At the conclusion of this week's parsha the Torah commands us in the mitzvah of tzitzis. The Gimorah in Yivamos 4a learns from a drasha that one may wear shatnez (wool and linen) in his tzitzis, and that this is the source in the Torah that asay is doche losasay- the asay of tzitzis allows one to transgress the losasay of shatnez.
The Bris Avraham asks a question on the Gimorah based on the following two notions: first the Gimorah in Yivamos 4b says the Torah only prohibited shatnez when the one wearing the shatnez derives a physical benefit from the garment. Second, the opinion of the Rashba in Niddarim 15a is that the rule of mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu (mitzvos were not given for pleasure purposes) dictates that any physical benefit derived from the performance of a mitzvah is not considered pleasure. Based on these premises the Bris Avraham suggests that while wearing tzitzis one will not be deriving benefit from the garment. Therefore even if the garment contains shatnez one would not be prohibited from wearing it since one is only prohibited to wear shatnez when he derives benefit from the garment. How can the Gimorah learn that asay is doche a losasay from the fact that tzitzis can be worn with shatnez, if when one wears tzitzis with shatnez there is no prohibition of shatnez at all?
The Bris Avraham answers that we only apply the rule of mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu if one could not perform the mitzvah in any other manner other than by trangresing the avaira. In the case of tzitzis one is not required to wear a linen garment creating a situation of shatnez. Therefore when the Torah says that we may wear linen garments with wool strings, it is not as a result of the general rule of mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu since there is a way to perform the mitzvah without transgressing any prohibitions- a wool garment with wool strings.
The Imrai Bina (hilchos tzitzis 3) offers another answer to the question of the Bris Avraham. Mitzvos can be categorized in two groups: mitzvos in which physical pleasure is an integral part of the mitzvah for example eating, and mitzvos whose essence is unrelated to receiving any pleasure for example Tiffilin. The Rashba that we cited earlier that is of the opinion that any pleasure derived while performing a mitzvah is allowed even if it would otherwise be forbidden, only applies to the mitzvos that the pleasure is not an integral part of the mitzvah. If one derives pleasure from such a mitzvah we say he is not doing the action for the sake of the pleasure rather for the sake of the mitzvah and is therefore permitted. Whereas if the mitzvah itself requires one to receive pleasure we will not allow one to receive that pleasure from a forbidden source for he is in fact acting for the sake of the pleasure. Therefore we cannot apply the rule of mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu to the mitzvah of tzitzis for it is a mitzvah that requires one to receive pleasure, namely the warmth of the garment.
We find this concept from the Rishon Reb Avraham Min Hahar in Niddarim 48. The Mishna says that one can prohibit one to learn Torah from his sefer by making a nedder. Reb Avraham Min Hahar asks how can one forbid one to learn Torah? Since learning Torah is a mitzvah we should apply the rule of mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu. He answers that we only say mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu regarding mitzvos that are primarily action based, therefore when there is any pleasure derived we can disqualify it since that is not the reason for the action. However the mitzvah of learning Torah is primarily and essentially for the sake of pleasure and enjoyment. It for that reason that an uvel (morner) is forbidden to learn Torah, as the passuk states pikudai Hashem yisharim misamchai lev. Therefore we cannot apply the rule of mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu to the mitzvah of learning Torah since we cannot say that one is not acting for the sake of pleasure, for by this mitzvah one indeed is seeking the pleasure that accompanies the mitzvah.
I want to suggest another answer to the question of the Bris Avraham of how can we learn from the allowance of shatnez in tzitzis that asay is doche a losasay if by tzitzis there is no prohibition of shatnez since one is not deriving benefit from the garment according to the Rashba. I think that when the Rashba said that any pleasure derived from a mitzvah is not considered pleasure it was only to say that the forbidden pleasure would be permitted if derived from a mitzvah. However the Rashba would agree that there is a physical pleasure that is derived, only that it is not forbidden under theses circumstances. Therefore with regards to shatnez we only require one to derive benefit from the garment in order for it to be considered that he is wearing the garment containing shatnez. If one is not deriving benefit from a garment he is not considered wearing it. The actual pleasure is not prohibited; rather it is a precondition in wearing the garment. Although the pleasure derived while performing the mitzvah of tzitzis will be permitted it is nonetheless a pleasure and should be sufficient to consider the garment worn. Therefore even if we apply the rule of mitzvos lav lihanos nitnu to the mitzvah of tzitzis there would still be a necessity for asay doche losasay.
Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 6/17/2011 02:14:00 PM