We are continuing in siman 4, discussing the concept of oseik bmitzvah patur min hamitzvah.
We have mentioned that in siman 38, the Shulchan Aruch writes that people writing STA”M are patur from shema, tefillah and other mitzvos. The Shulchan Aruch mentions that people who sell tefillin are also patur from other mitzvos. The Mishnah Berurah qualifies that this halacha only applies when the seller is selling primarily lesheim mitzvah, for the sake of the mitzvah and making tefillin available for those who need it, and money is only secondary. However, if the seller’s primary intent is financial gain, and the mitzvah is a secondary intent, they would not be patur from other mitzvos.
Some poskim suggest that the Mishnah Berurah’s caveat only refers to a person selling tefillin. If a person is writing tefillin, they are patur from other mitzvos even if their primary motive is financial gain, due to the more direct nature of their action.
Finally, oseik bmitzvah patur min hamitzvah does not apply to talmud Torah, in that if a person is learning, they are not patur from other mitzvos. The Gemara in Moed Katan says that if one is learning, and a mitzvah comes their way, if the mitzvah can be done by others (efshar la’asos al yedei acheirim), one should let others do it and continue learning. If the mitzvah cannot be done by others (ee efshar la’asos al yedei acheirim) one interrupts their learning for the mitzvah. Based on the rules of oseik b’mitzvah, one would have thought that a person would never interrupt their learning for another mitzvah, but the Gemara is clear that is not the case.
Various answers are given to understand the difference between talmud torah and other mitzvos. The Gemara says that one of the reasons behind the importance of learning torah is because it brings one to ma’aseh, to do the mitzvos, so it would not make sense that learning would prevent a person from performing a mitzvah. Even if there is someone else who can fulfill the mitzvah, where one continues learning, the reasoning is not the concept of oseik b’mitzvah, but simply that someone else can take care of it.
- People selling STA”M are patur from other mitzvos only when their primary intent is lesheim mitzvah.
- If one’s primary intent is financial gain, it is a questionable whether both a seller and writer are patur, or only a writer.
- Oseik bmitzvah patur min hamitzvah does not apply to talmud torah. If the mitzvah is efshar la’asos al yedei acheirim, one should not stop learning, but if the mitzvah is ee efshar la’asos al yedei acheirim, one should stop learning and perform the mitzvah.