Thursday, March 24, 2011

mitzvah bo yoseir mi'bshlucho

Last post I raised the possibility of a new chumra of having to lein zachor yourself because mitzvah bo yoseir mi'bshlucho. I want to throw a lomdish twist out there as a way to avoid this conclusion even granting my assumptions. Step 1: Seems that mitzvah bo yoseir mi'bshlucho applies only where a mitzvah is a chovas hagavra. If the mitzvah is simply for some effect to be produced (chovas hacheftza), what difference does it make who does the mitzvah? Step 2: Maybe the chiyuv of zachor is not a chovas hagavra to read the parsha, but a chovas hacheftza on the parsha to be read. (So why can't a katan lein? Because a katan's keri'ah is not a ma'aseh mitzvah.) If I'm not on thin enough ice already, let me take it to step 3: the reason the first Mishna in Megillah uses the term "megilah nikreis" instead of the more direct "korin es hamegilah" (as is asked by the Ritva, Turei Even, others) is because kri'as hamegilah is a kiyum in zechiras amalek and is therefore also a chovas hacheftza ro be read, not a chiyuv on the gavra of "korin..."

But enough already, because we are up to Parshas Parah. "Zos chukas haTorah asher tzivah Hashem leimor. Dabeir el Bnei Yisrael..." Why the double language of "leimor" followed again by "dabeir?" Chasam Sofer writes that this is a hint that the dibur itself, the very reading of the parsha, is what Hashem commanded Moshe to tell the people to do. From here we have an allusion to the fact that (according to some views) the kri'ah is a din d'oraysa.


  1. See the last piece in the Bnai Yisaschar who is maarich on parah adumah (great mehalech! I think you'll like it) and talks about the dabeir and the leimor.

  2. Two more ideas:

    (1) Even if shome'a k'oneh is based on shlichus, you still do have to listen. So each listener *is* actively participating in the the mitzva fulfillment; whereas in most examples of shlichus, the sender can sleep through the whole thing. Maybe participating by "active listening" is enough personal involvement such that MBYM'B is not a problem.

    (2) Less lumdish, but: Maybe we don't say MBYM'B when there is a mitzva incumbent on many people but as a practical matter only one person can perform and the rest must fulfill via shome'a k'oneh. Many/most poskim require a minyan for Zachor, and at most only one person out of every 10 can be the actual reader. It would create a very unfair situation and even lead to disputes if only one person gets muvchar credit, and necessarily everyone else -- at least 9 people in every minyan -- must settle for less. In contrast the classic Gemara examples of MBYM'B (shabbat prep, kiddushin) are cases where the relevant people can do it themselves if they wish, and shlichus is merely a choice of convenience. MBYM'B seems like a Rabbinic concept -- I've never heard of a d'oraysa source -- and the rabbanan have the power not to define this rule in a manner that creates unfair results and conflicts.

  3. >>>It would create a very unfair situation and even lead to disputes if only one person gets muvchar credit,

    My son's chavrusa argued the same, but I'm not persuaded. First of all, only someone who would dream up this chumra would make an issue of it. As for everyone else, ignorance is bliss. Second of all, why not just draw lots? It worked for the kohanim.