Thursday, February 20, 2014

why no arvus for the bracha of hamotzi?

The first Mishna in Arvei Pesachim tells us that on erev Pesach one is not allowed to start a meal from close to mincha time (9th hour of the day onward) until dark .  Rashi explains: there is a hidur mitzvah in having an appetite for the mitzvah of matzah. 

The gemara goes on to say that there is a similar issur on erev Shabbos and erev Y”T of eating from mincha time onward.  Rashi adds, “v’lo tavo seudas shabbos al ha’sova,” so that one should not be full when eating seudas Shabbos.

Question: why when it comes to erev Shabbos/Y”T does Rashi not say that there is a hidur mitzvah in eating with relish and gusto?  Why does Rashi seem to lower the bar and merely say that one must not be already satiated -- what happened to hidur mitzvah?  
At the end of O.C. 167 the Achronim discuss why it is that there is a principle of arvus for the bracha of borei pri hagefen in kiddush or the bracha of hamotzi for matzah (meaning, even if you are not drinking or eating, you can say the bracha on behalf of someone else who is doing the mitzvah) but not for the bracha of hamotzi before seudas shabbos.  A quick review of some of the answers (skip to #5 if you want to just get on with the show):

1)      MG”A – you have to drink the wine for kiddush, you have to eat matzah, but if you enjoy fasting on Shabbos more than eating there is no reason not to do so.  In other words, there is not really a chovas hagavra to eat; the chiyuv is to enjoy shabbos however you like, even fasting.

2)      Taz – A person starting the meal with wine or eating matzah is out of the ordinary and is therefore clearly a kiyum mitzvah.  Seudas shabbos, however, is a meal like any other.

2b) This may be no more than a reformulation of the Taz, but I'll give it it's own spot nonetheless: matzah is a cheftza shel mitzvah; wine is the cheftza shel mitzvah of kiddush.  The individual piece of challah is not the cheftza shel mitzvah of seudas shabbos – it is just one part of the meal as a whole, which is the mitzvah.    

3)      Pri Megadim has one of those sha”s klalim here that you want to put in your back pocket for other discussions.  He suggests that the principle of arvus may only apply to a mitzvah spelled out in the Torah, but not something learned through a derasha or a halacha l’moshe m’sinai.  Since there is no specific mitzvah to eat bread, arvus does not apply to ha’motzi.  You are going to jump and say that there is no specific mitzvah to drink wine at kiddush either (see Rashi/Tos Nazir 4a)?  PM”G answers that since there is a din derabbanan to drink the wine, and all derabbanans fall under “lo tasur,” it is as if drinking the wine was spelled out as part of the mitzvah.  The same cannot be said about seudas shabbos, which is only m;’divrei kabbalah based on oneg.  Based on this you have a big counterintuitive chiddush: dinim derabbanan are more chamur than derashos in this respect -- obviously a bigger discussion for another time.

4)      YU guys would be upset if I neglected to mention RYBS’s chiddush (in Shiurim l'Zecher Aba Mori) from R’ Chaim that the bracha of borei pri hagefen in kiddush is a birchas hamitzvah, not a birchas hanehenin.  You still need to come up with something to say for matzah…

5)      Finally, and this is why I am writing this up now, we have an answer the Kozhiglover quotes from the Avnei Nezer on this week’s parsha.  The Sochotchover suggests that the reason arvus works is because we are all spiritually united – see yesterday’s post and the comments re: Klal Yisrael being one organic unit both spatially and temporally.  When speaking of spiritual neshoma-mitzvos, your mitzvah is my mitzvah and vice versa because we are spiritually all one unit.  Not so when it comes to the guf – here each of us is a distinct entity.

The mitzvos of kiddush, of matzah, are spiritual/neshoma mitzvos and hence arvus applies.  The mitzvah of seudas Shabbos is a mitzvah that pertains only to the guf, and hence there is no arvus.

What exactly does he mean by that?  Wine and matzah are also consumed by the guf – how exactly is seudas shabbos different?  It could be that it’s not eating and drinking per se which is the focal point of kiddush or matzah, but rather the food and drink in these cases is just a means to an end, either to formalize and lend sanctity to the shabbos meal or to help re-experience yetzi’as Mitzrayim.  Not so seudas shabbos, where the meal is an end in itself. 

Or it could be even simpler than that: when it comes to kiddush and achilas matzah, it is the act of consuming the matzah or the wine which is all that counts.  You don’t have to do it with a smile.  When it comes to seudas shabbos, the mitzvah is oneg – enjoying it is the whole point.

With that, I think we can explain the Rashi we started with.  Rashi only invokes hidur mitzvah when the mechanical act of eating and drinking is the mitzvah; physical enjoyment, “l’teyavon,” is icing on the cake that qualitatively adds something.  When it comes to seudas shabbos, on the other hand, the enjoyment is not a hidur – the enjoyment is the mitzvah itself. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:10 PM

    I like the vort.
    Your question on the Rav's mahalach (what to say about matza) is addressed in Eretz Hatzvi siman 4 on chavilos chavilos.