Tuesday, March 04, 2014

chinuch on mitzvos where the kiyum is b'lev

 וְהַיָּמִים הָאֵלֶּה נִזְכָּרִים וְנַעֲשִׂים בְּכָל-דּוֹר וָדוֹר, מִשְׁפָּחָה וּמִשְׁפָּחָה, מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה, וְעִיר וָעִיר; וִימֵי הַפּוּרִים הָאֵלֶּה, לֹא יַעַבְרוּ מִתּוֹךְ הַיְּהוּדִים, וְזִכְרָם, לֹא-יָסוּף מִזַּרְעָם.

Why the difference between the use of “ymei haPurim”/”yehudim” in the first half of the pasuk and zichram”/”zar’am” in the second half?   The GR”A explains that “V’Ymei haPurim ha’eilu lo ya’avru m’toch hayehudim” (9:28) refers to the chiyuv of partying; “V’zichram lo yasuf m’zar’am” refers to the chiyuv of mikra megillah.  …”  (Compare with Malbim’s explanation of the double language of “nizkarim v’na’asim” earlier in the same pasuk: "nizkarim" refers to mikra megillah; "na'asim" refers to mishteh, simcha, and mishloach manos.)   R’ Moshe Shternbruch in Moadim u’Zmanim (vol 2 footnote to p 184) deduces a chiddush l’halacha from here: there is only a din of chinuch, a mitzvah on “zar’am,” for mikra megillah, but not for mishteh and simcha. 
Why should this be the case?  R’ Shternbruch suggests that the mitzvah of chinuch only applies to mitzvos where the ma’aseh mitzvah is everything, but not to mitzvos where the act done is just a means to a kiyum b’lev, an emotional or intellectual reaction.  A child can be trained to perform a rote act; he/she cannot be trained or expected to have an emotional response.  When it comes to eating and drinking on Purim, the meal is just a means to an end of creating a state of simcha – the kiyum b’lev is what is key.  
I don’t understand.  The Rambam in Hil Yom Tov ch 6 writes that included in the mitzvah of simchas Yom Tov is buying clothes for one’s wife and buying toys or candy for one’s children.  Doesn’t that imply that the mitzvah of simcha applies to children as well?  And if you tell me that the Rambam does not mean the child has his own mitzvah of simcha, but rather you fulfill your mitzvah of simcha by entertaining the child and your family, then why not apply the same standard to Purim as well?  Why would the pasuk not tell us that mishteh and simcha applies to “zar’am” as well because we have to make them happy on the day of Purim in order to fulfill our mitzah of simcha? 
If anything, it seems that simchas Yom Tov is more of a kiyum b’lev than simchas Purim.  Rav Soloveitchik (Shiurim l’Zecher Aba Mari) contrasts the Rambam’s view, which allows for a subjective kiyum of simcha through food, new clothes, toys, etc. with that of Tos (M.K. 14), who holds that m’dorasya simcha is fulfilled only by eating a korban shelamim.  According to Tos., it’s the act of eating korban meat which is key; according to the Rambam there is no specific act mandated to fulfill simcha because the kiyum is the emotional state, not what you do.  However, when it comes to simchas Purim, the Eimek Bracha writes that it’s the act of drinking in and of itself which is the mitzvah, not the state of simcha it brings you to.  "Ad d'lo yada" is a ptur; it's the point beyond which one is exempt from mitzvah performance -- it's not a state of mind that one is required to ellicit for the kiyum mitzvah.
Secondly, does R’ Shternbruch mean to suggest that there is no din of chinuch on mitzvos like tefilah?  Reciting kri’as shema?  Aren't these kiyumim sheb'lev?  Even haggadah, where children are the centerpiece of the mitzvah, is some degree is not about reciting words, but is about eliciting the reaction of “ro’eh es atzmo k’ilu hu yatzah m’Mitzrayim,” experiencing the Exodus as a reality.  These are a few examples that came to my mind, but you probably can think of others.
It’s a little bit of a kvetch, but I want to suggest that we can understand the GR”A in light of the Rambam we learned last week (Meg 2:18):
  כל ספרי הנביאים וכל הכתובים, עתידין ליבטל לימות המשיח, חוץ ממגילת אסתר--הרי היא קיימת כחמישה חומשי תורה, וכהלכות של תורה שבעל פה, שאינן בטילין, לעולם.
The Rambam paskens based on the Yerushalmi that the megillah and chumash are the only seforim in Tanach that will still be with us after Moshiach comes.  The Rambam doesn’t say anything about the celebration of Purim as a holiday.  (The Yalkut Shimoni in Mishlei does imply that Purim as a mo’ed will not be bateil.  I don’t see this in the Rambam’s words or in the Yerushalmi, which only talks about megillah as a text.  Still, I admit you can easily argue that I am splitting hairs.) 
Coming back to the pasuk, read according to GR”A, what it is telling us is that mishteh and simcha, the drinking and partying, has been with us since the days of Mordechai and Esther.  However, what will remain with our children, "zara'am,"who IY”H will be living in the days of Moshiach, will be not be the partying, but “zichram” alone, the text of megillah and the lessons it teaches. 
Is this torah about Purim or Purim torah? 


  1. You write:
    mitzvah of simchas Yom Tov is buying clothes for one’s wife and buying toys or candy for one’s children
    You think the Rambam means children based on the din of chinuch? I would have understood that to mean that you are obligated to be mesamei'ach everyone you're responsible for, particularly your kids, not that the children have a din simcha. My kids knew that on Yomtov, if they got in trouble, they could defuse the situation by reminding me that patching them would be a bittul assei. It always worked.

    1. That's why I threw in the next line about "And if you tell me that the Rambam does not mean the child has his own mitzvah of simcha, but rather you fulfill your mitzvah of simcha by entertaining the child and your family..."

      I'm not sure because the gemara lumps wife in the equation there, and when it comes to women there is a machlokes Rambam/Ra'avad if I;m not mistaken whether the mitzvah of simcha is on her or on you to be mesameiach her.