Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Honoring Shabbos Yourself

Subscribe to the Daily Daf Yomi Summary here

The Gemora (Kiddushin 41a) asks: If he can betroth through an agent, he can certainly betroth himself!?

Rav Yosef answers: It is a mitzvah for him to do so rather than his agent (as by all mitzvos it is preferable for one to perform them oneself than send an agent). This is like Rav Safra who would personally singe the head of the animal and Rav who would personally salt the fish (before Shabbos in order to honor Shabbos themselves).

The Shaar Hatziyon (250:9) asks: Why did these Amoraim prepare the food for Shabbos themselves? The halachah is that one is not permitted to be interrupt his Torah studying in order to perform a mitzvah that is possible to be performed by others! These Amoraim should have instructed others to prepare the Shabbos food on their behalf!?

He answers that this is only true by a mitzvah that does not have to be performed by the person himself. However, the mitzvah of honoring Shabbos must be performed by the person himself, and therefore, they prepared the food themselves, for it is a greater mitzvah when it is done by the person himself.

The sefer Shulchan Shlomo explains that the Shaar Hatziyon does not mean that honoring Shabbos is a mitzvah similar to tefillin and sukkah, for if so, it cannot be given over to an agent at all (one cannot ask someone else to sit in a sukkah on his behalf). Rather, it is a mitzvah that is incumbent upon him, and therefore he himself must be involved with the mitzvah.

Alternatively, the Shaar Hatziyon answers that because of the severity of Shabbos, they prepared the food themselves even though it could have been accomplished through another.

The sefer Lev Yam asks that if the mitzvah of honoring Shabbos is different than any other mitzvah, and one should perform it himself even if someone else can do it, how does our Gemora bring a proof from these Amoraim that it is a greater mitzvah when he personally performs it more than when he does so through an agent? Perhaps the reason they prepared the food themselves is because of the uniqueness associated with the mitzvah of honoring Shabbos, but it will not prove anything with respect to other mitzvos!?

He cites a Shulchan Aruch Harav that answers this question.