Tuesday, June 13, 2006

shlichus for hafrashas challah

One may not appoint a shliach to perform an action that one is excluded by halacha from theoretically performing for oneself. Tosfos (Nazir 12) asks how is it that ‘ma’aseim b’chol yom’, it is common practice for a woman to ask her neighbor to be mafrish challah for her even though she has not yet started to bake – until flour is kneaded into dough there is no chiuyv of challah and hafrasha cannot be done, so how can a women appoint a shliach to do what she herself is halachically excluded from doing? Rabeinu Tam answered that since the woman appointing the shliach can obtain kneaded dough and be mafrish herself, it is ‘b’yada’ to perform the mitzvah and the shlichus is valid. R”T compares this case to being mafrish terumah from harvested grain that fulfills the chiyuv hafrasha on a section of the crop that has not yet been harvested (kiddushin 62) – since it is in the owner’s power (b’yado) to theoretically harvest all the grain immediately, the hafrasha is valid.
Does the proof parallel the case of challah? In the latter case, both the harvested and the unharvested wheat belong to the same owner – the sevara of b’yado simply removes the obstacle of the still growing wheat not yet being chayav yet in hafrasha. The shlichus case involves far more than that. It is not only that the hafrasha is being done for flour, which is not yet chayav, but there is an additional problem of the dough from which the hafrasha is done being owned by someone else. Since it is not b’yado of a person to take his/her neighbor’s dough to do their own hafrashas challah, how can the shliach’s hafrasha using her own dough help the meshaleiach? (Ch HaGRI”Z Nazir 12 leaves this with no answer).


  1. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Maybe since she can buy her neighbor's dough and then do it herself.

  2. Having to go buy it is called mechusar ma'aseh and is not b'yado - Tosfos writes similarly that if she had to mix the flour and water and knead dough from scratch that is not called b'yado because of the intermediary acts required. The b'yado by challah is because she theoretically could have her own batch of dough ready for hafrasha and is just designating the shliach to do the hafrasha from elsewhere. (Yet we see on kiddushin 62 that the not yet harvested wheat is called b'yado and it not considered mechusar ma'aseh? - b'kitzur, the b'yado there is with respect to davar shelo ba l'olam, not dinei shlichus. Tos is making an analogy, but I did not want to get into that point).

  3. Anonymous10:17 AM

    The brother of a friend of mine wanted her to do the hafrashas challah on the matazah he had baked because it is considered a woman's particular mitzvah. At that point, it was baked -- and this was in Israel where there are more stringencies concerning challah, I believe. So I'm wondering if he acted correctly.
    Also given the reasoning of reserving the mitzvah for a woman, should a man knead enough bread, should he have his wife perform the hafrasha? Is it considered his? or could it be considered hers as part of the portion he must provide in her support?

  4. 1) Still applies in E"Y. Mitzva bo yoseir m'bshlucho - if you are the baker, why would you forgo the mitzvah and give it to someone else? Hard to understand someone who is mehader to bake his/her own matzah but then gives up a kiyum d'oraysa. 2) Someone else can be mafrish for you from your dough if you do not know how.

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