Tuesday, July 03, 2007

appointing a shliach to fast for you

I am a very poor faster and it is almost inevitable that at some point during this long fast I will be miserably sick. My daughter who is 9 kept saying she wants to fast, so I jokingly told her she could be my shliach and fast for me. I asked my son (who is 13) what is wrong with that sevara – why does shlichus not work for a ta’anis? His answer: the whole point of a fast is to suffer “affliction” (his words, not mine); if someone else fasts for me then they will experience the suffering, not me. Leaving aside whether there is a din of “affliction” by a regular ta’anis, I thought the answer was very Telzer-like: the over-arching reason behind the din drives the sevara to explain the details. Of course, there are far simpler ways to explain why shlichus doesn’t work, and you don’t even need to come on to “mitzvah sheb’gufo”…

9 comments:

  1. Bill Selliger12:36 PM

    Can you keep Shabbos for me this weekend? My grass is getting high.

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  2. Why isn't your son's approach just a typical Brisker sevara - fasting involves a qiyum in the gavra of inuy and is not simply a maaseh.

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  3. I guess you could say it that way, but his focus is too much on the 'why' instead of the simple fact of 2 dinim to be true Brisk.

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  4. Anonymous11:53 PM

    The rabbi is right its a mitzvah in the gavra

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  5. Anonymous1:21 AM

    http://nytimesshorts.feedroom.com/?fr_chl=5ffba501e74c858c758a3b94dfc38a4d706d9777
    this is worthy of an independent post how far away are we from this especially in Lawrence and Woodmere?

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  6. Reb Yehuda Hachasid says that burying and selling Olam Haba is nonsense, but he seems to feel differently regarding taaneisim. But that's not the point here: it is assur to eat. Even if you could hire someone to fast, it would still be assur for you to eat.

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  7. Yes, the simplest sevara is you can't appoint a shliach when you are dealing with an issur (I imagine what threw my son off was the fact that the mitzvah of fasting sounds like an aseh)

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  8. Derech Agav:

    When my children were very young, starting from around five or six years old, I bought a ledger for each of them, and I wrote down the interesting questions and good answers they came up with. When they were old enough, I would give them the book to write down their own little divrei torah. They very much enjoy seeing their divrei torah from their early childhood.

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  9. Barzilai, thanks for the good idea. Maybe I can get them to try

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