Monday, March 22, 2010

she'hechiyanu on bedikas chameitz

The korban Pesach was taken on the 10th of Nissan, but the command to take it was given immediately after Moshe was told “hachodesh ha’zeh lachem”, on Rosh Chodesh. The Shem m’Shmuel explains that this 10 day delay between the tzivuy and its performance corresponds to the aseres y’mei tshuvah of Tishrei. Just as the days between Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur are days of intense spiritual preparation, so too are these days of Chodesh Nissan. We’re more than half way through!

Some food for thought to start the week: The Tur quotes the opinion of the Ba’al haIttur that a bracha of she’hechiyanu should be recited on bedikas chameitz just like it is recited over any mitzvah that comes at some infrequent time interval, e.g. ner Chanukah, megilas esther, lulav, shofar, etc. The Tur disagrees, though he writes that if one wants to recite the bracha one may do so b’toras reshus.

Why does the Tur take issue with the Ba’al haIttur? Some poskim write that we are yotzei our requirement to recite she’hechiyanu on matzah, marror, and the other mitzvos of leil haseder with the one she’hechiyanu we recite over the Yom Tov. Similarly, on Purim we recite one she’hechiyanu at the time of krias ha’megillah and have in mind that it applies to mishloach manos, seudah, and matanos la’evyonim. Perhaps that one she’hechiyanu of leil haseder applies as well to the mitzvah of eliminating the chameitz for the sake of the chag.

The Tur, however, offers another explanation for why the Ittur is wrong. The Ba’al haIttur assumes that bedikas chameitz is not the sort of mitzvah that comes along every day – it has one designated time, once a year, when it can be fulfilled. But this is not the case. If someone was planning to leave today to their hotel in the Cancun, they would have had to have done bedikas chameitz last night. If someone is leaving tomorrow, their bedikas chameitz has to be done tonight. In theory, according to some Rishonim, you could have to do bedikas chameitz Chanukah time, or even at Rosh haShana, depending on your travel itinerary (those of us staying home have no such headaches : ) So in reality bedikas chameitz is not at all like lulav or shofar or ner chanukah, mitzvos d’asi m’zman l’zman, mitzvos that come along once a year – it is a mitzvah that can be done just about any day you like.

What is the point of disagreement between the Tur and the Ba’al haIttur? Aside from the Tur, is there any other reason you can think of for not saying a she’hechiyanu on bedikas chameitz?


  1. Not sure that I get the Tur's logic -- even if the start time is earlier than the 14th of Nissan, it still is mizman lezman as it will come no more frequently than once a year.

    As for another reason, many rishonim assume that you only make a shehechiyanu on a mitzvah where there is some aspect of simchah to it - it is not so pashut that there is simcha here that warrants making a shehechiyanu

  2. l'chorah the Bal HaItur learns there is only one m'chayav. The chiyuv comes along once a year. Whether you hav emultiple days to do it is irrelevent.

  3. I'm surprised you wrote that matanas l'evyonim is a mitzva requiring shehechiyanu - tzedaka is a permanent chiyuv, so there must be a different way to learn how the bracha works and what causes it to be said... I can't fathom how though :)

  4. It's a kiyum of tzedaka, but an independent chiyuv with its own parameters. IIRC the Pri Megadim has a safeik if you are yotzei matanos la'evyonim with a matanah al menas l'hachzir -- you certainly are not yotzei tzedaka that way.

  5. Anonymous12:11 AM

    Here is a great Question I just heard What happens if you sell real Chametz and it burns on Pesach can ou collect the Insurance can you daven for the Warehouse not to burn down you a Roitzeh Bikumo?