web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Accidental Mitzvos

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Parshas Terumah begins with Hashem informing Moshe to tell the Bnei Yisrael to take for Him (Hashem) terumah from anyone whose heart desires to do so. Rashi says that the money must be given lishmah – for the sake of giving to Hashem.

Many meforshim were bothered by the following point and questions: we know that there is a machlokes in the Gemara whether mitzvos require kavanah (see Rosh Hashanah 28a). According to the opinion that mitzvos are not required to be performed with kavanah, why does this mitzvah of giving to the Mishkan require kavanah that it be given lishmah? Additionally, even the dissenting opinion that requires kavanah in the performance of mitzvos agrees that for the mitzvah of tzedakah one does not need to have kavanah to fulfill the mitzvah. For example, if one drops money that ends up in a poor man’s hands he has fulfilled the mitzvah of tzedakah – without even knowing it. So why, regarding the mitzvah of donating to the Mishkan, does the pasuk require lishmah?

Some Acharonim differentiated between kavanah and lishmah. In this view, kavanah is the intention to perform a mitzvah and that the person wants to fulfill his obligation. Lishmah is the act of doing the mitzvah for the correct intentions. Although a mitzvah may not require kavanah, it may nevertheless require lishmah.

Perhaps we can answer the second question. The opinion that requires kavanah agrees that it is not required regarding the mitzvah of giving tzedakah. However, the mitzvah of donating to the Mishkan differs from the general mitzvah of tzedakah. The purpose of the mitzvah of giving tzedakah is that the poor man will have money. Once that is accomplished, the mitzvah is fulfilled. Thus, even if one does not have kavanah to perform the mitzvah, once its purpose is accomplished he has fulfilled his obligation.

But the purpose of the mitzvah of donating to the Mishkan was not so the Mishkan has enough money. Hashem would ensure that the Mishkan has enough money even without this donation. The purpose of this mitzvah was to give us the opportunity to give toward the Mishkan. In such a scenario the opinion requiring kavanah in the performance of mitzvos requires that one have kavanah.

Another mitzvah whereby the opinion requiring kavanah is in agreement with the view that one can fulfill a mitzvah without having kavanah is the mitzvah of p’ru u’revu (bearing offspring). This mitzvah is accomplished when one brings children into the world. Thus, even if one does not have kavanah when performing this mitzvah, he will have fulfilled his obligation.

In order to answer the original question, I believe that we need to understand the opinion that does not generally require kavanah. The underlying machlokes as to whether mitzvos require kavanah is based on what makes a mitzvah. There is no dispute that a transgression has occurred (albeit b’shogeig) when one eats a forbidden food. Why? Because once the Torah forbade the eating of pig, it is forbidden to eat pigs. We need not have kavanah to render a pig a pig; it exists as a pig without our intentions. Consequently, when one eats a pig he has transgressed.

Similarly, regarding mitzvos, what makes the act of shaking a lulav a mitzvah? It is not an existing item; rather, it is a palm branch – not a mitzvah. The opinion requiring mitzvos to be performed with kavanah holds this way because in order to turn a palm branch into a mitzvah, one must intend to use it for the purpose of fulfilling a mitzvah.

The opinion not requiring that mitzvos be performed with kavanah follows this logic: once Hashem commands us to do something it becomes a reality. For instance, palm branches are now items of mitzvos – even without our intention to have it this way. Accordingly, if one shakes a lulav without intending to use it for the purpose of fulfilling a mitzvah he has, according to this opinion, fulfilled his obligation.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


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.

One Response to “Accidental Mitzvos

  1. I don’t understand, i’ve heard of mitvah, what is kavanah? Also please tell me what lishmah is? And why is this important?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party.
Lapid Won’t Let Defense Demands Turn Into ‘Turkish Bazaar’
Latest Judaism Stories
15th century Book of the Torah

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Leff-091214

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

e are in a time of serious crisis and must go beyond our present levels of chesed.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

They ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

The Rambam says that in order to honor Shabbos, one must wash his hands, face, and feet with warm water on Friday.

The talmid is not allowed to speak up due to any fear. If he remains silent, he is in violation of this prohibition.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/accidental-mitzvos/2014/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: