Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Daf Yomi - Sukkah 25 - Hosting guests overrides receiving the Shechinah

The Gemara discusses the halacha of oseik bimitzvah patur min hamitzvah, one who is engaged in the performance of one mitzvah is exempt from performing another mitzvah. The question is raised with regard to Avraham Avinu who was receiving the Shechinah after he had been circumcised. When the angels came to visit him, Avraham left the Shechinah and went to attend to the guests. Why did Avraham not employ the principle of one who is engaged in one mitzvah, i.e. receiving the Shechinah, is exempt from performing another mitzvah, i.e. hosting the guests? I heard from Rav Chaim Uri Freund Shlita that Rav Noach Weinberg asked this questions and Rav Noach suggested that when Avraham was engaged in receiving the Shechinah, he then became aware of the necessity of performing the mitzvah of greeting guests. It is noteworthy that the Gemara in Shabbos states that from Avraham Avinu we derive the principle that receiving guests is greater than receiving the Shechinah. The Gemara should have challenged this principle based on the idea that one who is engaged in one mitzvah is exempt from other mitzvos. The mitzvah of receiving the Shechinah appears to be the mitzvah of uledavka bo, one is obligated to cleave to HaShem. According to the Netziv in Heemek Davar, Avraham was engaged in loving HaShem and receiving the Shechinah, and he was performing the mitzvah of loving HaShem. The Netziv writes that when one is engaged in the mitzvah of loving HaShem, he is obligated to interrupt his thoughts and perform another mitzvah, because the mitzvah of loving HaShem has no time frame. This, the Netziv writes, is the meaning of the Gemara in Shabbos that states that hosting guests is greater than receiving the Shechinah. This means that the action of hosting guests overrides the mitzvah of loving HaShem which has no time frame. (See there further). Receiving guests can be a number of mitzvos, such as gemilus chasadim (Netziv) or even vehalachta bedrachav, one should emulate HaShem. Just as HaShem is compassionate, also you must be compassionate.


Anonymous said...

"Netziv in Heemek Davar"- Where can it be found? Thanks.

Just wondering if this can be given as a teretz to the famous question by the rambam- megilla:

(In regards to: When one should stop limud torah to hear the migilah (talmud torah keneged kulam? So the teretz generally learned is that if there's a mitzvah that is a chiuv b'atzmo- that only he can do- then he stops learning and goes to fulfill that mitzvah- Then he should return to his limud torah))

According to the Netziv you quoted: Perhaps you can say answer that since limud torah has no zman- it's constant- just like ahvas hashem- you go to fufill the other mitzvah (krias megilla) which has a zman.

Anonymous said...

hi. Netziv is in beginning of Vayeira. Regarding megillah, you are correct. The answer would probably apply to both.