Thursday, August 08, 2013

lav she'ain bo ma'aseh

The Rambam writes with respect to the issur of returning to Mitzrayim (Hil Melachin ch 5):

ובשלושה מקומות, הזהירה תורה שלא לשוב למצריים--"לא תוסיפון לשוב בדרך הזה, עוד" (דברים יז,טז), "לא תוסיף עוד לראותה" (דברים כח,סח), "לא תוסיפו לראותם עוד, עד עולם" (שמות יד,יג). ואלכסנדרייה בכלל האיסור.
ט [ח] מותר לחזור לארץ מצריים לסחורה ולפרקמטיה, ולכבוש ארצות אחרות; ואין אסור אלא להשתקע שם. ואין לוקין על לאו זה--שבעת הכניסה, מותר הוא; ואם יחשב לישב ולהשתקע, אין בו מעשה.

A chiddush: even though it obviously takes action to go live in Mitzrayim, the Rambam considers it a lav she’ain bo ma’aseh and there would be no malkos.  Why?  Because the issur is in making Mitzrayim a permanent home.  If you just went to visit on business, entering Egypt would be OK.  Since it’s remaining there, not entering the country that is assur, no action is involved in violating the lav. 
A similar idea in the beginning of Hil Chagiga ch 1 (as noted by the Sha'agas Aryeh):
מי שבא לעזרה ביום ראשון, ולא הביא עולה--לא דייו שלא עשה מצות עשה, אלא שעבר על מצות לא תעשה:
שנאמר "לא ייראו פניי, ריקם" (שמות כג,טו; שמות לד,כ). ואינו לוקה על לאו זה, שהרי לא עשה מעשה
Even though it obviously takes action to enter the azarah, the Rambam says there is no malkos for the lav of “lo yer’a’u panay reikam.”  Here too, entering the azarah is not the problem – the problem is being there without a korban.
What makes life difficult is that there seem to be other Rambams that point in the other direction, i.e. so long as an action was involved in bringing about a lav, you get malkos, even if at the moment of the issur you are totally passive.  An example at the end of Hil Kilayim:

במה דברים אמורים שהוא חייב אחת על כל היום, בשהתרו בו התראה אחת; אבל אם התרו בו ואמרו לו, פשוט פשוט, והוא לבוש בו, ושהה כדי לפשוט וללבוש אחר שהתרו בו--הרי זה חייב על כל שהייה ושהייה שהתרו בו עליה,
ואף על פי שלא פשט
Even though the person is passively wearing clothes that contain kilayim and not doing any action, there is malkos because it took some action to get those clothes on in the first place. Similarly (and this may be a better example), the Rambam in Bi’as Mikdash ch 3 writes:

. ואם שהה, או שיצא בארוכה, אף על פי שלא שהה, או שהחזיר פניו להיכל והשתחווה, אף על פי שלא שהה--חייב
כרת; ואם היה שוגג, מביא קרבן.

Even though when the person entered the mikdash he was tahor and did no issur, if the person became tamei inside and just passively remained there without leaving, he gets malkos. Why is this different than the lav of returning to Mitzrayim? There too, entering Mitzrayim was done b’heter, and the lav is violated by remaining there (permanently) – and in that case there is no malkos because there is no action involved in remaining in a place. 
It's not so easy to come up with a rule here -- something to think about.


  1. Sounds like you have an idea of what the chiluk may be, so אענה חלקי גם "עני ", that regarding going to Mitzrayim, the Rambam holds the entry is not connected to the stay there, so the entry is only the היכי תמצא to get there, and by כלאים too, the issur is to keep wearing it, not connected to the putting on the clothing אפשר.

  2. Binyomin,

    Your suggestion about Mitzrayim makes good sense (and I think I once heard something similar in a shiur). But unless I'm mistaken, your comment about kilayim seems backwards -- doesn't the Rambam quoted above hold there *is* a chiyuv malkos (or even multiple chiyuvim for multiple warnings) for continuing to wear kilayim? In other words, kilayim should be understood by Rambam in the opposite way, with respect to your chakira: we should say that for kilayim, the issur *is* connected to the initial act of putting it on. Is that right?

    I also think one can explain the issur of lo yeira'u similarly to what you say about mitzrayim, consistent with Rambam's ruling. Namely, the issue of lo yeira'u focuses on your *failure* to bring a korban, not on your act of entering the azara; the lav just has a condition that it only applies in the azara, not if you are further away.

  3. >>>כלאים too, the issur is to keep wearing it, not connected to the putting on the clothing

    So where is the ma'aseh?

  4. Acc. to the Rambam, I don't understand pshat in 2 of the Pasukim quoted. Don't they say: Don't SEE it anymore-?! So shouln't the issur set in the moment you step foot in the land - nothing to do with "lingering" there!
    (although the 3rd pasuk DOES say Lashuv, so I am not sure...)
    .... Unless there's a Gemara or a Rashi I am missing that interprets "Lirosam" as living there.
    Tzarich Iyun.

  5. There's a nice Torah Temima on the Pasuk from Shemos, but it is unrelated to my question from last post.

  6. I didn't go through the sugya, I was just commenting on the lashon of the Rambam by kelaim, sounds like hes talking about a case when he's already wearing it. I assume there's malkus also for putting it on in the first place. That's why regarding Mitzrayim it sounds strange that the issur is only to live there permanently. Arab, a Rav told me that the issue to leave Eretz Yisroel is only for one who is kavua there. I recall someone telling me a mekor but don't remember where.

  7. That should be agav, not Arab.