Shabbat Parashat Tazria| 5766
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Bedikat Chametz And Its Beracha Via a Shaliach - Part I - From Amud Hay’mini, siman 47
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 432:2) rules: “If the homeowner wants, he can have members of his household stand by him when he makes the beracha [before beginning to search the house for chametz], and then they will disperse to check, each person in a different place, in reliance on the homeowner’s beracha.” The Magen Avraham (ad loc.) explains that this is based on the rule (in siman 8) that when several people do a mitzva at the same time, one can make the beracha on behalf of all. The Magen Avraham continues, that it sounds that if the homeowner does not check at all but appoints a shaliach (agent) to do the entire bedika (searching), the shaliach makesthe beracha. However, he is puzzled how it is possible for someone who is not obligated to do the mitzva to make the beracha. It is true that one who blows a shofar on behalf of a group makes the beracha for all, but that is because those who are listening also hear the beracha and thereby fulfill their beracha obligation. In contrast, in this case, only the shaliach is involved in the beracha and he is not obligated in the mitzva to which the beracha refers. The Magen Avraham answers that we must say that the shaliach whodoes the bedika must be doing a mitzva and is, therefore, similar to a mohel, who makes a beracha even though the father is the one who is obligated to do the milah.
The Magen Avraham is apparently talking about a case where the homeowner is not present at the time that the bedika and its beracha are done. It is thus different from the case of shofar, where the m’shaleiach (the one who appoints the shaliach) hears the beracha and it then relates to him. Here, where the shaliach is on his own, it is difficult to find a precedent that he can generate his own beracha despite his not being obligated in the mitzva he performs on another’s behalf. The precedent he finds is from the brit milah performed by a mohel,not in the presence of the father, who is obligated in the mitzva. We see that the beracha can be done by one who performs a mitzva even though the beracha willnotrelate directly to the one who is obligated in the mitzva.
[Editor’s note- Rav Yisraeli delves into the fascinating discussion as to whether a mohel can perform a brit milah on behalf of a father in such a way that the mitzva relates to the father. Much of our discussion hinges on the conclusion of that issue, but for the purposes of our treatment, we will have to skip the bulk of the analysis.]
The Rosh talks about a father who asks a mohel to circumcise his son, but another mohel preempts him without permission. The question is whether we make the second mohel pay a fine for “stealing” another’s mitzva. The Rosh says no, because given that the father is not doing the milah himself, all other Jews are equal in the mitzva, and the first mohel does not acquire special rights that would enable him to charge the second mohel for stealing his mitzva. The Shach proves from the Rosh that when a mohel performs a brit milah, the mitzva relates to the mohel, not to the father. When the father falls out of the picture, all of Bnei Yisrael become obligated to perform the brit (Kiddushin 29a). If so, the Magen Avraham’s proof to his case is difficult. The reason the mohel can make the beracha is because he becomes obligated to do the milah. But one who does bedika on a friend’s house has no personal connection to the mitzva, except through the m’shaleiach, so how do we know that he can make the beracha in the m’shaleiach’sabsence?
The Magen Avraham understands that shlichut works for milah. The question of whether the mohel stole from his counterpart does not apply to the mitzva, which anyway relates to the father, but to the beracha. [The sugya discussing the fine emphasizesthe stealing of berachot].
[We will continue from this point next week.]
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