Monday, November 26, 2007

Thirty Days Before

The Gemora (Kesuvos 86a) cites a braisa: When does one receive forty lashes for violating a Biblical law? That is only in regard to a negative commandment; however, with respect to a positive commandment, for example – if we tell someone, “Make a sukkah” and he refuses, or we tell him, “Make a lulav,” and he refuses, we beat him until his soul departs.

The question is asked: At what time are we referring to? If this is occurring before Sukkos, why do we beat him; he could say that he has plenty of time to prepare for the mitzvah? If it is already Sukkos, what benefit will there be from the beating; he cannot construct a sukkah now anyway?

Rav Nosson Gishtetner explains that the Gemora is referring to thirty days before Sukkos. From that time and on, there is an obligation for one to build a sukkah; and if he refuses, we can beat him until his soul departs.

The Chidushei HaRim writes that this is true regarding all mitzvos. Thirty days prior to the time a mitzvah is supposed to be performed, one has an obligation to begin involving himself with the mitzvah; it is incumbent upon him to properly prepare himself from that time on in order to fulfill the mitzvah. To such an extent that one is obligated to worry about the poor people in his city thirty days prior to Pesach and to investigate and see if they have sufficient enough funds for all the mitzvos on Pesach.