Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shabbas 25b - Rabbi Yehuda Bar Ilay on Erev Shabbas

(The following is a small excerpt from “כיבוד ועונג שבת” in volume 1 of Shiurim Lezecher Abba Mari (Rav YD Solovoeitchik), which is highly recommended to see inside in its entirety)

The Rambam codifies the actions of Rabbi Yehuda Bar Ilay in Perek 30 of Hilchos Shabbas as follows:

איזה הוא כיבוד--זה שאמרו חכמים שמצוה על אדם לרחוץ פניו ידיו ורגליו בחמין בערב שבת, מפני כבוד השבת.  ומתעטף בציצית ויושב בכובד ראש, מייחל להקבלת פני השבת, כמו שהוא יוצא לקראת המלך.  וחכמים הראשונים היו מקבצין תלמידיהן בערב שבת, ומתעטפים; ואומרים, בואו ונצא לקראת שבת המלך

Subsequent to this Halacha, the Rambam continues to list other items included in the definition of כבוד שבת. But as these are mentioned first and together there would seem to be some significance to this. The Rav pointed out that these 4 items mentioned 1. washing 2. wrapping in tallis 3. כובד ראש and 4. sitting in anticipation are found by Tefilla as well. The Rambam lists washing yadayim as one of the items that is מעכב davening. In Hilchos tzitizis, the Rambam writes that “לעולם ישתדל להיות עטוף בכסות המחוייבת בציצית, כדי שיקיים מצוה זו.  ובשעת התפילה, צריך להיזהר ביותר”. As for כובד ראש we know the din that tefilla requires it and as for anticipation, the Rambam codifies the requirement “לפיכך צריך לישב מעט קודם התפילה, כדי לכוון את ליבו, ואחר כך יתפלל”

The purpose of these Halachos in tefilla are that we are preparing before we encounter HKBH and stand before Him. Therefore we see from here that these laws of כבוד שבת are based on the same idea, preparing to receive the Shechina into our homes (קבלת שבת). Once we successfully make this part happen, the rest of the halachos of כבוד שבת are how the house has to be set up to accommodate our Guest, that we should have clean clothing, candles, etc.

These two aspects of כבוד שבת are actually seen in the source pasuk for the din of כבוד שבת in sefer ישעיהו which mentions כבוד twice: וקראת לשבת עונג לקדוש ה’ מכובד refers to the כבוד related to the acknowlegement of the presence of the shechina, while the continuation of the pasuk is “וכבדתו מעשות דרכיך” – the actions we need to do like how we dress, food, etc.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Shabbas 21-22 – Using Chanuka candles

On 21b, the Gemara seems to conclude like the din of Rav that אסור להשתמש לאורה. As the בעל המאור writes, this would seem to be a blanket statement that would prohibit all use of the candles whether it is for mitzva or reshus or תשמיש קדושה. The בעל המאור  even explains the logic that these candles are a זכר for the menora in the beis hamidkash which are completely אסור בהנאה. Based on this the gemara on 22a א”ר יהודה א”ר אסי אסור להרצות מעות כנגד נר חנוכה would seem to disagree with this din. For this reason, we explained in shiur that this would be the reason to exclude Rav from this din, since it is not in line with the previous statement of Rav that completely negated use of the נרות חנוכה. We then have the following sugya where there is a machlokes if מדליקין מנר לנר. Again, this discussion should not even start according to the original statement of Rav.

However, a problem arises due to the pesak of the Rambam and Rif, who pasken the first sugya like Rav, and yet allow lighting מנר לנר. How can we understand this?

The Ramban defends the Rif and explains that there is another way to understand the case of הרצאת מעות. Rather than understand as we did until now that this is a lower level use than mitzva, he explains that this is a bigger chiddush – since it is just using the candle light for simple glance to see the coins. (in chidushei Haramban he writes that it does not even look like הנאה since it is done from a distance) Therefore, Shmuel who allows הרצאת מעות still agrees with the fundamental din of Rav that אסור להשתמש לאורה and argues about this din since he defines it as הנאה and not תשמיש. This explanation also seems to be peshat of the Rambam as he writes “אסור להשתמש לנר חנוכה … ואפילו לבדוק מעות או למנותן לאורה אסור”

What about הדלקה מנר לנר—why should the Rif and Rambam allow this? The Ramban in the chidushim explains that this is allowed since the two candles are part of the same mitzva and מין במינו אינו בטל. Thus the only תשמיש מצוה allowed is this lighting and one cannot reuse the lights as נרות שבת either as we see in the gemara later.