THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) ONE WHO IS PERFORMING A MITZVAH IS EXEMPT FROM OTHER MITZVOS
QUESTION: Our Gemara says that one who is involved in a Mitzvah is exempt
from the Mitzvah of Keri'as Shema. This is the source for the general rule,
"ha'Osek ba'Mitzvah Patur Min ha'Mitzvah" -- "One who is involved in one
Mitzvah is exempt from another Mitzvah."
2) RECITING THE SHEMA AT NIGHT LIKE BEIS SHAMAI
TOSFOS (Sukah 25a, DH Sheluchei Mitzvah) asks that according to this, one
who is wearing Tzitzis or Tefilin should be exempt from all other Mitzvos!
(a) TOSFOS answers that only when the second Mitzvah would interrupt one's
performance of the first Mitzvah, is the person exempt from the second
Mitzvah. If one could perform the second Mitzvah without affecting his
performance of the first Mitzvah (such as is the case when wearing Tzitzis
or Tefilin), he is not exempt from the second Mitzvah.
HALACHAH: The REMA (Orach Chayim 38:8) cites the opinion of the Ran as the
Halachah; when there is a way to fulfill the second Mitzvah while still
performing the first Mitzvah in its normal manner, then one is not exempt
from the second Mitzvah. Otherwise, he is exempt.
The OHR ZARU'A questions the answer of Tosfos. It is obvious that one may
not stop performing one Mitzvah in order to perform another. Why would we
have thought to give precedence to one Mitzvah over another, had the verse
not taught us otherwise?
We could answer that Tosfos learns from the verse that one who is involved
in one Mitzvah is exempt from other Mitzvos even in a case where the
opportunity for the second Mitzvah will pass if it is not done right away.
One might have thought that in such a situation, one should halt the
performance of the first Mitzvah and fulfill the second Mitzvah. The verse
teaches us that even in such a case, one may not leave the first Mitzvah to
perform the second. (M. Kornfeld)
(b) RASHBA in the name of RAV HAI GA'ON, the MAGID MISHNAH (Hilchos Sukah
6:4) in the name of the GE'ONIM, and the OHR ZARU'A (Hilchos Sukah) explain
that as long as a person is involved in preparing to fulfill a Mitzvah,
such as when he is traveling in order to perform a Mitzvah, he is not
obligated by the Torah to perform other Mitzvos even if they do not
distract him from the first Mitzvah. The Almighty does not give us two
things to do at one time.
With regard to Tzitzis and Tefilin, however, one has already done what was
needed to fulfill the Mitzvah. He is now in the process of *fulfilling* the
Mitzvah, and not in the process of *preparing to fulfill* the Mitzvah. The
exemption from other Mitzvos applies only when one has not yet fulfilled
the first Mitzvah, and is doing something in order to fulfill the Mitzvah.
(c) The RAN (Sukah 25a) makes a compromise. He agrees with the Rashba that
one is exempt from the second Mitzvah even if performing it does not
distract him from the first Mitzvah. However, if there is a way to fulfill
the second Mitzvah while still performing the first Mitzvah *in its normal
manner*, then one is not exempt from the second Mitzvah ("Why not fulfill a
Mitzvah if nothing is lost in the process?"). Only when one must change his
normal way of performing the first Mitzvah in order to fulfill the second
Mitzvah is he exempt from the second Mitzvah.
(It could be that according to the Ran, the obligation to do the second
Mitzvah does not stem from the normal obligation to perform Mitzvos, but
rather from the requirement not to disgrace a Mitzvah. Technically, he may
be exempt since he is involved in another Mitzvah. But in practice, since
the second Mitzvah could be performed without making any change from one's
normal way of performing the first Mitzvah, it would be disgraceful to the
second Mitzvah not to perform it. -M. Kornfeld)
QUESTION: Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue in the Mishnah (10b) concerning
how one should recite the Shema. Beis Shamai requires one to recline when
reciting it at night, and to stand when reciting it by day. Beis Hillel
says that one may recite the Shema in whatever position he wants.
The Gemara (11a) says that just as Beis Shamai says that one who eats in a
Sukah in the manner of Beis Hillel does not fulfill his obligation, so too,
according to Beis Hillel, if someone recites the Shema while reclining
(like Beis Shamai), he does not fulfill his obligation.
What is the comparison between the Mitzvah of Sukah and Keri'as Shema? In
the case of the Sukah, Beis Shamai's opinion is that one does not fulfill
his obligation *at all* if he sits in the Sukah in the manner of Beis
Hillel. Regarding Keri'as Shema, Beis Hillel agrees that one *may* recite
the Shema in whatever position he wants. Why, then, should a person not
fulfill his obligation if he reclined and said the Shema, according to Beis
(a) TOSFOS (DH Tani) explains that Beis Hillel agrees that l'Chatchilah one
should *not* recline and recite the Shema. TOSFOS HA'ROSH explains that the
reason for this is that people may mistakenly think he is reclining because
the Halachah is like Beis Shamai; they will assume that one is *required*
to recline. This will result in the fact that when they find themselves in
a situation in which they cannot recline, they will not recite the Shema at
all. Now that it is clear that at least l'Chatchilah on cannot recite Shema
reclining, it can be learned from the story of the Sukah that even
b'Di'eved one does not fulfill the Mitzvah.
HALACHAH: The Halachah is like Beis Hillel (SHULCHAN ARUCH, O.C. 63:1), and
one may recite the Shema in whatever position he wants (except certain
positions as described later in the Gemara on Daf 14b). If one specifically
stands in the morning from a sitting position in order to say the Shema, or
sits down at night, he is called a "sinner." Nevertheless, he does not have
to repeat the Shema (Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 63:2, and Mishnah Brurah 63:5).
(b) TALMIDEI RABBEINU YONAH answer that if one reclines and recites the
Shema, it appears as though one is *rebelling* against Beis Hillel. For
this reason, one ought not read Shema while reclining if the Halachah is
like Beis Hillel. Now that it is clear that at least l'Chatchilah on cannot
recite Shema reclining, it can be learned from the story of the Sukah that
even b'Di'eved one does not fulfill the Mitzvah.
3) THE BLESSINGS OVER LEARNING TORAH
QUESTION: The Gemara says that if one did not recite Birchos ha'Torah (the
blessings over learning Torah) before he started to Daven, he need not
recite them later. He has fulfilled his obligation to recite those
blessings with the recitation of "Ahavah Rabah." This implies that the
recitation of Birchos ha'Torah (or their substitute, "Ahavah Rabah") one
time in the morning covers the entire day.
TOSFOS (DH she'K'var Niftar b'Ahavah Rabah) points out an apparent
contradiction in the Halachos of blessings. Before eating in a Sukah, one
recites a blessing. If he leaves the Sukah to go about his business, he
must recite the blessing again when he returns to eat in the Sukah.
Regarding Birchos ha'Torah, however, the Halachah is that after reciting
the blessing in the morning, the blessing does not need to be repeated
during the day even if one interrupted his Torah study to engage in
business or other pursuits. What is the difference between the blessings on
learning Torah and on eating in a Sukah?
(a) Tosfos explains that the Mitzvah to study Torah applies during every
moment of the day. Therefore, being involved in other tasks does not cause
an interruption in one's Torah study. The Mitzvah of Sukah, on the other
hand, only applies to us while eating. At times other than meal-times, a
person is not obligated in the Mitzvah of Sukah. Because of this, he must
recite a new blessing before performing the Mitzvah a second time.
This is borne out by a Tosefta (Tosefta Avodah Zarah 1:3; see also Menachos
99b) that says, "Rebbi Yehoshua was asked, 'May a man teach his son Greek
wisdom?' He responded, 'He may do so, but only during a time which is
neither day nor night, for during the entire day and the entire night one
is obligated to study the Torah and there is no free time in which to
engage in the teaching or practice of Greek wisdom. As the prophet says,
"You shall ponder the Torah day and night!" (Yehoshua 1:8)'"
(b) The ROSH (1:13) resolves the contradiction between the two blessings in
a slightly different manner. According to the Rosh, only people who are
fully immersed in the study of Torah are justified in not reciting a new
blessing after a pause in their Torah study. Even when such people tend to
their everyday affairs, they are eager to finish their chores and return to
the study of Torah. Because their *minds* are never distracted from the
study of Torah, their earlier blessing is still valid when they return to
the study of Torah.
The Rosh discloses to us that a true student of the Torah finds all worldly
pursuits to be no more than distractions that temporarily interrupt his
Torah study. The Rosh's source is undoubtedly the Gemara's teaching
(Berachos 35b) that "the earlier generations considered Torah study to be
their *fixed pursuit* and earning a livelihood to be a *temporary
diversion*, and they therefore succeeded in both" (see also Yoma 19b, "Make
the study of Torah a fixed pursuit, not a temporary diversion").