Wednesday, May 22, 2013

two quick points on the mitzvah of aliya la'regel and the mitzvah of viduy

Over Shavuos I dabbled a bit in the Sefer haMitzvot of the Rambam, which Rav Kook recommended learning on leil Shavuos.  Two quick observations:

1)  In mitzvas aseh 52, the Rambam writes that, “This commandment is that each man, together with each male child capable of walking on his own, must travel to the Temple…” (translation taken from the Chabad website).  The Rambam in S”hM usually seems to give just a bare bones formulation of each mitzvah.  Why then would he include here that “each male child” must be brought on aliya la’regel?  That's just a din in chinuch, not part of the mitzvah d’oraysa of aliya laregel (see Rashi Chagiga 2a d”h eizehu katan)?

2)  In mitzvas aseh 73, the mitzvah of viduy, which we read in last week’s parsha, after proving that viduy must be said even outside the context of bringing a korban, the Rambam quotes another derasha from Chazal: “We still only know of the obligation of vidui in Israel. How do we know it applies even in exile? This we learn from what Daniel said, 'They will then recite vidui for their sins and the sins of their fathers,' and from the verse, 'To You, G‑d, there is charity, and to us there is shame' "  (again, translationfrom Chabad).  This is a very interesting hava amina.  The mitzvah of viduy is a mitzvah sheb’gufo.  Why would we even entertain the thought that it applies only in Eretz Yisrael?  (Were the mitzvah to do teshuvah, I would say it by definition it entails coming closer to Hashem, and that can only fully be achieved in Eretz Yisrael.  But the Rambam formulates the mitzvah as viduy – not teshuvah – and so I think that argument is a little harder to make.)

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