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Thought for the Day: The One B'Di'Avad That Is L'Chatchila

Let's say Bob walks into a 7-11, brandishing a revolver, and demands a Big Gulp size slurpee; which the clerk nervously gives him.  Stan walks into a different 7-11, also brandishing a revolver, and demands $3.00 from the till.  The clerk nervously gives Stan the money and Stan makes his getaway.  Stan drives to yet another 7-11, walks in, and asks, "May I please have a large slurpee?"  Stan gets his slurpee, pays the clerk, says "Keep the change!", and walks out calmly and very happy.

Question: Does Bob own his slurpee?  Answer: No, he has a stolen slurpee in his possession.  What about if Stan asks you about his slurpee?  "Slurpee!? You aren't allowed to commit armed robbery in the first place!", you opine.  "I didn't ask that", says Stan (rolling his eyes), "I know that l'chatchila I am not allowed to steal the money; I didn't ask that.  I am asking if, b'di'avad, I own the slurpee."  "Well... yes, now that you have paid the cashier at the second store with money -- even though the money was stolen and you weren't allowed to steal it in the first place -- you do own the slurpee."  "Man," says Stan, "You really need to learn not to give mussar all the time.  Even you admit that I legally own this slurpee, and that's all I asked.  Sheesh!"

Am I being too subtle here?  "b'di'avad" is not the question you should be asking l'chatchila.  However, I have found one case where b'di'avad is l'chatchila.  Here goes.  There is a general rule that something used in mitzvah observance should be made by someone who is m'tzuva in that mitzvah.  For example, making a sukkah should, l'chatchila, be done by a Jewish man over the age of 13.  He can get help, but it is preferable that he do the actual construction.  Another case is tzitzis.  Tzitzis should, l'chatchila, be tied onto the garment by a male Jew over the age of 13.  If a goy makes them, they are pasul -- even b'di'avad, even if a Jew is standing over him to be sure he has the correct intentions.  In fact, the tzitzis would have to be untied and then re-tied to the garment to make it kosher.

If a woman makes them, they are kosher b'di'avad, even if she makes them by herself (we believe her that she has the appropriate kavanos).

What about a Jewish boy?  If he is making them for a gadol and a gadol is standing over him, they kosher l'chatchila.  If he is making them by himself for a gadol, however, they are pasul; even b'di'avad.  We do not believe him that he had the right kavanos; they would need to be untied and re-attached properly.  (Mishna Brura on siman 14, syef 1, sk 4)  However, everyone agrees that a Jewish boy who is of educable age (6 - 8, depending on the boy), may l'chatchila tie tzitzis on a garment for himself; it is even laudable.  Moreover, when he turns 13, he does not have to untie those tzitzis (that were made by a koton); even l'chatchila he may continue wearing (with some pride, I would say) those tzitzis. (Biur Halacha, there, dh l'hatzrich anashim; it's the first one on that siman.)

There you have it.  The one b'di'avad that is l'chatchila.  The rest?  See above.

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