Monday, December 14, 2009

R' Shimon Shkop on ain issur chal al issur (II)

Last week I posted a question of the Sha'ar HaMelech to which R' Unterman, in an article in the Sefer haYovel for R' Shimon Shlop, found R' Shimon's answer so compelling that he and other talmidim were completely taken by R' Shimon's derech. I'm not going to rewrite the whole kashe -- here is a link. We left off as follows: If a shevua on chatzei shiur is chal on top of the issur neveilah because it adds the potential for malkos for eating a smaller shiur than a k'zayis, why is the issur neveilah not chal on top of the issur achila of Yom Kippur -- the issur achila on Yom Kippur is on a k'koseves, but neveilah adds malkos for a smaller shiur of k'zayis?

As I predicted, the Brisker answers are first out of the gate with a gavra/cheftza chiluk. The issur shevua is chal because a shevua is an issur gavra, as opposed to neveilah which is an issur cheftza; Yom Kippur and neveilah are both categorically identical issurei cheftza. I don't want to get too bogged down in a discussion of this sevara, but there is certainly room to debate whether the issur of food on Yom Kippur, which is only for one day, can really be called an issur cheftza (see R' Yosef Engel in Esvan D'Oraysa regarding issurei zman). And the sevara begs the question: why can categorically different issurim be chal when these categories make no practical difference in terms of what the person may or may not do?

R' Shimon took a different approach. Even if two issurim have different shiurim, they cannot overlap. Since chatzi shiur asra torah, the smallest piece of neveilah is already prohibited because all food in any shiur may not be eaten on Yom Kippur. Why then is the issur of chatzi shiur chal because of shevua when chatzi shiur of neveilah is already assur? Because in that case the consumption of the food per se is not the sibas ha'issur -- the sibas ha'issur, the root cause of the law, stems from the violation of one's oath that the eating demonstrates.

You can see the difference between R' Shimon's approach and a Brisker approach. R' Shimon is less concerned with categories, and more willing to speculate on the why, or the root cause of issurim. R' Yosef Engel has a whole essay on differences between kamus and eichus and one can easily see that distinction working here almost as a middle ground between R' Shimon and Brisk: the issurim of neveilah and Yom Kippur are different in kamus, while shevua is different in eichus.

Parenthetically, in the past I've made reference before to R' Shimon's first shiur on Nedarim in the chiddushim in which he attempts to distinguish between issurei gavra and cheftza (I'm not aware of any Brisker-authored attempts to define the terms that they helped make popular). Interestingly, R' Unterman references this specific shiur in his essay and remarks that the talmidim were not at all taken by R' Shimon's approach.


  1. anon11:09 PM


    I think there are a number of sources that make it clear that the issur achilah on YK is an issur gavra (for the reasons you wrote)-- tosfos in gittin 7a, but also the mishnayos in kerisus on issur chal al issur (whether YK is an issur kolel or issur mosif) also strongly imply that YK is an issur gavra, not cheftza.

    Re: the brisk/R'Shimon difference, I think ultimately they are getting to a similar (If not same) place but using different words. When I say that one is an issur gavra and one is an issur cheftza, I am saying that the source of the issur is different. Not in this case specifically but R'Shimon is just terming it as the sibas ha-issur but it really is another category. If as a brisker I say that one is an issur achilah and the other is an issur for chiluf devarav, I'm using categories but making the same point.

    Even R'Shimon (Shkopp) would have to be modeh on some level that he is just focused on the what (i.e. hagdarah of the mitzvah/din) and not the why, because he can't change that we usually don't pasken like R'Shimon (the tanna) who holds darshenan taama dekra. R'Shimon Shkopp may blur lines a little but again ultimately we do not assume darshenan taama dekra.

  2. >>>I think ultimately they are getting to a similar (If not same) place but using different words.

    In a bio of R' Baruch Ber (I can't recall the title) there is a story of a talmid who heard a shiur with a gavra/cheftza split, or some other Brisker sevara, from R' B.B. The talmid told R' B.B. that he heard the same shtickel from R' Shimon Shkop and then proceded to say over the same torah using R' Shimon's "sibas ha'isur" lingo. He couldn't even finish before R' B.B. started screaming that it's not the same. But Rebbe, asked the talmid, it's the same sevara just in different words? To which R' B.B. replied that if he thinks so it shows that he does not understand the shiur at all. Make of that what you will.

    Re; darshinan ta'ama d'kra, funny you should mention that because in one of the essays in the sefer hayovel someone wrote that their R' Shimon (Shkop) is just like R' Shimon who held you could be doreish ta'ama d'kra. I think that was obviously meant in a stylistic vein and not in the technical halachic sense, but you see that there was a sense that R' Shimon was concerned with drilling down into the philosophy behind the halacha far more than Brisk.

    That either makes it more or less enjoyable depending on your taste : )

  3. anon11:03 PM

    I can't say what it says about me but I remember particular sugya when I saw a sevara in a Rabi Akiva Eiger and then later saw what I basically believed to be the same sevara in the Griz -- and it made me happy, and ultimately I understood the sugya better. To me, the important point (often at least) is not the difference the way that the Briskers versus R'Shimon would formulate it -- the formulations are just tools to understand what is really going on the sugya. Seeing the common denominator between them allows one (I think) to more fully understand the sugya and hopefully the amitah shel Torah. Kach nireh li ha-katan

  4. Anonymous7:59 AM

    you asked on brisker approach why can categorically dif. issurim be chal when theres no difference in what he may or may not do.
    why isnt that a Q also on r shimon. who cares why its assur, as long as its already assur it shouldnt be chal?