Friday, August 10, 2012

Brachos 12b - Mitzvah to Mention Yetzias Mitzrayim

The Mishna has a discussion whether there is a mitzvah to mention yetzias mitzrayim only by day or even by night. Aside from the fact that we pasken like ben zoma that there is a mitzvah to mention yetzias mitzrayim both by day and by night, all agree that at least by day there is a mitzvah. Yet, the Rambam in his minyan ha'mitzvos 157 counts the mitzvah of sippur yetzias mitzrayim on the night of pesach, but doesn't count the mitzvah of zechiras yetzias mitzrayim, which is a mitzvah every day, twice a day. Furthermore, the Rambam in Hilchos Krias Shema in the heading writes that in the section below there is only one mitzvah - 
מצות עשה אחת והיא לקרות קריאת שמע פעמים ביום
The hagahos of the mishneh l'melech wonders why the Rambam counts it only as one mitzvah since it must be said twice a day, but a bigger question is raised by the tzlach - what about the mitzvah of mentioning yetziah mitzrayim. The Rambam himself (1:3) writes that even though tzitzis doesn't apply at night, we still say the parsha of tzitzis because it has in it yetzias mitzrayim, "and there is a mitzvah to mention yetzias mitzrayim by day and by night". Being that the rambam considers this a mitzvah, why does he not count it as a mitzvah?
The Tzlach answers that the Rambam understands like rashi in chumash that the pasuk of למען תזכור את יום צאתך מארץ מצרים כל ימי חייך, is not written in the language of a command rather in the language of a rationale. Rashi (devorim 16:3) says that it is a justification for the mitzvos that we do on the night of pesach such as eating korban pesach and matzah, in order to remember yetzias mitzrayim, and is not an independent command. According to Rashi, this pasuk cannot be considered a mitzvah at all. The Rambam understands like rashi that the pasuk of למען תזכור is not a command, but it is an indication that Hashem wants us to remember yetzias mitzrayim. That is why the Rambam says that there is a mitzvah - a mitzvah in the sense that it is the will of the Torah, but not an absolute command. This would probably be considered a kiyum mitzvah since it is the ratzon ha'torah but not a chiyuv. However, Rashi himself in parshas Bo (13:3) learns that the pasuk of זכור את היום הזה אשר יצאתם ממצרים is an absolute mitzvah and command to mention yetzias mitzrayim everyday.
The Ohr Sameiach (beginning of Hil. Krias Shema) has the same basic approach as the tzlach. Chazal understood from other mitzvos in the Torah that the will of Hashem was that we remember yetzias mitzrayim. Therefore, it is not a real mitzva d'oraysa, but also not a d'rabonon since it is the ratzon of Hashem. Based on the Meshech Chochma (shoftim) it would make sense why we would be machmir about a safeik by this type of mitzvah as well. Furthermore, the Ohr Sameiach says that even if mentioning yetzias mitzrayim isn't considered time bound since it is both by day and night (unlike sha'agas aryeh who says that it is time bound since the day mitzvah doesn't apply at night and the night mitzvah doesn't apply by day), women may still be exempt. The actual obligation for this mitzvah is only on pesach night to tell the story of yetzias mitzrayim and through that chazal indidcate that they want it mentioned daily. Since women are exempt from the mitzvah of sippur on pesach night, they are also exempt from the mitzvah of zechiras yetzias mitzrayim (this of course assumes that women are exempt from sippur but many hold that woman are actually obligated in the mitzvah of sippur on pesach night as well).
It seems to me from that language of the Rambam that his approach is slightly different. The Rambam after writing that there is a mitzvah to mention yetzias mitzrayim both by day and night, concludes - וקריאת שלש פרשיות אלו על סדר זה היא הנקראת קריאת שמע. What does the Rambam mean by this line that the reading of all 3 parshiyos is called krias shema? The gemara suggests the insertion of parshas balak in the krias shema, would that also be called krias shema? It seems that the Rambam is trying to say that the mitzvah of mentioning yetzias mitzrayim is not an independent mitzvah, rather part of the broader mitzvah of krias shema. A support to this is from the gemara that says that they established saying ויאמר because it has in it 5 different points - one of them being yetzias mitzrayim. It seems from the gemara that it wasn't simply tagged onto krias shema to accomplish a second mitzvah of mentioning yetzias mitzrayim which also happens to be twice a day, rather it is part and parcel of the actual shema. 
Furthermore, the Tzlach writes at the very end of the perek that if the mitzvah of mentioning yetzias mitzrayim is derived from the pasuk of למען תזכור, then it must include mentioning the plague of killing the first born as it says in the yerushalmi (since it mention the חפזון which the gemara tells us on 9a refers to חפזון of mitzrayim during makas bechoros). Therefore, the parsha of ויאמר would be a mentioning of yetzias mitzrayim but would not be sufficient to technically fulfill the mitzvah. It is only the bracha of that follows the shema of אמת ויציב by day and אמת ואמונה at night, which mention makas bechoros explicitly, that one can fulfill this mitzvah. This is supported by the gemara 21a that considers אמת ויציב to be d'oraysa since with it one fulfills the mentioning of yetzias mitzrayim - what about ויאמר? The gemara seems to understand that with ויאמר one cannot fulfill this mitzvah. According to this approach, the parsha of ויאמר  is not a technical fulfillment of this mitzvah, but was added to the krias shema because it has 5 essential principles, one being to mention yetzias mitzrayim.
Perhaps the Rambam's source that the parsha of tzitzis became part of the mitzvah of krias shema is from the gemara 13b. The gemara says that Rebbi would say the first pasuk of shema in middle of his shiur and would also try to discuss a topic that contained something about yetzias mitzrayim. The gemara questions whether after the shiur Rebbi would say all the remaining parts of shema. The gemara responds that he would seemingly not say the other sections of shema later on, because if he did why would he have to mention yetzias mitzrayim during the shiur, he could fulfill his mitzvah with the saying of it later. To that the gemara responds that even if Rebbi was going to say all 3 parshiyos of shema later on, he would still mention yetzias mitzrayim in his discourse - כדי להזכיר יציאת מצרים בזמנה, so that he can mention yetzias mitzrayim in it's time. Rashi explains - בזמן קריאת שמע. The Sha'agas Aryeh 10 points out that Rashi is teaching us that the mitzvah of mentioning yetzias mitzrayim is not limited to a certain time of day, rather Rebbi wanted it to be said in the time of krias shema. This implies that the institution of the parsha of tzitzis wasn't merely to fulfill a mitzvah of mentioning yetzias mitzrayim, rather the mentioning of yetzias mitzrayim itself became part of the krias shema.

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