In parshas Acharai Mos (17:13) the Torah commands us in the mitzvah of kisoi hadam -covering the blood after a bird or a chaya (wild animal) is shechted. The mitzvah does not apply to beheimos (farm animals).
There is a machlokes as to the appropriate time to make the Brachah on the mitzvah of kisoi hadam. The R"Osh in the sixth perek of chullin (perek kisoi hadam) quotes the B'Hag that says the proper time to recite the brachah on the mitzvah of kisoi hadam is after the blood is already covered. Although generally we require that a brachah be recited prior to the performance of a mitzvah (over la-asiason), with regard to the mitzvah of kisoi hadam we are unable to recite the brachah prior to its performance. He explains that this is because the mitzvah of kisoi hadam is actually a part of the mitzvah of shechitah, it is the conclusion of the mitzvah. Therefore after the shechitah, prior to the covering of the blood one is in middle of a mitzvah, and one should not recite a brachah in the middle of a mitzvah. The R"Osh agrees with the B'Hag that one should not make a brachah in the middle of a mitzvah. However he argues with the B'Hag regarding the nature of the relationship that the mitzvos of shechitah and kisoi hadam share. The R"Osh says that the mitzvah of kisoi hadam is a separate mitzvah, and not a conclusion to the mitzvah of shechitah. Therefore one should recite the brachah of kisoi hadam prior to covering the blood in accordance with the general rule of over la-asiason.
The Bais Halevi (Tishuvos chelek 2 siman 14) points out an apparent contradiction in the opinion of the R"Osh. In regards to the proper time to recite the brachah on washing one's hands, there is a machlokes if the brachah should be recited prior to drying one's hands or after they are already dry. The Or Zaruah (siman 79) and the Hagaos Ashrei( Brachos 2 :11) are of the opinion that one should only recite the brachah after they have dried their hands. The R"Osh in P'sachim (1:10) and in Brachos (3:34) says that one should recite the brachah prior to drying one's hands. The opinion of the R"Osh by kisoi hadam was not to make a brachah in the middle of a mitzvah. He only argued that one make the brachah of kisoi hadam between the shechitah and the covering because he said it was a separate mitzvah, and not in the middle of the mitzvah. Since the drying of one's hands is surely not a separate mitzvah from the mitzvah of washing one's hands, the time in between washing and drying is considered in middle of a mitzvah. In consistence with his opinion by kisoi hadam, the R"Osh should hold that one not recite the brachah until after he dry his hands!
The Bais Halevi answers that we must properly define what is considered "in the middle of a mitzvah". In order to be considered the middle of a mitzvah there must have already been completed a functioning initial part of the mitzvah. In the example of the mitzvah of shechitah and kisoi hadam, the shechitah is functioning and complete after the shechitah regardless of whether the kisoi hadam is ever completed. The shechitah works and one may eat the meat even if the blood is never covered. Therefore should kisoi hadam and shechitah be viewed as one mitzvah, we would consider the time after the shechitah to be in middle of a mitzvah. Whereas regarding the mitzvah of washing one's hands, the time after washing one's hands until they are dried is not considered the middle of the mitzvah. This is due to the fact that without drying one's hands the washing does not work. One may not eat until he has dried his hands. Therefore the time after one washes his hands before they are dried is not considered the middle of the mitzvah since there has not yet been a functioning part of the mitzvah completed. Although a certain aspect of the mitzvah has technically begun, we consider this point to still be the beginning of the mitzvah. Therefore the R"Osh is consistent in saying that one should make a brachah prior to drying his hands.
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Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 4/14/2011 11:39:00 PM