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Parashas Vizos Habracha
Parashas Vizos Habracha
"Abba, I want to show you something."
"What is it, Avi?"
Avi reaches his hand into his schoolbag and pulls out a beautiful new tallis koton.
"That is beautiful, Avi! Where did you get it?"
"I made it myself, Abba."
"Really? That is fantastic Avi! The workmanship is so professional. The knots are tied very well. The four-cornered garment is very smart looking. Where did you get it?"
"I bought the cloth, Abba, and sewed it myself."
"Now I am really impressed, Avi. What type of material is it?"
Avi's father's face drops.
"Yes, Abba, linen. It was the nicest fabric that they had in the store, and I wanted only the nicest for my tallis koton."
"I'm afraid we have a problem here, Avi. The strings of the tzitzis are wool, and the garment is linen. The Torah (Vayikra 19:19) forbids mixtures of wool and linen sewn or tied together. They are called shaatnez. "
Avi is disappointed.
"Does that mean that I will not be able to wear my tallis koton?"
"I'm afraid not."
"But Abba, I am performing a mitzvah with the wool and linen. Doesn't that 'push away' the aveyra of shaatnez?"
The question is:
Does the positive mitzvah of tzitzis push away the negative mitzvah of shaatnez?
The answer is:
In general, one is not allowed to transgress an aveyra in order to perform a positive mitzvah. This is called "mitzvah haba'ah bi'aveyra" - a mitzvah that comes about via an aveyra. One example is attempting to perform the mitzvah of "arba minim" on the second day of Succos with a stolen lulav. The Gemora (Succah 30a) declares that such a lulav is posul - unfit for the mitzvah. The source is a verse in the Novi Malachi (1:13). Therefore, one would think that the wool tzitzis on the linen garment are posul. However, the Gemora (Yevamos 4a) states otherwise. It cites the following two verses. "You shall not wear combined fibers - wool and linen together. You shall make for yourself twisted threads on the four corners of your garment" (Devarim 22:11,12). Rashi explains that the juxtaposition of these two verses comes to teach us that in this special case, the positive mitzvah of tzitzis pushes off the negative mitzvah of shaatnez. However, normally, "mitzvah habbo bi'aveyra" is forbidden.
This is still not the end of the story. A different Gemora (Menachos 39b) reveals that the heter of tying wool tzitzis on a linen garment is only when they have 't'chaylis' - a blue dye made from the blood of a 'chilazon.' The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 9:2) rules that since we do not have t'chaylis nowadays, the issur d'oraysa of shaatnez remains, and therefore we do not tie wool tzitzis on a linen garment.
"Imma, kinderlach, please come to the Succah. I know that everyone is busy with preparations for Shemini Atzeres. However, let us take a few minutes to say a proper farewell to our beloved Succah."
The family gathers in the Succah, has some cake and drink, and enjoys its holy atmosphere one last time.
"The holiday has been wonderful."
"Yes it has. We have lived in this simple Succah, leaving behind the luxuries of life, getting close to Hashem in the shadow of His Holy Presence. It will be difficult to part from our dear Succah."
"Yes. Come; let us say the farewell prayer."
"May it be Your will, Hashem our G-d and G-d of our fathers; just as I lived and sat in this Succah, so too may I merit next year to sit in the Succah of the skin of the Leviathan."
"Kinderlach, in the days to come, Hashem will make one large Succah from the skin of a huge fish called the Leviathan, and all of Klal Yisrael will sit in it."
"Speedily and in our days, Abba."
"Come, kinderlach. Let us say this additional prayer. We had so many mitzvos this Succos. Each mitzvah has its own special angel in Heaven. We ask Hashem to allow those Heavenly angels to accompany us out of the Succah into the house. May they protect us from all sin and misfortune. May they cause Hashem's spirit to be upon us, so that we may serve Him with truth, love, and fear - so that we may learn, observe, and teach His Holy Torah. May the mitzvos of Succah and lulav bring Hashem's mercy upon us, until we return in complete teshuva. Then we will merit the best of both worlds, serving Him in perfect truth, as He wishes for us and for all of Klal Yisrael."
Kinderlach . . .
The Succah has been our home for seven days. We have eaten, slept, learned Torah, and relaxed there. Every regular activity became a mitzvah, bringing us very close to Hashem. It is so difficult to part from this Succah. However, we can take it with us. The merit of the mitzvos and the angels of the Succah can accompany us into the winter months ahead. Don't let the Succah leave you, kinderlach! Keep Hashem and his mitzvos with you in your heart all year round.
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