Monday, May 03, 2010

the aseh of shemita - zman gerama?

Why according to the Chinuch are women obligated in the mitzvas aseh of shemitah (shnas shabason…) when it is zman gerama? As we once discussed (link), some Rishonim (see Tosfos Kiddushin 34a, Ramban) treat the case of an aseh which coincides with a lav as different than a regular aseh. Since women are obligated to keep the lav, the aseh tags along even though it is zman gerama. With respect to shemita, since women are obligated to keep the lav of not working the field, they are also obligated in the aseh as well.

The Ritva distinguishes between two types of mitzvos. The exemption of zman gerama applies where the mitzvah demands some act on the part of the individual, a chovas hagavra. However, where the mitzvah relates to the object instead of the person there is no zman gerama exemption. According to the Ritva the gemara does not classify milah as zman gerama mitzvah (See Tos Kiddushin 29) because the purpose of the mitzvah is to bring the child into the state of being nimol, not the actual act of cutting off the orlah.

The Minchas Chinuch applies the logic of the Ritva to shemita. The aseh of shemita is not a chovas hagavra on the individual, but is din in the land, i.e. the land must be given a year of rest. Therefore, women as well as men are obligated.

A number of other interesting conclusions follow from this chiddush. 1) If one asks an aku”m to work the land during shemita, one is not merely in violation of an issur derabbanan of amira l’aku”m, as on Shabbos, but rather one is in violation of the issur d’oraysa of shabason. Since the focus of the mitzvah is the land, not the farmer, causing the land to be disturned by work violates this aseh. 2) The M.C. further debates whether the aseh would be violated if one planted seed just before shemita and that seed took root on shemita. While no actual work was done during shemita in this case, there was an effect produced on the land.

My son asked me recently why we need a gezeiras hakasuv (see Shavuos 15b) to teach us that the beis hamikdash cannot be built on Shabbos or Yom Tov – since binyan mikdash is an aseh and yom yov is an aseh and a lav, the standard rule that ain aseh doche lo ta’aseh v’aseh should apply. A simple answer is that without the gezeiras hakasuv you might have thought that just like korbanos are doche shabbos and yom tov, the building of the mikdash itself should be doche yom tov. Also, it also does not seem from the gemara that all the amoraim agree that there is in fact an aseh associated with yom tov. I prefer a more lomdish answer. Perhaps the chiddush here is that the issur of building is not just a din in shabbos or yom tov, but is a din in the mitzvah of binyan mikdash. A nafka minah would be in a case where an aku”m is asked to do the building: if the issur were a regular hilchos shabbos din based on ain aseh doche lo ta’aseh v’aseh, then we would be dealing with a standard issur derabbanan of amira l’aku”m; however, if the issur is a din in binyan mikdash, meaning the mikdahs is precluded from being built on yom tov or shabbos, then the work of the aku”m would be an issur d’oraysa, similar to the sevara of the Minchas Chinuch with respect to shemita.


  1. Anonymous11:25 PM

    i thought the gemara in yevamos says if not for this gzaras hakatuv i would think aseh is doche and therefore we need alehah

  2. Re: the MC's chiddush, a number of achronim disagree and never thought that the ritva meant his chiddush to apply to something like shmeitah -- rather he was saying that the mitzvah of milah is fundamentally the child's -- it is just extended to the mother (as it is to beis din) to perform.

    Re: shmitah itself, to me the simpler answer is the view of the Pnei Yehoshua in Beitzah and the Keren Orah in menachos who explain that the rule of MASZ"G as a petur for women is only for mitzvos that are kum va-asey but for shev ve-al taaseh they are chayavos (e.g., the iyunim on YK that are not with a lav only an aseh, i.e., those other than achilah/shesiya, women are chayavos even though it is a mitzvas asey shehazeman gerama). This would answer the MC's question by shmitah and shevisas behemto (where he also applies the MC's chiddush).

    Re: the binyan beis hamikdash, the pashtus, I thought (and I think others before me have said this), that the gemara is teaching you that the melachos you need to build the mikdash are the ones that would cause a chilul/shabbos yom tov. I.e., this is more definitional about shabbos/yom tov than the mechanics of why not the mikdash.

    I believe the meshech chochma either in Ki Sisa or Vayakhel discusses why korbanos are docheh shabbos but building the mikdash is not.

  3. I should have gone through the sugya more carefully before posting. The gemara actually ends up (Yevamos 6) by saying that you don't need the derasha for the issur of binyan on shabbos -- you need the smichus haparshiyos to teach that morah mikdash does not mean fear of the physical building, but rather fear of Hashem who commanded to observe the Shabbos and build a mishkan. You learn ain aseh doche l"t v'aseh from elsewhere. Problem is that Rashi in two places quotes the derasha as ain binyan mikdash doche shabbos.

    Anon1 - I like the issur aseh idea. Just wondering if there is a way to prove that it is in fact that and not a kum v'aseh, like the aseh of shabbos which it seems to parallel.

  4. Anonymous12:15 AM

    while your on the topic of the gemara in yevamos, ill ask a shayloh sheain alov teshuvah: gm there in yevamos says binyan beis etc if not for the pasuk it'd be doche and thats why you need alehah. gm says no, really the pasuk is for mora mikdash. now, in this weeks parsha,last pasuk in behar, is the second time we have the same exact pasuk as in parshas kedoshim. if so, we have an extra pasuk. let us say one is for mora mikdash and the other is that ain binyan etc, ha lav haci dachi and thats why you need aleah. mamash a kasha on 5 daf of gm from daf gimmel and onwards!!! now the ibn exra and mesech chacmah say that this weeks pasuk is a remez to shmita and yovel. mikdashi is yovel b/c thats when its noheg (not like tabenu tam in gitin) and shabsoshi is shmita. but lmaseh that shouldnt be enough to answer b.c thats just remez. pashut pshat is def referring to mikdash and shabbos. another possible answer would be one pasuk is referring to mikdash and one referring to mishkan. but that too is difficult to say for a number of reasons. imho this is a very good kasha. try it out by the shabbos table. ask your friends, rabbeim. get back to me. i dont think anyones ever asked it before. if someone finds the kasha in a sefer id be ecstatic.

  5. anon19:16 AM


    why do you assume that the aseh of shabbos is kum va-asey? I would think it is pretty clear that the asey of "shabason" or "tishbos" is shev ve-al taaseh and that women are chayavos in the aseh for one of three reasons:

    1. The sevara of the PY/KO that I cited.

    2. Somehow the zachor/shamor hekesh works for everything related to shabbos (I think there may be an Avnei Nezer on that point)

    3. Based on the tosofos in kiddushin and rishonim elsewhere that the aseh and the lav of melacha go together.

    But in any event, the aseh by shmitah seems to be shev ve-al taaseh. What do you think? thanks

  6. Yes, it does seem to be shev v'al ta'aseh by shemita. But doesn't the aseh of shabbos entail more than just avoiding melacha? You have to make the day special in some way.

    Anonymous, aren't you asking along the same lines as the Aruch laNer in Yevamos 6 (but he asks it on the pesukim in Ki Tisa and VaYakhel)? He tries to say you need a limud for mikdash and mishkan. I gave up reading it after a few minutes last night as he moves through twists and turns to defend his sevara against lots of problems. I don't have a good answer unfortunately : (

  7. Anonymous12:13 AM

    Chaim, I remember being in Ledermans shul in bnei brak getting ready to ask rav C.K this kasha, but then looking up the aruch lner and deciding not to ask him. however if i remember correctly, like you said, he doesnt address the question directly and i remember concluding that his answer would not work for my shyloh. maybe off hand b.c im asking from two different psukim then he asked from. in any case, i believe it is difficult in any circumstance to make a distinction between mishkan and mikdash see tos. sotah 16A. maybe ask your son the kasha, let me know if he likes it.

  8. anon18:47 AM

    While the mitzovs of zachor es yom ha-shabbos (in a more expanded view like the Ramban) and kavod and oneg shabbos require you to make shabbos special, I think the asey of tishbos or shabason is simply refraining from melacha. I once heard in the name of RRosensweig a longer mehalech explaining how that IS the theme of shabbos -- though kavod and oneg etc etc are important, the real focus should be on our refraining from melacha and the message that represents.

  9. >>>maybe ask your son the kasha, let me know if he likes it.

    My son already asked me the kashe, and I pointed him to the Aruch laNer. He so far has withstood my attempts to get him to learn Yevamos (maybe next year when his yeshiva learns a nashim masechta, I think kiddushin), so neither one of us is holding in the sugya.

  10. Anonymous8:39 PM

    if he has yet to learn yevamos yet, how did he know to ask the kasha?

    do you agree or disagree with my refute of the teirutz al pi the arruch lner?

  11. I would have to go through the sugya much more carefully, which I haven't done, to have an opinion.