THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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YEVAMOS 6, 7, 8, 9 (Chanukah) - dedicated by Uri Wolfson and Naftali Wilk in
honor of Rav Mordechai Rabin of Har Nof, a true beacon of Torah and Chesed.
1) A "HECHSHER MITZVAH" BEING "DOCHEH" A "LO TA'ASEH"
OPINIONS: The Gemara searches for a source that an Aseh is Docheh a Lo
Ta'aseh that has Kares. It suggests that we learn it from the Mitzvah of
Kibud Av va'Em. The Torah specifically teaches that the Mitzvah of Kibud Av
va'Em is *not* Docheh the Lo Ta'aseh of Shabbos (such as if one's parent
tells him to desecrate Shabbos), which is a Lo Ta'aseh that has Kares. The
fact that the Torah specifically states that Kibud Av va'Em is not Docheh the
Lo Ta'aseh of Shabbos implies that in all other cases, an Aseh *is* Docheh a
Lo Ta'aseh that has Kares.
The Gemara replies that no proof can be deduced from Kibud Av va'Em, because
perhaps the Torah is saying that the Mitzvah is not Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh of
Shabbos that does *not* have Kares, such as the Isur of Mechamer (leading an
animal), and thus we can make no inference from that verse with regard to a
Lo Ta'aseh that has Kares. The Gemara asks, though, that we should learn from
there the opposite -- that an Aseh is *not* Docheh even a regular Lo Ta'aseh!
The Gemara proposes that the Lo Ta'aseh of Shabbos is different and is more
stringent, but the Gemara refutes that answer.
The Gemara concludes that since Kibud Av va'Em is a "Hechsher Mitzvah," it
differs from other Mitzvos Aseh. What does the Gemara's answer mean? What is
a "Hechsher Mitzvah" in this context? The Rishonim argue how to understand
(a) RASHI understands "Hechsher Mitzvah" here to mean that the only way to
fulfill the Mitzvah is by doing the Lo Ta'aseh. There is no way around the Lo
Ta'aseh -- it must be transgressed in order to fulfill the Aseh.
Rashi understands the Gemara to be going back to its original assumption that
the verse is referring to a Lo Ta'aseh of Shabbos that *does* have Kares. The
verse is saying that the Mitzvah of Kibud Av va'Em is not Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh
of Shabbos that has Kares, even though it is a "Hechsher Mitzvah" and in all
other cases of a "Hechsher Mitzvah," the Mitzvah *is* Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh
that has Kares. Without the verse, we would have thought that Kibud Av va'Em
is also Docheh Shabbos, since the fulfillment of the father's desire (such as
cooking for him) is not possible without also doing the Lo Ta'aseh. In the
case of Yibum with a woman who is an Ervah to her brother-in-law, though, it
is possible to fulfill the Mitzvah by doing Chalitzah instead, and thereby
avoiding the Lo Ta'aseh that has Kares.
In short, according to Rashi, the Gemara is saying that an Aseh *can* be
Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh that has Kares when there is no other way to fulfill the
Aseh (in this particular situation) other than by transgressing the Lo
Ta'aseh. But how can that be? In practice, we never find a Mitzvah being
Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh that bears the punishment of Kares!
The Gemara in Bava Metzia (32a) points out that aside from the problem that
an Aseh is not Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh that has Kares, there is another reason
that it should be obvious that Kibud Av v'Em (or Binyan Beis ha'Mikdash)
cannot be Docheh Shabbos. Shabbos involves an Aseh *and* a Lo Ta'aseh, and we
know that a Mitzvas Aseh cannot be Docheh an Aseh *and* Lo Ta'aseh (see
TOSFOS DH Nigmar)! The Gemara in Bava Metzia asks this question, and answers
that the Aseh of Kibud is stronger than any other Aseh, since the honor of
one's parents is compared to the Hashem's own honor. That is why one would
think that it is even Docheh an Aseh v'Lo Ta'aseh. (The same can be said of
building the Beis ha'Mikdash, since awe for the Beis ha'Mikdash is compared
to the awe of the Almighty.)
If so, why did the Gemara say we cannot learn from Kibud Av that every
Mitzvah is Docheh Lo Ta'aseh she'Yesh Bo Kares because it is a "Hechsher
Mitzvah?" The Gemara should have said that we cannot compare any other
Mitzvas Aseh to Kibud Av because Kibud is a much stronger Mitzvah! The
MAHARSHA suggests that the Gemara perhaps could have given that answer as
well. Kibud is not only a Hechsher Mitzvah, but an especially strong Mitzvah
in its own right as well. If so, even according to the Gemara's conclusion,
it *cannot* be learned from Kibud that a normal Aseh will be Docheh a Lo
Ta'aseh she'Yesh Bo Kares if there is no way to avoid the Mitzvas Aseh.
(b) TOSFOS explains that "Hechsher Mitzvah" here means the opposite of what
Rashi says: an Aseh is *not* Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh -- even if it does not have
Kares (such as Mechamer on Shabbos) -- when the Aseh is *only* a "Hechsher
Mitzvah," meaning that it is merely preparatory to the Mitzvah and not the
actual fulfillment of the Mitzvah itself. When a person leads an animal on
Shabbos in order to bring an item to his father, it is only a preparatory act
to the Mitzvah. The actual Mitzvah is feeding one's father.
According to Tosfos, the Gemara is not returning to its original assumption.
Rather, the Gemara is maintaining its explanation that the verse is referring
to a Lo Ta'aseh of Shabbos that does *not* have Kares (such as Mechamer), and
it is saying that since the act of Kibud Av va'Em is only preparatory to the
main Mitzvah, it is not Docheh any Lo Ta'aseh.
It appears that Rashi rejected this explanation because Mechamer is not
always just a preparatory act for the Mitzvah of Kibud. When the father
specifically asks his son to guide the animal for him, Mechamer is the actual
fulfillment of the Mitzvah, and not just a preparatory act!
Tosfos relates to this question. He explains that although in some situations
Mechamer might be the fulfillment of the actual Mitzvah of Kibud Av va'Em,
nevertheless, in *most* situations Mechamer is just a preparatory act. For
this reason, even when the father does ask the son to be Mechamer, Kibud will
not be Docheh the Lo Ta'aseh of Mechamer. According to Tosfos, the Gemara
means that something that is *usually* an act of "Hechsher Mitzvah"
(preparatory to the main Mitzvah) is not Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh.
2) A CASE OF AN "ASEH" WHICH IS NOT "DOCHEH" A "LO TA'ASEH"
QUESTIONS: The Gemara derives that Beis Din is not allowed to kindle a fire
(Hav'arah) in order to kill a person who is deserving of Sereifah on Shabbos.
We might have thought that it is permitted because of the principle of "Aseh
Docheh Lo Ta'aseh she'Yesh Bo Kares." The Gemara concludes that Hav'arah is
only a Lo Ta'aseh that does not have Kares. Since we know that an Aseh is
Docheh a normal Lo Ta'aseh (that does not have Kares), therefore we need a
verse to teach that in the case of Hav'arah on Shabbos, the Aseh of Misas
Beis Din is *not* Docheh the Lo Ta'aseh of Hav'arah.
(a) If Hav'arah is only a Lo Ta'aseh, then on the contrary -- we should learn
from here that an Aseh is *not* Docheh a normal Lo Ta'aseh (just as the
Gemara asked on Daf 6a regarding Mechamer)! Why does the Gemara not make such
(b) Why do we need a verse to teach that the Aseh is not Docheh the Lo
Ta'aseh in this case? The principle of "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" obviously
cannot apply in this case, because the Aseh is not being fulfilled at the
same time as the Lo Ta'aseh! The Lo Ta'aseh occurs when the fire is kindled
and the lead is melted, while the Aseh is fulfilled only when the person is
(c) How can the Gemara say that kindling the flame to fulfill the Mitzvah of
Sereifah is only a Lo Ta'aseh that does not have Kares? The act also involves
the Melachah of "Netilas Neshamah" on Shabbos -- killing any creature on
Shabbos is certainly a Lo Ta'aseh that has Kares!
(a) The RASHBA explains that kindling the fire is only a "Hechsher Mitzvah"
for the actual Aseh of killing the person, and that is why it is not Docheh a
Lo Ta'aseh (as we learned on 6a; the Rashba understood Hechsher Mitzvah like
Tosfos, see previous insight). The Gemara could have asked that we do not
need a verse to teach us this, since we learned it from another verse earlier
(6a), but the Gemara had a better question to ask.
TOSFOS and other Rishonim, however, explain that on Shabbos, in addition to
the Lo Ta'aseh against desecrating Shabbos, there is also an *Aseh* to guard
and observe the laws of Shabbos. That Aseh applies to all of the Isurim of
Shabbos, such that any act of desecrating Shabbos involves transgressing both
an Aseh and a Lo Ta'aseh. Thus, committing the act of Hav'arah involves
transgressing both an Aseh and a Lo Ta'aseh (according to Rebbi Yosi), and
that is why the Aseh is not Docheh the Lo Ta'aseh in this case -- because an
Aseh cannot be Docheh both another Aseh and a Lo Ta'aseh. Hence, we cannot
derive from here that an Aseh is not Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh alone. (Tosfos asks,
though, why do we not learn from here that in all other cases of an Aseh
together with a Lo Ta'aseh, an Aseh *is* Docheh both? Tosfos says that the
Gemara could have asked this question, but it had a better question to ask.)
(b) The RASHBA says that indeed, the Gemara could have asked this question.
The ARUCH LA'NER says that perhaps since the Aseh of killing the perpetrator
is a "Mitzvah d'Rabim," a public Mitzvah that is incumbent upon all of the
Jewish people, it is a stronger Mitzvah (see TOSFOS 6a DH Nigmar) which can
be Docheh a Lo Ta'aseh even when it is not done at the exact same time.
The RAMBAN says that it is possible to do both at the same time by holding
the lead above the perpetrator's mouth and burning it there so that it falls
directly into her mouth and kills her. That is called "at the same time." The
RASHBA rejects this because the two events still have to happen at two
separate times. The lead does not go into the mouth at the same time it is
kindled; one event follows the other in the sequence of events.
The Ramban perhaps learns like the NIMUKEI YOSEF (Bava Metzia 32a) who says
that when the *beginning* of the act that fulfills a Mitzvas Aseh is done at
the same time as the Lo Ta'aseh, the two are considered to be occurring "at
the same time." If the lead is held above the open mouth of the Bas Kohen,
then by lighting the fire which melts the lead that drips it into her mouth,
one has already begun the act that kills her. The RASHBA, though, maintains
that the Aseh must be completely fulfilled at the time that the Lo Ta'aseh is
being transgressed, and in this case the Mitzvas Aseh is fulfilled only after
(c) The RASHBA (TESHUVOS 1:357) writes that this is essentially what the
Gemara does ask; there still is a Meleches Shabbos involved. The Gemara
mentions Bishul, but it could also mention Netilas Neshanah.
He adds, though, that the wording of the Beraisa -- and Pasuk -- implies that
the Isur under discussion is that of making a fire and burning the lead, not
the Isur of killing a Bas Kohen. Perhaps the verse never meant to suggest
that one would think a Bas Kohen can be killed by a Jew on Shabbos -- rather,
one would think that it is permitted to heat the lead, and to give it to a
*Nochri* to execute the Bas Kohen on Shabbos. The verse teaches that even
burning the lead is *also* prohibited, and may not be done by a Jew on
What the Gemara does ask is why we would have thought that *burning the lead*
is permitted -- that very act bears with it the transgression of Bishul,
aside from the transgression of Hav'arah, and Bishul on Shabbos is punishable