web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Obligating Oneself To Perform Mitzvot


Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Question: Should a person try to observe mitzvot he is technically exempt from performing?

Answer: Many people assume the answer to this question is yes. Tosafot (Pesachim 113b) suggest that the source for this idea is Sotah 14a, which states that Moshe Rabbeinu sought to enter Eretz Yisrael in order to observe (and receive reward for) the mitzvot that are “dependent upon the land.” Based on this Gemara, Tosafot contend that one should strive to put oneself in a situation where one will be required to observe mitzvot that one would otherwise be exempt from. Thus, Tosafot argue that Jews should wear four-cornered garments in order to obligate themselves to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit.

When I learned this Gemara, many years ago, I, personally, had a different pshat for why Moshe Rabbeinu wished to enter Eretz Yisrael. It wasn’t that he wished to obligate himself to perform the mitzvot of Eretz Yisrael. Rather, Moshe was responsible for taking the Jewish people out of Egypt and bringing them to the promised land, and he wanted to finish his task in line with the saying, “Ha’matchil b’mitzvah omrim lo g’mor – We tell a person who starts a mitzvah to finish it.”

Therefore, we lack proof from the Talmud that Jews should try to perform mitzvot they are exempt from. There is no proof, for example, that a person must wear a four-cornered garment in order to obligate himself to wear tzitzit. One may, of course, follow the minhag of Klal Yisrael and always wear tzitzit. But, one cannot bring proof, as Tosafot did, that one should do so based on the Gemara regarding Moshe Rabbeinu.

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, has written several books on Jewish law. His latest, “Shabbat The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications), is available at Judaica stores and Amazon.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Obligating Oneself To Perform Mitzvot”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
One of Indicted FIFA Officials Blamed ‘Zionism’ for 2011 Bribe Charge
Latest Judaism Stories
Mosaic of 12 Tribes

Many of us simply don’t get the need for the Torah to list the exact same gift offering, 12 times!

Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Once this took place, no Beit Din could annul its practice but for an entirely different reason. A minhag accepted by klal Yisrael becomes an obligation that must be practiced.

Cohen-080814-Sign

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

Question: At Birkat Kohanim, who says the phrase, “Am k’doshecha ka’amur”?

Question: How can one determine whether someone is a true disciple of a rav, Rebbe, or rosh yeshiva?

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Question: When someone puts on a talit to lead services, should he recite a berachah?

Question: A number of synagogues feature bar mitzvah celebrations for elderly Jews. Is this proper?

Hashem understood their complaint and therefore selected the ritual mitzvah of sukkah to test them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/obligating-oneself-to-perform-mitzvot/2012/02/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: