Thursday, September 15, 2011

bikkurim, kiddush levana -- zman gerama?

1. What does R' Chaim Kanievski mean in his Ta'ama d'Kra when he writes that since the Torah uses the term "pri ha'adamah" to describe fruits of bikkurim, it proves that you are yotzei saying a borei pri ha'adamah on fruit? If this proof was so clear cut, how could there be a machlokes Tana'im in Brachos on this very point?! Perhaps R' Chaim simply means the pashtus of the pasuk is like one tzad (I haven't learned enough of Ta'ama d'Kra to know if this is his style of thing to do.) The Chasam Sofer already asks in the name of the Hafla'ah how to deal with this proof and says a pilpul to answer it.

2. A few years ago we mentioned (I, II) R' Akiva Eiger and the Turei Even's sevara that although bikkuim are brought only between Shavuos and Chanukah, the mitzvah is not classified as an aseh she'ha'zman gerama because that's simply the time period when the cheftza shel mitzvah of fruit is available -- it's not a limitation on the duration of the chiyuv. (This is similar to R' Chaim Brisker's explanation as to why milah is not categorized as zman gerama [see Tos. Kid 29a] -- the baby is simply not a proper cheftza shel mitzvah until day 8, but there is no time limitations on the chovas hagavra.)

It seems that the MG"A takes a different view, as he (O.C. 424) quotes the SHL"H that women are exempt from kiddush levana because it is a zman gerama mitzvah. R' Shlomo Kluger asks: Why is kiddush levana any different than bikkurim? There is no limitation on the chiyuv -- it's just that the cheftza shel mitzvah, the new moon, is available only certain times during the month. It's a metziyus, not a din.

I know it's a dochak, but this is only a blog, so I'll try out a chiluk. R' Elchanan in the Koveitz Shiurim at the beginning of Pesachim has a chakirah whether the emergence of three stars is a siman that it is night, or the emergence of stars is the sibah of it being halachic night. I want to go a step further and say that when the Torah tells us that the passage of the sun and moon and stars are "l'yamim v'shanim," it means not only are they the means of marking time, but they are the sibah for time changing. Bikkurim are a phenomenon that takes place within the envelope of time; the passage of the moon is the phenomenon of time, and is therefore directly related to zman.

Parenthetically, the Halichos Beisa quotes a beautiful kashe in the same of R' Isser Zalman Meltzer -- whether it's zman gerama or not, why are we referring to kiddush levana as a "mitzvah"? There is no mitzvah to go out and find the moon -- there is just a din that if you see the new moon, you are obligated to say a birchas ha'shevach. See his answer (end of ch 16) in the name of the Chazon Ish.


  1. hmmmm, "I don't know why, but I have no cheishek to write. General malaise." I had the same experience. It's not just Mashiach that comes b'hesech hadaas.

    As for your pshat, "only a blog" is no excuse for that svara. As you mention in the last paragraph, KL is not talui in day or night. As RSK says, it's a bracha of shevach for the koach of the Ribono shel Olam as manifested in a bright and waxing moon. If you live in a valley and can see the moon long before the sun sets on at sea level, you can make the bracha then, too. How does that make it zman grama? The only way I can think to explain the SHL/MA is by predicating what you said with the hanacha that KL requires layla, not just because the moon is visible then, but because there's some relationship between KL and night time/galus/klal yisrael and so forth.

    And Yasher koach- You've provided interesting things to talk about at my kiddush. As for the previous thing of V'samachta, I would say that you only enjoy something when you realize you might lose it. Giving some to the Kohen reinforces the awareness that you should enjoy what you have left.

  2. Anonymous5:37 PM

    could women's inability to give
    eidus for rosh chodesh be a reason
    they're exempt from kidush levana?
    ...shabbos shalom

  3. great unknown9:50 AM

    b: I think the ba'al hablog is referring to the time of month and not time of day as z'man g'rama. Speaking of hesech ha'da'as...with all due respect, your criticism is lunacy [hopefully waning].

    As far as bikkurim not being z'man gramah, the chiluk is nice, but of course, being Jewish, I would like to offer my own opinion. In truth, bikkurim should not be tied to any specific zman, but rather to the metziyus of when the fruits are ripe, being harvested, and still available. In order to prevent chaos in determining these factors [which vary not only from year to year, but also from territory to territory, from micro-climate to micro-climate] chazal made a lo plug schedule. A lo plug does not a zman grama make.

  4. great unknown9:56 AM

    BTW, I do not have a Halichos Beisa available, nor can I find it on Please put me out of my suspense and post the Chazon Ish's answer.

    It seems to me that it is more than a birchas ha'shevach. Dvei Rabbi Yishmoel call it kabolas pnei Avinu ShebaShamayim, and Abaye says that therefore one must stand to say it. I once heard that this is because it is actually a birchas hamitzva.

  5. I did mean the time of month for K.L., not the time of day.

    Great Unknown, you don't need the Chazon Ish - you were mechavein to it. He says that since K.L. = kabbalas pnei haShechina, it must be a real mitzvah. The author of Halichos Beisa adds on his own that this issue will have a nafka mina as to how to characterize the bracha, as a birchas hashevach or a birchas hamitzvah.

    (The Meiri in Sanhedrin 42 writes that women should say K.L. he quotes Shu"T Kiryas Chana that this is not a kashe on the views that women cannot say a bracha on an aseh she'hazman gerama because K.L. is just a birchas hashevach, not a birchas hamitzvah. The C.I.'s would say otherwise.)

  6. great unknown12:40 PM

    thank you kindly.

  7. Regarding lunacy, I don't know whether to howl at your moon, or to moon your howl.

    YK on being mechavein to the CI.

  8. great unknown4:47 PM

    corollary to the Chazon Ish: there is a chiyuv to go out and find the moon.