We are beginning siman 7, which discusses the concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho, that if a person has the option to perform a mitzvah through their own effort, or to have a shliach (proxy) perform it, it is preferable that the mitzvah be performed by the person himself. Even though the mitzvah is kosher when fulfilled through a shliach, there is a benefit to performing it by oneself.
The Gemara discusses this concept regarding kiddushin. The Gemara says that a person can perform kiddushin through a shliach (such as if the woman is not currently in the same town) but that it is preferable to perform the kiddushin oneself. The Gemara continues, and gives examples of amoraim who were makpid to perform components of the preparations for Shabbos by themselves, rather than leave them to the members of their household, because of this concept.
The Chayei Adam discusses conflicts between mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho and other elements of hiddur. He begins with a situation in which one has the choice of having a professional perform a mitzvah for them with greater hiddur, or them doing it themselves with an amateur result. For example, a person who is knowledgeable enough to write a sefer torah, but does not have such pretty handwriting. The torah will be kosher, because he knows the halachos, but the writing will not be so beautiful. On the other hand, if he hires a professional sofer, he will not have done it himself, but the sefer torah will be more beautiful. The Chayei Adam leaves the question in doubt, and suggests looking in the Teshuvos Mabit for further discussion.
Another potential conflict is between mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho and zrizin makdimin. The Pri Megadim discusses this question at the end of hilchos Yom Kippur, where the halacha is brought that it is preferable to begin building the sukkah immediately after Yom Kippur. In a situation where a person is unable to personally begin building their sukkah immediately after Yom Kippur, but could appoint a shilach to do so, they will gain the hiddur of zrizin makdimin but lose on mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. The Pri Megadim is of the opinion that zrizin makdimin would take precedence over mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. We will discuss this question further in the next shiur, be’ezras Hashem.
Mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho is the concept that a component of hiddur mitzvah is to perform a mitzvah by oneself, rather than through a shliach.