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Thought for the Day: Preparing for Second Day of Yom Tov on First Day/Lifetime of Learning

I just listened to the third of R' Fuerst's shiurim on preparing from one day of Yom Tov to the next (or from Shabbos to Yom Tov or vice versa... all the same question).  The basics are are well known: it is forbidden to prepare from one day of Yom Tov to the next.  But why?

To get to why, let's start with an interesting חידוש of the Chayei Adam: one is permitted to take food out of the freezer on the first day for the second day, but only as long as the food is taken out early in the the day, but not close to sundown.  Hang on there, quicks draw.  If that's called preparing (and there is not apparent reason to think it isn't), then why is it permitted at all?  On the other hand, if that is not called preparing (we'll need to understand why not), then what difference does it make whether it is early in the day or close to sundown?

First let me forestall answering: "Heck!  It's not no work at all and barely takes a few seconds."  That doesn't help, as we see from the fact that one is not allowed roll the sefer Torah on the first day of Yom to the right place for the second day -- even though that would only take a few seconds and could certainly be done while reading the cholim list.  So magnitude of work is not the issue.

R' Fuerst said he looked high and low for days until, בסיעתא דשמיא, he found an explanation from the Steipler.  The entire issue is one of זלזול/disparagement for the Yom Tov and is founded on the איסור of  ממצוא חפצך -- that you need to refrain from your own desires on Shabbos and Yom Tom in deference to HaShem's.  When I take out the kugel from the freezer close to sunset on the first day, I am announcing with my actions that my needs (I want to have hot food earlier) override the holiness of the day.  That is, I am explicitly stealing moments from the first day of Yom Tov for my own, selfish use.  That is degrading the the holiness of the day.  If, on the other hand, I take the food out early in the day, then it is not obvious at all that this is for the second day.  There is no disparagement in that case.  (Please note that no actual מלאכה is being done; that is certainly forbidden.)

In the shiur R' Fuerst mentioned that R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach had wanted to make even a bigger חידוש -- that one should be able to take the food out even right before sundown because you weren't doing anything; you were simply stopping the process of keeping it cold.  However, R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach later retracted because he saw a Mishna Brura (254:26) that says one is not allowed to remove bread from the oven on Shabbos.  Now, all one is doing is stopping the heating process, yet is it still forbidden.  Therefore, stopping the removal of head should also be forbidden.  What amazed me about that story was that R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach had surely seen that Mishna Brura before -- many times before, I am certain.  Yet, when he saw it one more time, he again contemplated its meaning and found he needed to change his p'sak and behaviour.

To the world, "live and learn" is a cliché that one's knowledge increases with experience.  The our sages it is anything but a cliché, it is an imperative: live and also learn.


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