Thursday, January 26, 2012

Erchin 16a - Loshon Ho'rah in the Presence of Three

I already blogged about this previously and presented the different approaches - SEE HERE.
Reading the gemara simply, it seems to imply like the approach of the Rambam that once loshon hora was violated in the presence of 3 people, it can be assumed that it is already public info (even though the way it becomes public info is through an issur being violated) and can be said over by the 3 who heard it.
Being that the heter is based on the assumption that the word will get out, the Chofetz Chaim (perek 2) has many stipulations as to when it will be permitted:
1. It can be told over casually but not with the intention of spreading the news further. The Yad Ketana holds that even when said casually, it can only be said if that was the topic of conversation, but one cannot move the conversation in that direction in order to share the loshon hora.
2. It cannot be repeated back to the one it was said about. Although the Rashbam permits even this and doesn't consider it to be a violation of rechilus, the chofetz chaim isn't willing to pasken like that.
3. Only one who was part of the group of 3 can say it over, but not the person who heard it from him until it has become well known information.
4. If any of the group of 3 are exceptional yarei shamayim who wouldn't repeat it over, it cannot be repeated over by anyone in the group. He learns this from the gemara in sanhedrin 29a that considers the judges revealing their votes to be loshon hora even though the 3 judges know about it. He suggests that if any of the 3 wouldn't repeat it over because they are the subjects friends or family, it also cannot be repeated.
5. It can only be repeated to places where the news would have spread such as within the city. Mostly likely this condition no longer applies since information spreads very quickly to the 4 corners of the world.
6. If the original person who told it over warned the 3 listeners not to say it, one cannot assume that it will spread and cannot repeat it.
7. One cannot embellish the story in any way. It has to be said exactly as it was heard.
8. The heter is only for the one saying it over, but the listener still cannot believe it as factual. Therefore if the one telling it over knows the nature of the listener and that he would accept it as fact, he cannot tell it to him.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Erchin 10b - Hallel on Yetzias Mitzrayim

The gemara offers 3 explanations for why we don't say Hallel on Purim. 1. We don't say Hallel for a miracle that occurs outside of E.Y. after the Jews have already entered E.Y. 2. The reading of the Megilla is in place of the Hallel. 3. It wasn't a complete redemption since we remain slaves to Achashveirosh. The entire question as to why we don't say Hallel on Purim is predicated on the gemara's answer that we do say Hallel on Chanuka due to the miracle, even though it isn't called a Mo'ed and there is no prohibition of work. Therefore, all the distinctions as to why we don't say Hallel on Purim, do not apply to Chanuka. It is a miracle that occurred in E.Y., there is no reading to be in place of Hallel, and it was considered a "complete" redemption (although short lived - approx. 200 years). Rashi in Ta'anis 28b seems to understand that the reciting of Hallel on Chanuka would be considered d'oraysa, since the concept of saying of Hallel on a miracle is a Torah requirement.
The gemara challenges the first distinction between Chanuka and Purim from the fact that we say Hallel on the miracle of yetzias mitzrayim (and is forced to respond that prior to entering E.Y. we say hallel on chutz la'aretz miracles). It isn't clear from the gemara which Hallel it is referring to that is said for yetzias mitzrayim. The Turei Even in Megillah explains that it can't be referring to Hallel said on the first day of Pesach because that is a Hallel for the Yom Tov, not for the miracle. Therefore, he suggests that it is referring to the Hallel on the night of Pesach. The Mahartz Chiyus (here) understands the Turei Even to be speaking about the Hallel in shul on the night of Pesach because the Hallel in the Hagada is interrupted by the meal and wouldn't qualify as Hallel. The Maharatz Chiyus asks that to be referring to the Hallel said in shul on Pesach night is also difficult because the minhag ashkenazim based on the Rama is not to say it. It seems to me that the Turei Even is referring to the Hallel said within the Hagada. Although it is not said as a complete entity and wouldn't qualify as a "Hallel", it would nonetheless qualify as a "shira" and would prove that we do say shira even on a chutz la'aretz miracle.
The Rambam (Hil. Chanuka 3:6) paskens like the middle answer of the gemara - קריאתה זו היא הלילא. The Hallel of Chanuka is achieved by the reading of the megillah. This raises a big discussion in the poskim (sha'arei teshuva) in Hilchos Purim, if one doesn't have a megillah to read on Purim, should they recite the full Hallel (and perhaps even with a bracha). However, it seems that when the gemara says that megilla is in place of Hallel it doesn't just mean that it fulfills the obligation of Hallel, rather that reading the megilla is the expression that chazal instituted as the hallel for purim. Therefore, even if one were not to have access to a megilla they couldn't recite hallel with a bracha (and couldn't say a full hallel) since there was no takana to say hallel on purim.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Erchin 7a - Brain Death

The gemara says that before beis din would carry out capital punishment on a pregnant woman, they would kill the fetus inside of her to prevent the nivul that would occur if they were to kill her first. The gemara concludes from this that if they would first kill her, she would die before the fetus. However, the gemara asks from a source that indicates that a fetus would always die prior to the woman carrying it. The gemara reconciles this by making a distinction between a woman who is murdered in which case she may die first, and a woman who dies naturally in which case the fetus will ALWAYS die first.
It is reported that this gemara was a strong indication for Rav Shlomo Zalman to reject brain stem death as being dead. Since a brain stem dead patient can carry and deliver (Cesarean) a child, it must not be considered dead because it would contradict the gemara's rule that the child will always die before the mother. The fact that the mother can be brain dead and deliver a healthy child indicates that brain death is still alive.
However, in the very next line the gemara says that shabbos may be violated to save the unborn fetus of a pregnant woman who died in childbirth. The implication is that although she died naturally, her fetus may still be living. Rashi comments that sometimes the mother will die before the fetus which creates a safeik pikuach nefesh that justifies the violating of shabbos to save the fetus. According to Rashi it seems that there cannot be a rule that a mother will always die before the child. This would certainly undermine Rav Shlomo Zalman's assumption because the fact that a viable child may be born from a brain dead patient would not prove that brain stem death is still considered living. In truth, Rashi's approach is quite difficult. Just as we are able to assume in the case of inheriting from the mother to bequeath to the father's relatives, that fetus perished before the mother based on the rationale of the gemara - איידי דוולד זוטרא חיותיה עיילה טיפה דמלאך המות ומחתך להו לסימנין, we should be able to rely on that assumption for shabbos as well. Yet, Rashi would seem to hold that we can make that assumption when dealing with monetary issues but it will not be overwhelming enough to prevent an attempt at saving the fetus on the chance that it outlived the mother.
The Shita Mi'kubetzes (15) reconciles the apparent contradiction with a smoother approach. The Shita explains that when a woman is carrying a child but hasn't yet gone into labor, any natural cause of death would affect her fetus before it affects her, therefore her fetus will die first. But, when she has already gone into labor and the fetus has gotten some degree of independence, it is possible and even likely that the fetus will be able to live even after the mother has died (therefore permitting the violation of shabbos to save the fetus). According to this approach the original rule remains strong that prior to labor, when a pregnant woman dies a natural death, her fetus will always die before she dies. Therefore, it is reasonable for Rav Shlomo Zalman to assume that if a brain dead woman can "live" on life support for weeks until her baby is born, it is an indication that she isn't truly dead because a dead woman cannot produce a live baby.
Many years ago, there was an experiment done in Israel led by Dr. Avrohom Steinberg (a proponent of brain stem death being halachic death) to disprove Rav Shlomo Zalman's source. The experiment involved decapitating a pregnant sheep while hooked up to a heart-lung machine, and then successfully delivering a live lamb. There is no debate that a decapitated person or animal is considered dead, yet the baby lamb was able to outlive the trauma of the mother's decapitation. What does this prove? Seemingly it would prove that the gemara's principal is outdated. In the time of the gemara the rule may have been true that a fetus cannot remain alive after it's mother has died, but with modern technology it is a possibility. Therefore, the gemara would not disprove the concept of brain stem death being halachic death.
The problem with this experiment (which i surprisingly couldn't find discussion about) is that the gemara itself differentiates between natural death and one who is killed. The gemara accepts that when one is killed, the fetus can outlive it's mother. It is only when the mother dies through natural causes that the fetus must die first. Therefore, the sheep experiment would concur to the gemara's principal that killing the mother would not kill the fetus, yet when the mother would become brain dead without the trauma of being murdered, it would still be a viable source that brain death is not halachic death. It is unclear to me what exactly this experiment was meant to prove. It seems that the experiment wasn't meant to technically undermine the proof from our gemara. Rather the experiment was just meant to show that the heart and lung can continue to work well after decapitation, proving that life cannot be determined by heart and lung functionality.

For Dr. Steinberg's presentation of the experiment to Rav Shlomo Zalman, CLICK HERE. For an easier read and more cynical article detailing Israeli politics on this issue that was printed in Ha'aretz in english CLICK HERE.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Erchin 3b - Chatzitza for Tefillin

The gemara says that without a mishna explicitly obligating kohanim to wear tefillin, we would have thought that they were exempt from the head tefillin while doing the avoda. The rationale is that since they cannot wear the arm tefillin while wearing bigdei kehuna because it will be a chatzitzah, they should also be exempt from the head tefillin, therefore we require a mishna to say that they aren't exempt from the head tefillin. It is clear from the gemara that while doing the avoda the kohanim were not able to wear the arm tefillin. There are techincally two options regarding the arm tefillin. Either to wear it under the bigdei kehuna which the gemara rejects due to the chatzitza or wear it over the bidgei kehuna which rashi and tosafos both reject because והיה לך לאות ולא לאחרים לאות, meaning that the tefillin shel yad must be covered and not exposed.
The Rashba in a Teshuva (תרכ"ז) permits one to wear tefillin even if there is something separating between the tefillin and his skin. He derives this from the fact that the only problem that rashi and tosafos mention with putting tefillin on top of the bigdei kehuna is that tefillin shel yad can't be exposed, it must be hidden. This implies that we aren't concerned for chatzitza and for tefillin shel rosh which should be exposed, there is not issue at all with placing them on top of something else. The Shulchan Aruch (27:5) relies on the Rashba for one who has a head injury to put the tefillin shel rosh on top of a bandage or thin cap (without a bracha). The M.B. (18) similarly permits one to put tefillin shel yad on top of a bandage (without a bracha) relying on the rashba when there is no alternative. However, under normal circumstances the Shulchan Aruch (4) writes that chatzitza is an issue and the tefillin must be placed directly on one's arm and head without anything blocking. The Rosh and Gr"a cite the source from על ידך and בין עיניך implying that it must be directly one one's skin without any chatzitzah.
Our gemara seems to support the position of the Rosh (against the Rashba) because the gemara questions why the tefillin shel rosh isn't a problem while wearing the hat, and responds that the hat sat higher on the head behind the tefillin. Why couldn't the gemara say that the tefillin was placed on top of the hat? It must be that the hat would be a chatzitza for the tefillin just as the tefillin would be a chatzitza for the hat. Perhaps this is why the Shulchan Aruch when relying on the Rashba insists on a "thin" hat, because he understands from the gemara that a thick had similar to the one worn by kohanim would indeed be a chatzitzah. However, it is hard to understand why a thin hat wouldn't be a chatzitza and thick one would, therefore the M.B. explains the problem with the thick hat to be that the tefillin will not be situated in the right place.
Another point that we can derive from this gemara is that kohanim are obligated to wear tefillin shel yad while doing avoda. The shita mikubetzes (6) asks that this seems to contradict a gemara in zevachim which exempts kohanim from the mitzvah of tefillin entirely while doing avoda based on עוסק במצוה פטור מן המצוה. The Shita explains that עוסק במצוה פטור מן המצוה only applies when he would have to put on tefillin at a time where otherwise he would be doing avoda so that the mitzvah would be a bitul of the avoda, but he is required to put on tefillin prior to the avoda and continue wearing them while doing the avoda since there is no contradiction. One of the commentaries in the back (Rashash Toibish) answers based on the Ran in Succah 25a who says that one is exempt from a mitzvah while performing another mitzvah even if he can do both. However, it would seem that since one can put on tefillin prior to beginning the avoda at a time when he hasn't even begun the avoda, even the Ran would require him to do so.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Erchin 2b - Avoiding Mitzvos

The Gemara says that when a child reaches an age that he knows how to wrap himself in clothing, his father is obligated to purchase tzitzis for him. Tosafos points out that the nature of the mitzvah of tzitzis is not an absolute obligation and therefore the father is only obligated to purchase tzitzis for his child when the child has a four cornered garment. But the father is not obligated to purchase a four cornered garment for his child to train him in the mitzvah of tzitzis. Tosafos points out that although the gemara in Menachos 41a considers one who avoids or evades the mitzvah of tzitzis to be deserving of punishment, that is only in those days when they were accustomed to wear four cornered garments, therefore one who went out of their way to avoid it was clearly trying to evade a mitzvah. However, nowadays where most garments are made without having four corners, if one would neglect purchasing a garment that is obligated in tzitzis they aren't deserving of punishment. Tosafos seems to imply that in a time when it was normal to wear four cornered garments, not only should one not avoid the mitzvah for their own garments, they shouldn't even avoid the mitzvah for their child's garments.
The Shita Mi'kubetzes adds that although nowadays it isn't a punishable offense to avoid the mitzvah of tzitzis, it is still proper for one to purchase a four cornered garment to intentionally create an obligation on themselves of tzitzis. The source is from Moshe who yearned to enter Eretz Yisroel to fulfill mitzvos.

In the additions to my sefer Nasiach B'chukecha, I pointed out that there seem to be four levels of avoiding/obligating oneself in mitzvos that they aren't technically obligated in. See Below:

הגדרה בחיוב להכניס עצמו להיות חייב במצות ולפטור את עצמו ממצות:
לענ"ד נראה שיש ד' שלבים לגבי הא דאין לו לאדם לבקש תחבולות לפטור את עצמו מן המצות והחובה להכניס את עצמו לחיוב מצוה. מצינו ענין זה בד' מקומות בש"ס. א. בגמ' קדושין לג ע"א גבי מפני שיבה תקום, קאמר שיכול יעצים עיניו כמו שלא ראהו, וקפריך אטו ברשיעי עסקינן, ומפרש שיכול יעצים עיניו מקמי דלמטי זמן חיובא דכי מטא זמן חיובא הא לא חזי ליה דקאים מקמיה ת"ל תקום ויראת. ופרש"י דילפינן מהכא שיש לך לירא מן היוצר היודע מחשבותיך שאתה מבקש תחבולות להפטר ממצותו. וראיתי בספר דברות משה (קדושין הערה ל"א) שמפרש שזה חמור מהא דאמר מלאך לרבי קטינא דענשינן בעידן ריתחא, שהרי הכא ילפינן מקרא שלא מהני תחבולותיו לפטור את עצמו מן המצוה כלל, והוא מבטל המצוה בידים אלא שנפטר מדין אנוס שלא ידע שעבר מחמת עצימת עינים [ויותר מזה ראיתי בגור אריה (פרשת בהעלותך פרק ט' פסוק א') על פרש"י שם דלא פתח הפרשה בענין הקרבת הפסח משום שהיא גנותן של ישראל שלא הביאו קרבן פסח כל מ' שנה חוץ מזו. התוס' בקדושין לז ע"ב כתבו או שלא היו חייבים עד שנכנסו לארץ או שהיו חייבים אלא שפטורים משום שהיו ערלים, ומ"מ גנות הוא להם שנשארו במדבר מ' שנה מחמת חטא המרגלים. אבל המהר"ל כתב שם וז"ל ולפי דעתי אין צריך, שאף אם הוא פטור מן המצוה או מחמת אונסה או שפטרו, גנאי הוא לו, דסוף סוף לא עשו המצוה כמה שנים שהיו במדבר, שכל מי שהוא פטור מן המצוה מחמת שהוא אונס גנאי הוא לו שלא עשה המצוה, דלא אמרינן בבב"ק כח ע"ב אונס רחמנא פטריה רק לענין פטור מן העונש, אבל מ"מ גנאי הוא לו שלא עשה המצוה והיה לו זכות, וכאן לא היה להם זכות אותו המצוה עכ"ל. הרי סובר דגנאי הוא שלא לקיים מצוה אע"פ שהוא רק מחמת אונס, וכ"ש בנידון דידן שמכניס עצמו למצב כזה ובודאי לאו שפיר עביד שהוא מכניס עצמו למצב שיהיה גנאי לו במה שלא יקיים המצוה. עיין במשך חכמה (פרשת בא י"ג, י') שיש הבדל בין ביטול עשה באונס, לעבירת ל"ת באונס, דבל"ת אין העשיה נחשב לכלום וכאילו לא עשה, אבל בעשה אף כשהיה אנוס מ"מ לא מיחשב כמאן דעביד דסוף סוף לא עשה. ובזה מיישב קושיית התוס' בנדה סא ע"ב אמאי שייך לועג לרש בציצית ולא בכלאים, וכן אמאי קפדינן על בדיקת תפילין ומזוזה יותר מבדיקת ריאה, וכן אמאי קפדינן על שמירת המצה רק למצות לילה הראשונה]. אכן, מדברי הביה"ל (או"ח ס' קכ"ח ס"ב בד"ה או, וכן בס"ד בד"ה אינם) משמע שסובר דקרא ד"ויראת מאלקיך" כללא היא ושייך הכי בכל מקום שמבקש טצדקי לפטור את עצמו ממצות, ואינו דין מיוחד בקימה מפני שיבה, וגם אינו מיוחד למי שמכניס עצמו למצב של אונס. אלא שצ"ע דא"כ אמאי קאמר מלאכא דבעידן ריתחא ענשין, הא יש בזה ביטול מצות "ויראת מאלקיך" וזה חמורא יותר מהא דענשינן בעידן דריתחא, לכן נראה שדרכו של הדברו"מ מדוייק טפי. ב. בגיטין פא ע"א וכן בברכות לה ע"ב אמר רבב"ח אמר ריו"ח משום ר"י בר אילעי בא וראה שלא כדורות הראשונים דורות האחרונים, דורות הראשונים מכניסין פירותיהן דרך טרקסמון כדי לחייבן במעשר, דורות האחרונים מכניסין פירותיהן דרך גגות ודרך קרפיפות כדי לפוטרן מן המעשר. ונראה שגם זה חמור מהא דאמר מלאכא לרבי קטינא, שהרי הכא הם בקשו תחבולות שלא כדרך העולם כדי לפטור את עצמן מן המצות, ונתכוונו לכך שעיקר תכליתם הוא למפטר נפשייהו. ולא דמי לרב קטינא שמסתמא לא נתכוין לפטור את עצמו מן המצוה, רק שניכר לאינשי כן כדהעיר שם בדברו"מ. והנה, בגמ' מנחות סז ע"ב מדמה ענין זה להא דרבי אושעיא שמערים להכניס במוץ כדי להאכיל לבהמתו, וגם למי שאופה פחות מחמשת רבעים ועוד כדי לפטור את עצמו מן החלה. וכל החילוק בגמ' הוא אם גזרו משום בעלי כיסין שהיו מוכרים לעכו"ם ואמרו שאף בשל עכו"ם חייב בתרו"מ, וקאמר דבתרו"מ אע"פ שאפשר להערים להכניסו במוץ כדר"א או להכניסו דרך גגות וקרפיפות לא חששו שיעשה כן משום דהוא מילתא דפרהסיא וזילא ביה מילתא שיאמרו פלוני מערים לפטור את עצמו, ולכן לא נשאר רק עצה למכור לעכו"ם לכך גזרו אף בשל עכו"ם. משא"כ גבי הפרשת חלה שאפשר לאפות פחות מכשיעור בצנעא לא ימכרנו לעכו"ם ומש"ה לא גזרו. מ"מ משמע שבכל ענין שיעשה אפילו כשרק אופה פחות מכשיעור איכא איסורא במה שמערים לפטור את עצמו מן המצוה. ג. במנחות מא ע"א דמלאכא אשכחיה לרב קטינא שהיה לובש בגדים בקייטא ובסתוא שפטורים מציצית, וקאמר ליה קטינא קטינא, סדינא בקייטא וסרבלא בסיתוא, ציצית מה תהא עליה. ומפרש בגמ' דהכי קאמר ליה "טצדקי למפטר נפשך מציצית". ופרש"י וז"ל תבקש תחבולות לפטור עצמך מציצית עכ"ל. ומפרש בדברו"מ הנ"ל דעיקר החשש משום שנראה לאנשי שהיה מבקש תחבולות לפטור את עצמו מציצית דומיא דדורות האחרונים שהכניסו פירותיהן דרך גגות, אע"פ שבאמת זה לא היה כוונתו, ואעפ"כ ענשינן ע"ז בעידן דריתחא. ונלענ"ד שזה מדוייק מאוד בדברי המרדכי (ס' תתקמ"ה) הובא בב"י (או"ח ס' כ"ד) שכתב דמי שיש לו טלית בת ד' כנפות ומבקש עלילות ליפטר נענש, ומשמע מזה דכשאין לו טלית בת ד' כנפות אינו נענש שזה דומה לשלב הד' דמידת חסידות הוא להכניס עצמו למצב של חיוב. ועוד כתב המרדכי וז"ל ודוקא בימיהם שהיו רגילים ללבוש טליתות בת ד' כנפים אבל אנחנו אין דרכנו בבגדי ד' כנפים אפילו בעידן ריתחא לא מיענשי, ומיהא מצוה מן המובחר היא כדאמרינן לא נתאוה משה ליכנס לארץ משום פירותיה אלא כדי לקיים מצות התלויות בה, וה"ה בציצית שגדולה מאוד ומתן שכרה מרובה כדאמר ששקולה כנגד כל המצות. תוס' שאנ"ץ עכ"ל [גם הרא"ש במו"ק (פ"ג ס' פ') כתב כדברי המרדכי דרק כשהיו להם ד' כנפות שייך הא דנענשין מי שלא היתה לו, אבל בזמננו הא דיש לו לחזור אחר ציצית הוא רק מדין משה שביקש ליכנס לארץ לקיים מצות התלויות בה וכ"כ השטמ"ק בערכין ב ע"ב במה שהוסיף על התוס' ד"ה הכל]. ולפמש"כ האגרו"מ אתי שפיר דרב קטינא עצמו לא נתכוין לפטור את עצמו ממצות אלא שמאיזה טעם לא לבש בגד של ד' כנפות. לפיכך כל טענת המלאך לרבי קטינא הוא שניכר לאינשי שמבקש תחבולות לפטור עצמו ממצות ציצית, ולכך כתב המרדכי שזה שייך בזמן שבני אדם רגילין בבגד של ד' כנפות, ולא בזמן הזה [אכן, באמת נחלקו התוס' והמרדכי אם שייך הא דענשין בעידן דריתחא רק כשיש לו ואינו לובשה כמש"כ המרדכי מתחלה דקמיירי דוקא כשיש לו, ומשמע מזה דכשאין לו אף בעידן דריתחא לא ענשינן ליה במה שאינו מחפש אחריו לקנותו. אבל התוס' כתבו דרב קטינא לית ליה בגד המחוייב בציצית, ואעפ"כ קאמר מלאכא דענשינן בעידן דריתחא. עיין בביאורים של הגר"מ בנעט דלדעת המרדכי ניחא דרק שייך למ"ד חובת גברא דקמיירי כשיש לו מש"ה ענשינן בעידן דריתחא אבל אין כופין על קיום מצוה כיון דאינו מחוייב עד שעת לבישה. אבל למ"ד חובת טלית לא שייך הגדרה זו דאין כופין ואעפ"כ ענשינן בעידן דריתחא, דאי כשיש לו מחוייב ועומד וכפינן ליה, ואי כשאין לו הא לא ענשינן. אבל לדעת התוס' קמיירי בדלית ליה ורק משום דחובת גברא ענשינן בעידן דריתחא, אבל אי חובת טלית לא ענשינן כיון שאין החיוב מוטלת אקרקפתא דגברא לא נחשב מי שאין לו כמי שפוטר את עצמו מן המצוה. והשטמ"ק (אות ח') מפרש דלמ"ד חובת טלית נמי ענשינן בעידן דריתחא כשאין לו אלא דשמא היה לו בבית, מש"ה אילו הוי חובת טלית לא הו"ל להמלאך לטעון עליו במה שאינו לובשו]. ד. הבאתי בפנים מתוס' בפסחים קיג ע"ב שמי שאין לו בגד של ד' כנפות יש לו לחזור ולהביא עצמו לידי חיוב, כמו שעשה משה רבינו ע"ה כדאיתא בסוטה יד ע"א שביקש ליכנס לארץ כדי לקיים מצות התלויות בארץ. ונראה דהכא ליכא איסור כלל, שהרי אינו מבקש תחבולות לפטור את עצמו אלא הוא מדת חסידות להכניס עצמו למצב שיהא מחוייב בהמצוה כמו שעשה משרע"ה [וק"ק על האגרו"מ (או"ח ח"ד ס' ד') שהשוה דברי התוס' להא דמלאכא לרב קטינא, דלכאורה לא דק. אמנם באמת יש סתירה בדברי התוס' עצמם שהרי כתבו במנחות דקמיירי בדלית ליה ואעפ"כ ענשינן בעידן דריתחא, וא"כ אמאי כתבו בפסחים שהוא רק בגדר הא דמשה ביקש ליכנס לארץ. ואפשר דדעת התוס' דמי שעומד במצב שהוא פטור אלא שבידו להתחייב עצמו כמו שעשה משה, ולא הכניס את עצמו למצב של חיוב נמי ענשינן בעידן דריתחא, ובזה מיושב גם דברי האגרו"מ שהשוה התוס' בפסחים להא דענשינן בעידן דריתחא וצ"ע]. ויש לעיין בזה, דבשלמא קיום מצות התלויות בארץ שיש בהם תועלת גדולה, שייך חומרא כזה להביא את עצמו לידי חיוב, אבל במצות השמטת כספים או מצות שלוח הקן, או פדיון פטר חמור, או גירושין וכיוצ"ב יש לעיין אם שייך חומרא בזה להביא את עצמו לידי חיוב. ומסתברא שיש לחלק בין מצוה למצוה. ולפמש"כ בשם המרדכי נראה דדוקא במצות גדולות שייך מידת חסידות להכניס עצמו למצב של חיוב כמו מצות התלויות בארץ וכן ציצית ששקולה כנגד כל המצות, אבל בשאר מצות שאין מתן שכרן גלויה לנו, אף ממידת חסידות א"צ להכניס עצמו למצב של חיוב, וצ"ע בזה ואכמ"ל.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bechoros 57b - Issur to use animals without ma'aser b'heima

The Mishna says that chazal established 3 time periods throughout the year when they required everyone to do the ma'aser b'ehima. The way they imposed this requirement was by considering all animals to be like tevel when the time comes until they separate ma'aser be'heima. When the time comes one is not allowed to eat or sell any of the animals just as they aren't allowed to use grains that are tevel until separating terumah and ma'aser. This is a Rabbinic institution of tevel, which implies that m'doraysa there is no prohibition. Rashi writes explicitly that on a Torah level there is no prohibition at all to use or eat animals before ma'aser b'heima has been separated. Rashi implies that on a Torah level the mitzvah of ma'aser be'heima doesn't impose any restrictions against using the animals.
This is very difficult because by using the animals prior to ma'aser be'heima one can essentially be causing a bitul to the entire mitzvah. Let's say one has only 10 animals or 100 animals - by using any of the animals they are causing a bitul of ma'aser be'heima. How can there be no Torah prohibition to use an animal or animals when it can very likely be causing a bitul of the mitzvah? Furthermore, even when there is no bitul mitzvah, it would seem logical to assume that since there is no time limit by which this mitzvah must get done (one cannot mix animals of two years but they aren't required to do ma'aser be'heima by the end of any given year), shouldn't the mitzvah inherently include an issur to use it until the mitzvah is performed? A similar discussion is raised in the context of using a keli without tevilas keilim. Since the Torah demands that one do tevilas keilim, it should be prohibited to use a keli without doing tevila m'd'oraysa. If not, then one can indefinitely push off this mitzvah without ever being in violation of it. The Biur Halahca (323:7) takes for granted the the prohibition to use a keli prior to immersion in a mikvah is only m'drabonon. It would seem more logical to me that this would be an issur d'oraysa because otherwise one can never be considered to have violated or been me'vatel this mitzvah. Even if we assume like the biur halacha that it is only an issur d'rabonon, here by ma'aser be'heima it is worse since the use of it will often cause a complete inability to do the mitzvah later such as in the case where he has a number divisible by 10 so that any animal used will cause a remainder of 9 on which one can't perform this mitzvah.
It seems to me that Rashi is troubled by this question and is therefore compelled to write - 
אבל קודם לכן מותר דמצוה בעלמא הוא לעשר בהמותיו, דהעשירי קודש מאחר שקרא עליו שם, הבל הרשות בידו לאוכלו בלא מעשר
Rashi understands that the mitzvah is not an obligatory mitzvah, just a מצוה בעלמא. It sounds like he is trying to say that this mitzvah isn't an absolute obligation that one is being me'vatel by using the animal, rather it is a mitzvah to do it but not a violation not to do it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Bechoros 53a - Uprooting Ma'aser B'heima

The gemara says that although m'doraysa the mitzvah of ma'aser b'heima applies outside of E.Y. and even without a Beis HaMikdash, the Rabbonon uprooted the mitzvah of ma'aser b'heima. At first the gemara thought that they uprooted it because of a gezeira משום יתום, meaning an animal that is technically not chayev in ma'aser b'heima and would end up being put in the coral for ma'aser b'heima and may end up as a korban. The gemara asks that if that were the concern they should have been concerned even when there was a Beis HaMikdash - אי הכי מעיקרא נמי לא. Therefore the gemara concludes that they abolished the mitzvah of ma'aser b'heima due to a gezeira of תקלה, meaning that people would have animals that have kedusha status sitting around and it would lead to using them in forbidden ways. When there was a Beis HaMikdash the ma'aser b'heima would quickly be brought as a korban so that this wasn't a concern, but post beis hamikdash it is a concern.
The Minchas Chinuch (287) explains this gemara by first establishing a concept. We know from the gemara in Yevamos 90 that chazal are empowered to abolish a positive mitzvah in the Torah if it would lead to a violation of some sort as they did with shofar and lulav on shabbos for concern that one would carry it. The achronim ask why didn't they abolish the mitzvah of shofar out of fear that one will make a musical instrument which certainly seems a more likely concern. They answer that a gezeira that one may make an instrument would apply equally to yom tov as it would to shabbos, therefore they would have to completely abolish the mitzvah of blowing shofar on Rosh Hashana. Although they have the power to abolish a mitzvah for a particular time period, they don't have the authority to do so permanently. Therefore, had they based themselves on a reason that applied to Yom Tov also, they couldn't abolish it even on shabbos. They had to find a reason that only applied to shabbos and not Yom Tov.
The gemara at first suggests that they abolished ma'aser b'heima due to the gezeira of a יתום, that one will bring animals that are technically exempt from ma'aser b'heima. However, this gezeira would apply equally with our without a beis ha'mikdash (actually the concern would even be greater when there was a beis hamikdash and one would end up bringing an animal as a korban that is exempt). The Rabbis couldn't make a gezeira that would eradicate entirely the mitzvah of ma'aser b'heima. This is the gemara's question of אי הכי מעיקרא נמי לא. The gemara doesn't just mean to ask that they should have made the gezeira even when the Beis Hamikdash was standing, but rather the gemara means to say that since the gezeira should apply even when the Beis Hamikdash was standing and they couldn't limit their eradication of the mitzvah, they couldn't make this gezeira at all. They were powerless to make a gezeira that would eradicate the mitzvah under all circumstances. Therefore, the gemara is compelled to say that their motivation was תקלה which was a problem that only exists when there is no beis hamikdash but would disappear with the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash when people will once again have the ability to sacrifice the ma'aser b'heima as a korban.
A question that can still be asked is why weren't they gozer against doing ma'aser b'heima outside of E.Y. even when there was a beis hamikdash, since R. Akiva held that the animals from outside E.Y. couldn't be brought as a korban - the problem of תקלה should apply as much as when there was no beis hamikdash? Perhaps when there was a beis hamikdash people were more familiar with how to treat kodshim animals even outside of E.Y. and therefore the תקלה concern wasn't as much of a concern.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Bechoros 51b - Pidyon HaBen With the Intent of Receiving the Money Back

The gemara tells that R. Tarfon and R. Chanina would often return the money that he received for pidyon ha'ben (the gemara indicates that there is an advantage to this - קיים זה אף הלכה זו. Rabbeinu Gershom explains that the advantage is to publicize that the halacha allows for the money to be returned. This is similar to what the Rosh explains in Pesachim (Perek 1, 10) that there is an advantage to doing things that are not obviously permitted in order to educate people that it is indeed permitted). The gemara then tells of a situation where someone was hanging around R. Chanina after doing pidyon ha'ben and waiting to get his money back. R. Chanina realized that the person didn't give the money whole heartedly and only gave it because he expected it to come right back. R. Chanina told him that the pidyon ha'ben wasn't effective [Rashi has two versions as to whether it is not effective only if it is returned, or even if it isn't returned. Rabbeinu Gershom and Shulchan Aruch (305:8) assume like the first approach of rashi that so long as it isn't returned, the pidyon ha'ben will be effective. Perhaps after R. Chanina would tell him he can't return the money and the giver would accept that, he would be able to return it].
Tosafos asks that the gemara in Kiddushin says that if one would give pidyon ha'ben to the kohein as a gift with the intent of getting it back, it would be effective. This seems to contradict R. Chanina who held that since the person expected it back, it wouldn't be effective. Tosafos answers that had R. Chanina accepted the money with the intent to return it, as the giver had intended, it would be binding. But, since there is a halacha that a kohein isn't allowed to provide incentive to receive pidyon ha'ben (כהן המסייע בבית הגרנות), R. Chanina didn't receive the money with the intent of returning it. Had both the giver and receiver both intended that it should not be returned, or both intended that it should be returned, the pidyon ha'ben would be effective. The problem in the case of the gemara is that the giver intended to receive it back and the receiver received it without the intent of returning it back. Tosafos question seems to assume that the intent to receive it back should be no worse than the explicit condition to receive it back which is effective. 
However, the Gr"a (shulchan aruch 305) points out that according to the Rosh in Succah, Tosafos question doesn't even begin. The Rosh in Succah (3,30) explains that a מתנה על מנת להחזיר is a very specific and rigid agreement that requires a kinyan on the return end as well. It isn't merely an informal assumption that the money will be given back. Therefore, the case of R. Chanina doesn't meet the requirements of a מתנה על מנת להחזיר. When the giver intends to give it for only a short amount of time and then receive it back, it is like a מתנה לזמן, a gift with an expiration date which doesn't qualify as a matana at all and wouldn't work for pidyon ha'ben.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Bechoros 49a - Pidyon Ha'Ben After Death

The Mishna requires one to do pidyon ha'ben to a child who lived passed day 30, but then died. Tosafos questions whether one should make a bracha of shehechiyanu when performing pidyon ha'ben on a dead child. The Birkas Shmuel (Kiddushin #18) points out that the only rationale that Tosafos has not to say Shehechiyanu is that there is pain associated with it due to the child's death, but the implication is that the mitzvah is in full force as if the child was still alive and therefore shehechiyanu may be appropriate. The difficulty with this is that the Rivash explains in a teshuva (131) that the language for the bracha on pidyon ha'ben is "על פדיון הבן" rather than "לפדות". He explains that this fits well with the Rambam (Brachos 11:12) who says that anytime the mitzvah is done for someone else i.e. separating teruma one someone else's grain, or hanging a mezuza in someone else's house, the bracha should be על. Therefore, when one performs pidyon ha'ben for himself, the bracha should be לפדות, but when he performs it for his son, since it is primarily the son's obligation that the Torah requires the father to perfrom, the bracha should be על. The Birkas shmuel asks that the Rambam (11:10) says that shehechiyanu is made when one is doing their mitzvah, not when one is doing the mitzvah of someone else. If we regard pidyon ha'ben as the son's mitzvah, not the father's, hence the bracha is made using the term על, there shouldn't be any shehechiyanu. From Tosafos we find that not only is shehechiyanu made on a standard pidyon ha'ben that the father does for the son, but even after the son dies, the bracha of shehechiyanu is made. It would seem that after the son has died we can no longer say the father is performing the mitzvah for his son, because there is no obligation on a deceased person to do any mitzvah. The fact that the father performs the mitzvah after the son's death and makes the bracha of shehechiyanu, implies that the obligation of the father to redeem his son is primarily the father's own obligation, not merely something the Torah requires him to do for his son. The Birkas Shmuel points out that this directly contradicts the Rivash.
The Birkash Shmuel explains that the obligation for a father to do pidyon ha'ben after his son has died is not to fulfill a mitzvah obligation, rather the debt that was created by the mitzvah before the son had died must still be paid. It is a monetary obligation rather than a mitzvah obligation. However, he suggests that although there is no longer a mitzvah obligation on the father since the son has died (and we are assuming like the Rivash that the primary mitzvah is on the son), there is still a kiyum mitzvah, a fulfillment of a mitzvah that is achieved by the father doing pidyon ha'ben on the deceased son. Now, the bracha of shehechiyanu is different than the bracha of על פדיון הבן in that the bracha of shehechiyanu is on the joy one receives from the opportunity to fulfill a mitzvah. Even on a kiyum mitzvah the bracha of shehechiyanu is appropriate. But a birchas ha'mitzvah is a bracha on the chiyuv, not on the kiyum, as the text of the bracha indicates וצוונו על פדיון הבן. Since the primary chiyuv is on the son, just that until he is 13 the Torah places that obligation on the father to fulfill his son's mitzvah, the language of the bracha is על פדיון הבן since the primary obligation is on the son, not the father. But regarding the shehechiyanu which is on the kiyum ha'mitzvah, the father is certainly fulfilling a mitzvah and can therefore make shehechiyanu. Following this approach it should follow that when a father does pidyon ha'ben after the son had died, since there is a monetary obligation to pay a debt but no longer a mitzvah obligation since the son is dead, there shouldn't be any birchas ha'mitzvah at all. The Birkas Shmuel points out that someone asked him this question, but he was pushed off the question saying that since at some point there was an obligation, even though now it is only a kiyum, the bracha may still be made. But for shehechiyanu, if it were made for a chiyuv mitzvah, it would not be made at all when there is no chiyuv. The fact that Tosafos says it is made after the son's death indicates that it is made for a kiyum mitzvah even when there is no chiyuv.