Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shabbos 22a - Bizuy Mitzvah (Degrading a Mitzvah)

The Gemara learns out from a pasuk that there is an issur for one to do mitzvos in a degrading fashion. One cannot do the mitzvah of kisuy ha'dam, covering the blood of a bird or chaya by simply kicking the dirt, but rather must place it with their hand. Most achronim (Chareidim, Aderes, Chayei Adam 68:2, to the exclusion of the Rosh Yosef - I discussed this in my sefer Nasiach B'hukecha page 32 and in the not yet printed additions) understand that it is a real drasha, meaning that it is considered d'oraysa. Furthermore, in my sefer I assumed that the Chayei Adam even understood that the limud from here to other mitzvos such as using the succah decorations for the duration of succos which the gemara considers a bizuy mitzvah, or lighting a cigarette from chanuka candles would be a Torah prohibition of Bizuy Mitzvah. The Chayei Adam points to Rashi d.h. Avuhon d'kulho, where Rashi writes that all other forms of bizuy mitzvah are learned from the mitzvah of kisuy ha'dam, implying that all the examples of bizuy mitzvah mentioned in the gemara are assur according to the Torah.
However, it is very possible that even if we assume that the drasha of the gemara is a real drasha and that there is indeed an issur d'oraysa to kich up the dirt, it won't apply to the other cases of the gemara. Although the concept is not a gezeiras ha'kasuv and would be d'oraysa by cases that are similar to kisuy ha'dam, it would not be d'oraysa by the succah decorations or lighting something from Chanuka candles. The case of kisuy ha'dam is where one is actually performing a mitzvah in a degrading fashion such as kicking up dirt. Anything similar to that such as one who performs the act of a mitzvah in a derech bizayon it would be considered an issur d'oraysa. However, the cases of succah decorations and lighting something with a chanuka candle are very different. In those situations he is using the object of the mitzvah for something mundane that has no kedusha or mitzvah relevance, but he isn't actually degrading the mitzvah while performing it. The object of a mitzvah may only be associated with a mitzvah on a Rabbinic level, as we find that the concept of being הוקצה למצותה as discussed by Tosafos is only a d'rabonon violation. Therefore, it seems logical that the benefit one derives from an object that only is "designated" for the mitzvah on a d'rabonon level, should only be a d'rabonon violation. In my sefer pg. 36 (note 9) I tried to deduce from Tosafos that the bizuy mitzvah of using succah decorations is only d'rabonon.
Assuming that this is correct, performing a mitzvah in a degrading fashion is a Torah violation of bizuy mitzvah, whereas using an object of a mitzvah for something mundane is a Rabbinic form of bizuy mitzvah, it leads to another question. If one were to perform a mitzvah d'rabonon in a degrading fashion similar to kicking up dirt of kisuy ha'dam, would that be a Torah violation or merely a Rabbinic violation. On one hand it would seem to be only Rabbinic because the entire mitzvah is only d'rabonon, but on the other hand, he is doing avodas Hashem in a degrading way which may be a Torah prohibition, even though the actual mitzvah is only d'rabonon. Just as Rav Moshe writes in a teshuva that hidur mitzvah applies m'doraysa to the talis that we wear in shul because it is an object associated with service of Hashem, similarly bizuy mitzvah may apply to any action that is done as avodas Hashem. וצריך עיון.

No comments: