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1400- Tenaim in Asiyas Hamitzvos – (Klal 68 Siman 5) – Hiddur Mitzvah 5

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1400- Tenaim in Asiyas Hamitzvos - (Klal 68 Siman 5) - Hiddur Mitzvah 5

We are continuing in siman 5, discussing the concept of hiddur mitzvah. The Chayei Adam primarily discusses hiddur mitzvah in regards to financial obligations. However, the concept of hiddur mitzvah also applies to a person’s actions, in regards to how one performs a mitzvah. For example, the halacha is that one should not eat food Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov late in the day in order to enter into the Shabbos/Yom Tov meal with an appetite. This halacha is considered a hiddur mitzvah, because when one eats food and enjoys it, it is considered a hiddur that one enjoys the mitzvah they are doing. 

Another example is the halacha of igud, binding the lulav together with the hadassim and aravos. Binding the three minim together is considered a hiddur mitzvah. Additionally, binding them with a beautiful clasp is considered a hiddur mitzvah.

In general, we find that Klal Yisroel has always strived to perform mitzvos in a beautiful manner, such as using beautiful esrog boxes or beautifying a shul. This concept introduces the question of whether the primary purpose of hiddur mitzvah is to beautify the mitzvah, or whether it is for the person to demonstrate their love and admiration for the mitzvah. We put effort into the ancillary components of the mitzvah, such as the esrog box which holds the item, or a beautiful garment for the mitzvah of tzitzis (where the tzitzis are the primary mitzvah, not the garment into which they are threaded), to express the importance and value of the mitzvah being performed, even if it is not a direct hiddur for the mitzvah per se. We see that hiddur mitzvah is not limited to the mitzvah itself, but to the secondary components as well.

The Brisker Rov famously discusses whether hiddur mitzvah can exist after a mitzvah has been completed. The question comes up regarding bris milah. There is a certain amount of orlah which must be removed in order for the bris to be kosher. Any parts of this minimum amount which are not removed are known as tzitzin she’me’akvin. Once that minimum has been satisfied, it is a hiddur to remove any additional orlah, known as tzitzin she’einan me’akvin. The halacha is that bris milah overrides Shabbos. One would have thought that only the components of the bris which are required would override Shabbos, and tzitzin she’einan me’akvin could not be removed on Shabbos. However, the halacha is that as long as the mohel is still involved in the mitzvah and has not removed his hands, he can cut the tzitzin she’einan me’akvin. Once he has completed the milah, he cannot return and remove them on shabbos. We see from this case that although hiddur is a part of the mitzvah, once a person has completed the mitzvah, extra hiddur is no longer considered a part of the mitzvah. 

We will discuss practical applications of this halacha in the next shiur, be’ezras Hashem.


  • Hiddur mitzvah does not only apply to financial obligations, but to the performance of the mitzvah as well.

  • Hiddur applies not only to the actual mitzvah itself, but even to secondary components which aid the mitzvah (e.g., an esrog box).

  • Hiddur mitzvah does not apply once a mitzvah has been completed.

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