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Nedarim, 48


QUESTION: When one makes a Neder prohibiting himself from having pleasure from his friend, he is prohibited to use even items that are partially owned by his friend, that his friend owns in partnership. For this reason, the Mishnah states that he is prohibited to use the synagogue of the town and the Sefarim in the synagogue, because those items are partially owned by his friend (as a paying member of the community).

The Mishnah is referring to Sefarim of Tanach and other Sifrei Kodesh that are used for the Mitzvah of learning Torah. Why, then, is the person prohibited from using the Sefarim? We know that there is a principle that "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu," Mitzvos cannot be considered to be a source of physical benefit, and the pleasure derived from a Mitzvah is not considered Hana'ah. Hence, he should be permitted to use the Sefarim!


(a) The RASHBA asks this question. Because of this question, he says that the Girsa of the Mishnah must be amended and this statement omitted from the Mishnah. His opinion is that the person is permitted to use the Sefarim since it is not considered having Hana'ah from his friend, because "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu."

(b) RABEINU AVRAHAM MIN HA'HAR answers this question with a unique approach. He writes that the concept of "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu" applies only to Mitzvos that involve physical acts that we are obligated to perform. When performing such Mitzvos, one does not do the act to have physical pleasure from it, but rather to fulfill the will of Hashem. In contrast, the essence of the Mitzvah of learning Torah is so that we come to understand the truths of the Torah and to enjoy the accomplishment of perceiving the Divine wisdom behind the righteous commandments of Hashem. Therefore, it cannot be said that the Mitzvah of learning Torah is not an act of Hana'ah. Rather, it is an act of Hana'ah, and therefore the Mudar Hana'ah may not use Sefarim in which his friend has a share.

The RAN (37a, DH Amar Shmuel) agrees with the Rashba, that the concept of "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu" applies also to learning Torah. The AYELES HA'SHACHAR (16b) says that the Ran agrees that having pleasure from Torah learning is an integral part of the Mitzvah (like Rabeinu Avraham Min ha'Har says), but he says that since that pleasure is part of the commandment to learn Torah, the rule of "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu" applies to it like it applies to every Mitzvah. (See also MESHOVEV NESIVOS 72:17, DH Gam, who discusses this issue of whether the Mitzvah of learning Torah is included in the principle of "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu.")

HALACHAH: This issue has practical relevance to other Halachos. For example, when one buys something new that is of value to him and causes him joy, he should recite the Berachah of "Shehecheyanu" (see Shulchan Aruch OC 223). The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 223:5) writes that when one buys Sefarim (even expensive ones), he should *not* recite the Berachah of "Shehecheyanu," because the Berachah was established for one who derives pleasure from the item that he bought, and the pleasure derived from new Sefarim is not considered pleasure because "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu." This seems to be in agreement with the Rashba. According to Rabeinu Avraham Min ha'Har, one *should* recite "Shehecheyanu" upon the purchase of new Sefarim, because the pleasure of learning Torah *is* considered pleasure and "Mitzvos Lav Lihanos Nitnu" does not apply. (There is room to say, however, that even Rabeinu Avraham Min ha'Har would agree with the ruling of the Magen Avraham, since the pleasure one gets from the Sefarim is not physical pleasure, and perhaps the Berachah of "Shehecheyanu" was instituted only for physical pleasure.)

The SHA'AREI TESHUVAH (ad loc.) quotes other Acharonim who disagree with the Magen Avraham. Similarly, the Mishnah Berurah (223:19) cites the CHAYEI ADAM who disagrees with the Magen Avraham. His reasoning is that the person who acquired the new Sefer is happy with his acquisition, he should recite the Berachah since the Berachah was instituted for the joy that one experiences and not for the use that he will derive from the item. The MISHNAH BERURAH implies that, in practice, it is better not to recite "Shehecheyanu" upon the purchase of new Sefarim, but he concludes that one who recites "Shehecheyanu" should not be admonished ("Ein Limchos"). (See also Shulchan Aruch OC 22 and the BI'UR HALACHAH there with regard to reciting "Shehecheyanu" upon the purchase of a new Talis and Tefilin.)


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