This website is dedicated L’ilui Nishmas R’ Shmuel Yitzchak ben R’ Moshe A”H ר’ שמואל יצחק בן ר’ משה ע”ה

 We are beginning siman 9, which discusses the concept of mitzvos tzrichos kavana. Before we see the language of the Chayei Adam, we will clarify a few points.

The Gemara in Nedarim states from Rav Elazar B’Rav Tzadok that asei devarim l’sheim pa’olan, a person should do mitzvos for the sake of the One who commanded them. In other words, a person should fulfill the mitzvos because Hashem commanded them. The machlokes whether mitzvos tzrichos kavana or not is not a machlokes whether one should have this kavana of asei devarim l’sheim pa’olan in mind, as all agree that lechatchilla one should certainly have this kavana. The machlokes is whether having this kavana is me’akeiv or not. 

The Rambam understands that the source for the chiyuv tefillah is the pasuk u’leovdo b’chol levavchem, and therefore one is chayav to daven, mideoraysa, once per day. In his glosses to Sefer Hamitzvos, the Ramban disagrees, and understands the pasuk of u’leovdo b’chol levavchem to mean that when one serves Hashem through the mitzvos, they should serve Hashem for the sake of the mitzvah. (The Ramban holds there is no chiyuv deoraysa to daven on a regular basis, but only when one experiences tzaar.) According to the Ramban, when a person fulfills a mitzvah for sake of the mitzvah, they fulfill an additional mitzvah asei of u’leovdo b’chol levavchem. If one does not have this kavana, they will not fulfill this mitzvas asei of u’leovdo b’chol levavchem, but they will still fulfill the mitzvah they were performing. However, this point is not our discussion either, as all would agree that once someone is having kavana, they should certainly have kavana for the sake of the mitzvah.

Our discussion regards when one performs a mitzvah, but does not think about the fact that they are performing the mitzvah for the sake of fulfilling the mitzvah. (We are not discussing kabbalistic intentions, but simply having the intention to fulfill the mitzvah.)

For example, the Gemara discusses a person who blows shofar because they enjoy the musical sounds. One opinion in the Gemara is that a person can fulfill their mitzvah through such blowing, because they have fulfilled the requirements. Another opinion in the Gemara is that one is not yotzei, because motivation will determine whether one fulfills their obligation.

 The machlokes in this Gemara appears to be whether it is the action or the intention that is the primary component of the mitzvah. One opinion holds that having the action performed is sufficient, and that is the primary understanding of a mitzvah, i.e., that Hashem wants the action to occur. The other opinion holds that without intention, the action is not considered a mitzvah, as the point of a mitzvah is not the action alone, but the fact that one is using this as a vehicle to serve Hashem. 

The above points of u’leovdo b’chol levavchem and asei devarim l’sheim pa’olan should certainly be fulfilled as well, but our siman will focus on this basic intention. 

Summary

The concept of mitzvos tzrichos kavana refers to having the basic intention to fulfill a mitzvah when performing an action. 

One should always do mitzvos l’sheim mitzvah.

According to the Ramban, one fulfills a separate mitzvas asei by having this kavana, besides the mitzvah which one is acting upon.

 

 We are continuing in siman 8, which discusses the concept of hamaschil b’mitzvah omrim lo g’mor, that a person should not stop in the middle of a mitzvah but should complete it. We left off pointing out that there is no explicit halachic discussion in the Gemara about this concept, only an aggadic discussion. However, the Gra suggests a source. 

In siman 581, the Rema writes that whoever davens selichos for the amud should daven shacharis and mincha as well on that day. The Magen Avraham explains that the reason for this minhag is due to the concept of hamaschil b’mitzvah omrim lo g’mor. The Gra points out that there is a Gemara in Brachos 43a which appears to support this concept. The Gemara there states that when a group of people wished to drink wine, if the group had not yet begun eating, one person would make a bracha to exempt everyone else. (However, during the meal itself, every person would make the bracha themselves. If one person is being motzi others, we are concerned that when the listener needs to recite amen, they will choke while trying to respond.) The Gemara continues, and says that if the group had one person make the bracha on wine for everyone, that person should make the bracha on the mugmar, which was a nice-smelling collection of incense burnt after a meal. The Gra suggests that the reason for this halacha is due to our concept of hamaschil b’mitzvah omrim lo g’mor. 

 Another example of this concept is that the person who blows the tekiyos d’meumad, the tekiyos blown before shemoneh esrei, should blow the tekiyos d’meyushav, the tekiyos blown after shemoneh esrei.

It is brought down that when Rav Chaim Brisker would receive a Sefer Torah for a hakafa on Simchas Torah, he would hold onto it for the entire hakafa, due to our concept of hamaschil b’mitzvah omrim lo g’mor. 

Our minhag is not do so. The sefer Binyan Shlomo writes that when the tekiyos were initially divided between two people, such that one person will blow the tekiyos d’meumad and another will blow the tekiyos d’meyushav, the concept of hamaschil b’mitzvah does not apply, because each person fulfilled his full mitzvah as it was given to him. We could apply this concept to hakafos as well.

 There are a few Gemaras which seem to indicate that if one sets up initially to divide a mitzvah, there is no issue of hamaschil b’mitzvah. For example, the mishnayos in Yoma discuss how the kohanim would divide certain jobs of the korban tamid, even though technically one person could do the entire avodah. The Gemara discusses how one group of kohanim would bring the parts of the korban to the bottom of the mizbeach, and others would bring them to the fire on top. There is no issue of hamaschil b’mitzvah because each kohen was initially only given a specific part of the mitzvah, so each kohen fulfilled their entire mitzvah as it was given to them. 

Rav Chaim Kanievsky ztl writes that if one begins a masechta, they should finish it as well, due to this concept. 

Summary

The concept of hamaschil b’mitzvah can be applied to blowing all of the tekiyos on Rosh Hashanah, or holding onto a Sefer Torah for the entirety of a hakafa. However, if the mitzvah is initially set up in a way that it will be divided between multiple people, there is no issue of hamaschil b’mitzvah, because the part of the mitzvah given to each individual is considered their entire mitzvah.

 

We are beginning siman 8, which discusses the concept of hamaschil b’mitzvah omrim lo g’mor, that a person should not stop in the middle of a mitzvah, but should complete it. The Chayei Adam brings a source to this concept from the beginning of Parshas Eikev, where the Torah says kol hamitzvah . . . tishmerun la’asos (Devarim 8:8). Rashi on this pasuk quotes the midrash which teaches that if a person begins a mitzvah, they should complete it in entirety. 

The Chayei Adam continues, and quotes the Midrash Tanchuma on Parshas Eikev, which says that if a person begins a mitzvah and willingly stops in the middle, they will bury their wife and children. The Midrash understands that this is what happened to Yehuda. Yehuda began the mitzvah of saving Yosef by convincing his brothers not to kill Yosef, but did not finish it, because he did not return Yosef home to Yaakov. The Midrash understands that he was punished for not finishing the mitzvah by losing his wife and two older children. However, the Chayei Adam clarifies that if a person does not finish a mitzvah due to oneiss (circumstances which were not his fault), not only does Hashem not punish the person, but considers it as though he did finish the mitzvah.

 

We need to clarify this point. The Gemara in Sotah says that the pasuk at the end of Sefer Yehoshua credits B’nei Yisroel with taking Yosef’s bones out of Mitzrayim. The Gemara questions that Moshe was the one who brought Yosef’s bones out of Mitzrayim, and explains that since Moshe did not finish the mitzvah, the mitzvah is not called in his name. Since B’nei Yisroel finished the mitzvah, they received the credit for it. The Chayei Adam’s point that when someone is an oneiss they still receive credit for the mitzvah would appear to go against this Gemara.

 

It seems that the Chayei Adam understands there are three levels of not completing a mitzvah. One level is when the oneiss is so compelling, it is as if you completed the mitzvah. A second level is when a person’s negligence causes them to be unable to complete the mitzvah, so they are not punished, but do not receive reward for it. The third level is where there was significant negligence on a person’s part, so they are punished. 

 

There are no Gemaras which discuss this concept in a halachic sense. We have the Midrash Tanchuma and Gemara Sotah quoted above, which discuss the punishment for one who does not complete a mitzvah, but no apparent source in context of a halachic discussion of how to properly complete a mitzvah.

The Gra suggests a source in the Gemara which we will discuss tomorrow, be’ezras Hashem.

 

The Mesillas Yesharim discusses this concept in regards to zrizus for a mitzvah. He writes that in the same way one needs zrizus to start a mitzvah, to ensure they do not lose the opportunity to begin it, one needs zrizus to complete it, in order to fulfill this concept. 

 

Summary

Hamaschil b’mitzvah omrim lo g’mor is the concept that one should finish a mitzvah they have started. If one does not finish the mitzvah:

 

  1. If they were completely an oneiss, they receive credit as though they completed it

  2. If they were somewhat negligent, they do not receive credit, but are not punished.

  3. If they were significantly negligent, they will be punished by losing their wife and children, r”l.

 We are continuing in siman 7, which discusses the concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. We left off discussing the case of the Tevuas Shor, regarding whether one can be mechabed someone else to perform a mitzvah which is incumbent upon themselves. In Yoreh Deah, siman 28, he discusses the question as it regards kisui hadam, but it would apply to other mitzvos as well, such as being mechabed someone else to perform a bris, even though the father is qualified to perform it. The Tevuas Shor explains that if we understand that the purpose of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho is to give kavod to the mitzvah, one could argue that greater kavod comes to the mitzvah by giving it to a talmid chochom or otherwise more qualified individual. The baal hamitzvah is not shirking their responsibility, but finding the more appropriate way to fulfill their obligation. 

The Tevuas Shor’s idea leads us to discuss what precisely is the logic behind mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. Rashi, in Kiddushin 44a, writes that the logic is that when a person performs a mitzvah with their own body, they receive more reward. Rashi would appear to understand the concept along the lines of lefum tza’ara agra, that the more effort one invests in a mitzvah, the more reward they receive. Although we do not perform mitzvos for the purpose of their reward, the reward can be an indication of the level of the mitzvah. 

 On the other hand, the Rambam brings down this concept regarding the amoraim who would prepare for Shabbos themselves (see shiur 1407), and writes that the logic behind their actions was kavod Shabbos. According to the Rambam, if it is only a logic in kavod Shabbos, the amoraim’s actions do not necessarily indicate mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho, they just stress the importance of kavod Shabbos. On the other hand, if that is the case, how could the Gemara bring the amoraim as a proof to the concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. 

The Brisker Rov explains that the Rambam’s point is that we see from the Gemara that there is a greater kavod expressed when a person does something themselves rather than through a shliach. Thus, the amoraim serve as both a proof to the importance of kavod Shabbos, and to the concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. We see that the underlying idea behind mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho is giving kavod to the mitzvah, which would seem to support the opinion of the Tevuas Shor above. 

 The Brisker Rov continues, and writes that the difference between the opinions of Rashi and the Rambam/Tevuas Shor would be hechsher mitzvah, the preparations put into the mitzvah. According to Rashi, if the logic behind mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho is to receive more reward, mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho would apply to the performance of hechsher mitzvah as well. According to the Rambam, if the logic is demonstrating kavod for the mitzvah, mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho would only apply to the mitzvah itself, and not to the hechsher mitzvah. 

 The Brisker Rav uses this differentiation to explain another machlokes Rambam and other rishonim related to this topic. The Gemara uses mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho to explain why a person should preferably perform kiddushin no themselves and not through a shliach. The Rishonim debate what is the mitzvah involved in kiddushin which is being discussed. The Ran holds the mitzvah is pru urvu, and explains that the mitzvah to which the Gemara refers is actually the hechsher mitzvah. The Ran fits with Rashi’s opinion that mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho applies even to a hechsher mitzvah. 

The Rambam’s opinion is that there is an independent mitzvah in the Torah to perform kiddushin. This fits very well with his opinion over here that the logic behind mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho is kavod, so it does not apply to hechsher mitzvah. However, his opinion does not conflict with the Gemara about performing kiddushin, because he holds kiddushin in a mitzvah. 

 According to the Rambam, the hiddur of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho as it applies to kiddushin does not only apply to the man, but to the woman as well.   

 Summary

There are two ways to understand the logic behind mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. Rashi understands it is to increase reward for the mitzvah. The Rambam understands it is to show kavod for the mitzvah. 

According to the Rambam, it comes out that when more kavod will be shown by honoring another with the mitzvah, it would be more appropriate to do so. The minhag is share the honor of a mitzvah. 

According to the Rambam, it does not apply to hechsher mitzvah, while according to Rashi it does.

 

 We are continuing in siman 7, which discusses the concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. Today, we will discuss an important application of this concept.

 The sefer Olas Shabbos discusses whether multiple people eating a shabbos seudah together should each preferably make kiddush on their own, or whether one person should make kiddush for everyone. The Olas Shabbos writes that each individual should make their own kiddush, due to the concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. This is the minhag of many chassidim. According to this thought process, it is not clear why women do not make their own kiddush either, because they are equally chayav in kiddush as men. Some suggest that regarding a husband and wife, ishto kegufo (the halachic concept that husband and wife are considered one entity) makes it that a husband making kiddush for his wife is not just her shliach, but as if she were making kiddush herself, so it would be unnecessary for her to make her own kiddush. However, this suggestion does not explain why daughters or other single women would not make kiddush.

The sefer Tosfos Shabbos disagrees with the Olas Shabbos. He explains that when one is motzi others with kiddush, the others fulfill their obligation through shome’ah k’oneh. Shomeiah k’oneh is not shlichus. Rather, when the listener engages in listening, it has the halachic equivalence of speech (see more in shiurim 1210, 1211, 1234). If so, having someone else recite kiddush is not shlichus–to which one may argue that mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho should enjoin one to make their own kiddush–but rather the listener effectively reciting kiddush themselves. This being the case, there is no halachic concern for mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. On the other hand, the hiddur of b’rov am hadras melech would enjoin us that one person reciting kiddush on behalf of everyone would actually be preferable. This is the minhag of bnei yeshiva.

 There are situations in which a person would like to be mechabed someone else to perform a mitzvah which is incumbent upon them. The Tevuas Shor discusses a situation in which one slaughtered a kosher bird or domesticated animal, and wants to be mechabed someone else to perform kisui hadam. Although the mitzvah is primarily the zechus of the one who performed the shechita, the Tevuas Shor writes that there would often be a guest talmid chochom present, and the minhag was to invite the guest to perform the kisui hadam. We will clarify this tomorrow, be’ezras Hashem. 

Summary

A potential application of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho regards kiddush. The argument can be made that every person should make their own kiddush, due to the concept of mitzva bo yoser mi’bishlucho. Chassidishe poskim follow this opinion. 

Others hold that shomeiah k’oneh alleviates the issue of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho, and b’rov am hadras melech would enjoin that one person should make kiddush for everyone. Litvishe poskim follow this opinion.

 

 We are continuing in siman 7, which discusses the concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. We will discuss some points raised by the sefer Nasiach Bechukecha. 

We have a rule in the Torah that shlucho shel adam kemoso, a shliach has the same halachic status as the person performing a mitzvah themselves. If a shliach has the same status as the person themselves, how do we know that it is preferable that a person perform the mitzvah themselves? 

The Gemara does not bring a source. Rashi appears to understand that it is a sevara. Rashi writes that a person doing a mitzvah themselves physically involves their body, so one is more directly involved in the mitzvah. 

Nasiach Bechukecha brings a possible source. We have learned (shiur 1402) that the concept of zrizin makdimin is learned from Avraham Avinu, who, in preparation for Akeidas Yitzchak, rose early to prepare for the mitzvah. The pasuk continues, and says vayachavosh es chamoro, that Avraham himself saddled his donkey. Rashi points out that he did it himself, rather than have others prepare it. Nasiach Bechukecha suggests that the same way the beginning of the pasuk teaches us the concept of zrizin makdimin, the continuation of the pasuk also teaches us something, namely this concept of mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho. 

Nasiach Bechukecha, continues, and writes that if the two concepts are learned from the same pasuk, it is hard to say that one hiddur would take precedence over the other. This thought would answer the question we left off with yesterday, regarding a conflict between mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho and other forms of hiddur. 

 He brings from Rav Asher Weiss shlita that the  answer to this question may depend on the type of mitzvah in question. If the point of the mitzvah is the action, it may be better to do it oneself. If the point is the outcome, if appointing a shliach will lead to a nicer outcome, it may be preferable to hire someone else. For example, the purpose of the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah is for the result of having a Sefer Torah, rather than the action of writing it, so appointing a shliach with more beautiful handwriting would precede the hiddur to mitzva bo yoser m’shlucho.

We learned that the amoraim were makpid to perform a component of the preparations for Shabbos by themselves, rather than leave them to the members of their household. It is clear from the Gemara that they did not do all of the preparations for Shabbos, but did one thing and then left the remainder to a shliach. The Biur Halacha (siman 240) asks why they limited themselves to only one preparation, and answers that they were certainly busy with learning Torah, so they would perform one preparation and return to their learning. However, we know that when it comes to limmud hatorah, one only stops learning to perform a mitzvah which cannot be fulfilled by others. The fact that they allowed the rest of their Shabbos preparations to be done through a shliach demonstrates that all the Shabbos preparations could be fulfilled by others. If so, why were they makpid to do even one preparation? 

The Shaar Hatziyun gives two answers. First, he says that the mitzvah of kavod Shabbos is for an individual to demonstrate kavod for shabbos. This mitzvah cannot be expressed through a shliach, because it is on every individual to demonstrate kavod.

The second answer he gives is that maybe kavod shabbos is unique, in that the very mitzvah is to express that one is willing to personally show kavod for Shabbos. In other words, the method through which one demonstrates kavod Shabbos is by personally doing actions for the sake of Shabbos, even if they could have been done by others and even if the person is not technically chayav to perform those actions. Thus, an individual cannot show kavod Shabbos through a shliach, because they completely miss out on the point of kavod Shabbos by doing so

This answer explains why the amoraim would only do one preparation, and leave the rest to their family. Since the mitzvah is to personally demonstrate kavod, once they have demonstrated it with even one preparation, they have fulfilled their obligation, so they went back to their learning and left the rest to others who could fulfill it just as well.

Summary

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. 

It is not clear what one should do in a conflict between mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho and other forms of hiddur. One suggestion is that if the purpose of the mitzvah is the action of performing the mitzvah, mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho would take precedence. If the purpose of the mitzvah is the resulting action, other forms of hiddur would take precedence to mitzvah bo yoser m’shlucho if the result would be a greater hiddur.

 

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