Mikeitz: Hiddur Mitzvah Part 3

Taste of Halacha and Hashkafa

It was the third night of Chanukah and Yaakov only had two candles.  He lights one in keeping with the basic obligation to light one candle per home.  Later in the evening he received a gift box with a box of candles in it.  Yaakov wants to know if he should make a new Brocha for this Hiddur Mitzvah.  The Levush says he does make a new Brocha.  The Machatzis Hashekel says he does not.  The Sfas Emes brings a proof to the opinion that a new Brocha should be recited:  We see that a Brocha is recited even on the added aspect of Hiddur Mitzvah from the fact that when three people are lighting Menoros in one house the latter two recite their own blessings even though they already fulfilled the basic requirement with the lighting of the first.  We see from here that the Mitzvah of Hiddur Mitzvah is not a part of the Mitzvah but a separate Mitzvah unto itself.  Rabbi Akiva Eiger disagrees.  He says that there is no proof from the blessings made by the added inhabitants of a home.  In that situation they only make a separate blessing because they had specific intent not to fulfill their obligation. However, in the case of Yaakov, once he had fulfilled the basic Mitzvah of Chanukah with the lighting of a single candle he may not recite another Brocha on the added aspect of Hiddur Mitzvah.  Rabbi Akiva Eiger is of the opinion that the Hiddur Mitzvah is a part of the basic Mitzvah but does not require a blessing of its own.    Everyone agrees that after one made a Brocha on a simple esrog, a new Brocha is not recited on a second Esrog however beautiful it may be.  This is because the Hiddur of a Mitzvah, although important, is not a separate Mitzvah unto itself.  From the Sfas Emes we clearly see that he is dealing with the aspect of Hiddur Mitzvah by Chanukah differently than it is dealt with by other Mitzvohs.  The Gaon, HaRav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik Zt”l, concurs with the Sfas Emes.  He uses this idea to explain why the limitation of a “shlish” (one third) does not apply to the Hiddur Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah.  The beautification of this Mitzvah is not an added aspect to the Mitzvah but a Mitzvah itself.  The sages specifically made a decree that we should beautify this Mitzvah multifold.  It is the way in which our forefathers reignited the spirit of the Jewish people in those days.  Now again in our times we too would do well to reignite our burning embers by looking for ways to make Torah and Mitzvohs paramount in our lives, and to make them into vibrant flames  We would do well to take a close look at our schedule and find more time for Torah and Mitzvohs.


Taste of Parasha

Why was it only after Shimon was locked in jail that the brothers realized that they had erred in the treatment of Yosef?  Furthermore, they only acknowledge that they erred in not having listened to his entreaties to save him from the pit.  What was it at this point that made them realize that they were mistaken, but only in that point?  The Or Hachayim Hakadosh answers that they realized the exact measure for measure punishment that they were receiving.  As far as the judgment was concerned they still thought that they were correct.  They could not however come to terms with the fact that they had not had the goodness of heart to have mercy on him when he cried out from the pit.  When Shimon was taken from them to be thrown into jail their hearts ached, their feelings of mercy ignited, and their guilty conscience for blocking out those feelings previously came to the fore.   Most notably, it was no coincidence that Shimon was the one, for he had a leading role in their treatment of Yosef.  The Alter of Slabodka writes that we must be constantly vigilant for those messages and opportunities in life to rectify previous errors.  G-d sends us messages and opportunities to act appropriately in a similar situation that we had erred.  This is called “Teshuvas Hamishkal” (a balanced repentance).  Rabbi Y. Mersky writes that the Chashmonaim rectified the lack luster performance of Mitzvos in the previous generation with their beautiful re-inauguration of the Bais Hamikdash with Hiddur Mitzvah.  Let’s continue in the foot-steps of the Chashmonaim by performing Mitzvos with happiness and with a fastidious observance of all of their details.

This week’s issue is dedicated as a merit for:  Elka bas Yehudis

Have A Great Shabbos!!

About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in YES and is the president of Visionary Reading. He was a Rebbi at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and a founding member of the Greater Washington Community Kollel and the owner of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
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