuch says as a davar poshut not like Reb Moshe, but instead that if you do not intend to do a mitzvah now, even though it’s the zman, it doesn’t come into the cheshbon and you don’t have to worry about tadir. It's too bad he didn't explain to Reb Moshe and Rav Shach why it's so pashut, because they, nebach, didn't understand it.
But I do have to mention that in the Keser Rosh, from Reb Chaim Volozhiner's talmid, printed in the Siddur HaGra before the Maaseh Rav, see #109 where he says that Reb Chaim did make the bracha on the Esrog in his Sukka before Davening.
The truth is, most likely this is not an argument about how to apply the rules of Tadir. It is pretty obvious that the precedence of Tadir only applies where the non-Tadir can be done equally well later. If you will lose something significant in the non-Tadir by the delay, you certainly should do it first. So if making the bracha in a sukkah is significant, and you will not be able to make it in the sukkah after Shachris, you should do it in the sukkah before Shachris. Obviously, Reb Moshe and Rav Shach didn't think that making the bracha in a sukkah was significant.
Now that I've erased the original, I really ought to mention BlackLeibel's comment back in 2006.
The Todir Kodem problem aside, according to the Ar"i, the Chid"a and others, the Ikar of Netilas Lulav is in the Sukka and the appropriate time is after Tefilla, before Hallel. Compliance would necessitate either a mass exit from Shuhl to the Sukka before Hallel or Davening Shacharis in the Sukka. Instead, we (of noble Hungarian descent or, apparently, most Kletkers) Bentch Lulav in the Sukka before Davening. (See Pri Etz Chaim, Shaar 29, Ch.3 and Divrei Chaim, Drushei Sukkoth.)