Thursday, October 06, 2011

mitzvos b'teilos l'asid lavo

I cannot recall in which parsha it appeared, but somwhere in Rav Copperman's notes to the Meshech Chochma he has a nice hesber of the machlokes whether mitzvos beteilos l'asid lavo or not (will mitzvos apply after techiyas ha'meisim?) He boils the issue down to a philosophical question: Are mitzvos a means to overcome the inherent frailty / imperfection of the physical, material body, or do mitzvos have inherent value as an end in their own right? If mitzvos are just a means to help the neshoma cope with its physical partner (the body), then in the spiritually refined era of techiyas ha'meisim, mitzvos will no longer be necessary. However, if mitzvos serve a valuable end in their own right, they will still apply in the future. (R' Elchanan in Koveitz Shiurim II:29 has a different approach.)

Even the view that holds mitzvos b'teilos l'asid la'vo makes an exception for Yom Kippur, which will be celebrated for eternity (Midrash Mishlei). Why? Using Rav Kooperman's dichotomy, I think the answer is obvious. On Yom Kippur we don't eat, we don't drink, we avoid other pleasures -- the day has nothing to do with the body; it is devoted even now to the completely spiritual. The mitzvah of Yom Kippur is the one time a year when we enter the kodesh kodashim within ourselves and transcend the constraints of the guf. (See Shem m'Shmuel who quotes a different explanation from his father).

Wishing you all an easy fast and a true gmar chasima tova for the upcoming year.


  1. Anonymous1:56 AM

    >>> celebrated for eternity

    for what sins would the day atone?
    & what sense of affliction would
    there be? (if one dispenses with
    these, then give the occasion a new name-- it's no longer Y. K.,
    but a correlate of some kind, like
    "Copperman" to "Kooperman", & maybe even Kippurman)

  2. chaim b.8:16 AM

    Who says you can't have teshuvah without sins?

  3. Anonymous12:57 PM

    "You can't have teshuvah without
    sins." --Rav M'ayin