Thursday, February 28, 2008

machatzis hashekel and kinyanim by ketanim

Even though women and minors are exempt from machatzis hashekel (as discussed in yesterday’s post), they are permitted to donate if they so choose. The only catch is that the money must be donated to the public; a korban tzibur cannot be bought from money over which an individual retains private rights of ownership. The Minchas Chinuch quotes a question raised by the Sha’ar haMelech and Ktzos (235:4): We are familiar from the laws of sukkos with the din that a katan cannot make kinyanim. One should not give a lulav to a katan on the first day of Yom Tov (before one has fulfilled the mitzvah) because the lulav must be owned (“lachem”) and a katan can acquire the lulav but has no ability to be makneh the lulav back to its adult owner. By that same token, a katan should have no ability to be makneh his own machatzis hashekel to the public!

Perhaps the simplest solution to this question (which the Minchas Chinuch rejects) is to accept that the kinyan of the katan is in fact invalid, but considering that there are thousands of other shekalim in the public store, the few shekalim contributed by ketanim are bateil b’rov. Another possible approach stems from the fact that the Rishonim debate whether the obligation of machatzis hashekel begins from age 13 or from age 20. Perhaps the ketanim spoken of are halachic adults above the age of 13 who have not yet reached the age of 20. The Ketzos denies the whole premis of the question and uses this problem to bolster his contention that a mitzvah d’oraysa can be fulfilled using kinyanim derabbanan. One of the classic cases of this genre is the question of whether kiddushin using a ring purchased though a kinyan derabbanan has any validity on a d’orasya level.


  1. Anonymous7:45 PM

    I would hope so Because most guys Are still "SOMECH AL SHULCHAN AVIV" so everthing they own is their fathers.

  2. Anonymous2:27 AM

    I dont know what the previous point is? I Just heard a great Vort on the Parsha, that I must Share. Why is Aish Chosen To be the Melacha That is stated separately? Simple look around today, you can do all other Melachos through it with the usage of electric.

  3. Who says that electricity has anything to do with aish? If you turn on an electrical appliance (not a light) it is very hard to pin down what issur is involved, and even harder to label it aish on a d'oraysa level.

  4. Anonymous1:31 PM

    See Shulchan Shlomo from Shlomo Zalman Auerbach where he talks about this point and says it is.

  5. Do you have a mareh makom? If I remember correctly, it is R' Shlomo Zalman who takes the position that it is at best a derabbanan, and its not even clear why that is true. He wrote a whole response to the Chazon Ish who claimed electricity is an issur d'oraysa.

  6. Anonymous4:49 PM

    he overwhelming majority conclude that turning on an electric light on Shabbat - an action which heats a metal filament until it glows - violates the biblical prohibition of lighting a flame.4 Some disagree and, based upon the position of Ravad, maintain that while a biblical prohibition is violated, the prohibition is that of cooking (bishul) and not of lighting a flame.

  7. Anonymous7:04 PM

    I checked again over Shabbos Shlomo Zalman says its Aish The Chazon Ish Says Binyan(I figure you got your Opinion from Ribiat 39 Melachos where the footnontes says its the chazon Ish opinion) But I dont Live In Bnei Braq so Aish it is

  8. I don't own the Ribiat book, so your guess is wrong. Anyway, please re-read my original comment:

    "If you turn on an electrical appliance (not a light) it is very hard to pin down what issur is involved"

    I noted lights may be aish, but the question was whether turning on an electrical appliance is considered aish. Remember your original comment was: "you can do all other Melachos through it with the usage of electric." Doing all the other melachos need not entail turning on lights, just running machinary. You owe me a source that R' Shlomo Zalman holds runing an electrical appliance without a light is aish d'oraysa. Where in the Minchas Shlomo did you see that it is?