Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: M'Chanich Children In Correct Mitzvah Observance

As everyone (including the non-jewish barber and cleaner who take their vacation during the three weeks) knows, you cannot use a borrowed lulav on the first day of Sukkos, first two for us galus-niks.  Which, of course, is why we all give our lulav's as a gift on condition it is returned to our friends who don't have a lulav (for whatever reason) on the first day, first two days for us galus-niks.  What may be less well known is that that children (under 13 for boys, 12 for girls) can koneh (aquire), but not makne (uh.... unaquire?).  Therefore, says the Mishna Brura, you need to be sure to makne your lulav to a koton only after you have used it yourself on the first day because he/she will not be able to makne it back to you; first two days for us galus-niks... hey... wait... if you gave it to the koton on the first day, how do you get it back for the second day!?

Baruch HaShem, while this was relevant to me I was able to afford (as attested by my credit card bill, ad hayom haze) to buy a lulav for my son while he was a koton.  Still, I have wondered on and off over the years what the real answer is, given that the Mishna Brura talks about it and he certainly understood about yom tov sheini shel galius.  I finally found a p'sak that it is still proper chinuch to allow a koton to use a borrowed lulav on the first day.  In hilchos pesach.  In the footnote.  Where else?

Halichos Shlomo (Hilchos Pesach, Chap 9, Halacha 44) says that if a child is unable to eat an entire k'zayis of matzah or maror within the prescribed time limit, then he should not make the bracha of "al achilas matzah/maror".   In the footnote he remarks that you can certainly rely on the larger shiur for the time; which he gives as between four and nine minutes.  If the child is not able to eat (swallow) the entire k'zayis within nine minutes, then it is better to have him be yotzei with the bracha of the seder leader rather than risk being m'chanich him in a bracha l'vatala.  (Halichos Shlomo notes that now-a-days, it is even difficult for an adult to eat our hard matzos within the prescribed time.)

Why is this different that allowing him to use a borrowed on the first day?  (see?  I told you he talked about it!)  In the case of the lulav, there is nothing wrong with the lulav itself, just that there is a detail in the halacha that it must be your lulav on the first day.  In the case of achilas matzah and maror, on the other hand, if the food is not eaten within the prescribed time then it is not an achila at all.  The analogous case of luluv would be giving the koton a lemon instead of an esrog.  That's not arba minim and this is not achila; hence, no bracha, even for an adult.

Lesson learned: when learning halacha, don't skip the footnotes and do CYLOR.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…