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Friday, August 29, 2008

Update on the Totally New Question

One of my sons, who learns in Eretz Yisrael, pointed out that GS's question about freeing a Shifcha Kena'anis so you can have a minyan for a Women's Prayer Group (http://havolim.blogspot.com/2008/08/totally-new-question.html) missed a very basic point. He's so right, that I have to applaud my wisdom in making this a semi-anonymous blog. Maybe not anonymous enough, I think.

His point was that a Shifcha Kena'anis is already chayav bemitzvos ke'isha. So why would you have to be meshachreir anyone to make a minyan for a Women's Prayer Group? The chiyuv mitzvos is the same before shichrur as it would be after shichrur! It's not mistavra that the reason that an eved is not mitztareif to a men's minyan is his din avdus; most likely the problem is the fact that he's not chayav bemitzvos ke'ish. That, obviously, would not be a problem for a Women's Prayer Group. The only question is whether an eved kena'ani would be mitztareif to the WPG. It so happens that this question has already been addressed: see OC 199:6 and MB SK 14.

I have to say I'm disappointed in you anonymous lomdim. This is a question of first impression, makom heinichu lanu, like Rebbi in Beis Shan. It may be that it was for discussions like this that the entire web was invented! Don't you realize how vital it is that this issue be addressed be'koved rosh and careful thought? We all need to have more kavana in Ahava Rabba, or Ahavas Olam, as may be the case.

Please note:
Not Leitzonus:
A ch'kira: An Eved Kna'ani is not mitztareif to a minyan of men because he is only chayav be'mitzvos ke'isha: is this a sibah, or a siman?: See Comments.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW I AM PROFOUNDLY SHAMED.

Anonymous said...

Have you been nipping at the bug juice?

Barzilai said...

Mishlei 9:8, and let the chips fall where they may.

Barzilai said...

OK, I have to get this in before Elul.

GS wrote me a note, and he made an excellent point. How can I assume that the equal chiyuv in mitzvos among Shifcha Kena'anis and Bas Yisrael indicates equivalence or parity? On the contrary: the fact that an Eved Kna'ani is only chayav ke'isha proves that he is not only quantitatively different, but qualitatively different. If so, the same would be true for a shifcha kna'anis: the fact that she is chayeves bemitzvos ke'isha proves nothing. Her chiyuv mitzvos does not indicate mitzvah-equality, or even similarity, to a bas yisrael.

And I then remembered the Gemara in Gittin 24b. Reb Elozor said that Atem gam Atem means that an eved is excluded, because "mah atem bnei yisroel, ahf shluchachem bnei yisroel." This shows that an eved, as opposed to a Ger, is not called a ben yisrael for purposes of this parsha. Debei Reb Yanai answered that an eved is kasher for shlichus, because the drasha is "mah atem bnei bris, ahf shluchachem bnei bris," and, as Rashi there says, an eved is a ben bris and chayav in mitzvos.

So we see clearly that an eved's chiyuv in mitzvos does not give him any parity with Yisrael: A ger is equal to a yisrael for most dinim in the torah. But an eved, even after milah and tvila, is not.

Thus: my assumption, and my son's assumption, that if they are equally chayav in mitzvos, they are the same, and can be mitztareif, is wrong. An eved is inherently different, and therefore not mitztareif, regardless of level of chiyuv mitzvos. Even if an Eved Kna'ani was chayav in all the mitzvos, he still wouldn't be mitztareif to a minyan, because he's not a Yisrael, as Reb Elazar said.

OK, now Elul can start.

Barzilai said...

I feel like Reb Meir Don Plotzki be'shukah de'Naharda'a.

Anonymous said...

Kamomos Eichus I dont know Lhalacha there the Same ?

nachumj said...

i would think that one way to test this is to ask if the eved / shifcha are motzi others at their mitzva level for brachot and other mitzvot.
if so, that's all we need to know and they should be mitztaref ; if not , why/ how not?

Barzilai said...

Nachum, without checking, I think it's clear in OC 199:6 that an eved can be motzi where his chiyuv is equal. But devarim shbeikedusha are different: there, you need "venikdashti besoch adas bnei yisroel." And, as the Gemara in Gittin 23b makes clear, while a Ger is a Ben Yisrael for this din, an eved is not called a Ben Yisrael. Does this resolve the Chkira? I don't think so: How does Reb Elozor know that he's not called a Ben Yisrael? Probably because the fact that we distinguish him in mitzvos is a siman that he's essentially different.