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Pesachim 8


QUESTION: The Gemara says that if a person says, "I hereby give this money to Tzedakah in order that my child be healed," he is considered a complete Tzadik and has fulfilled the Mitzvah of giving Tzedakah perfectly. How can he be considered to be performing the Mitzvah perfectly if he is doing it in order to receive reward? That is not a perfect fulfillment of a Mitzvah! As the Mishnah (Avos 1:2) says, "Do not be like a servant who serves his master on condition to receive payment!" How can the Gemara call such a person a "complete Tzadik?"


(a) TOSFOS in many places explains, based on the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (4a), that it is only when the person concedes give the Tzedakah in any event, whether or not the child recuperates, that he is considered a complete Tzadik. He is going to give the Tzedakah anyway, and he just appends to it a prayer that in the merit of giving Tzedakah his son should be healthy. That is not considered serving one's master in order to receive payment. The Mishnah in Avos refers to one who does the Mitzvah *only* for the purpose of receiving reward.

(b) TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ suggests that the Mishnah in Avos, which says that a person should not serve his master with intent to receive payment, does not mean that it is a *bad trait* to do so. There is nothing wrong with serving Hashem in order to receive reward. It just shows that the person has not yet reached the level of being a Chasid, someone who does the Mitzvos only in order to do the will of Hashem with no ulterior motives. When the Gemara says he is a complete Tzadik, it means he is only a Tzadik -- he is not yet a Chasid.

(c) The TUR (YD 247) says that although it is normally prohibited to test Hashem by saying that one will do a Mitzvah to see if Hashem will reward him for it, it is permitted to test Hashem when it comes to Tzedakah by saying that one is giving Tzedakah in order to see if Hashem will reward him for it. If so, the Mitzvah of Tzedakah might be an exception to the rule expressed in Avos that a person should not serve Hashem in order to receive reward. Here, it is permitted to test Hashem since the reward is certain (Hashem promises to give reward to those who give Tzedakah; see Malachi 3:10; Devarim 15:10) then perhaps he can be called a complete Tzadik even if he gives Tzedakah in order to receive reward. (The TUR, when he says this difference between Tzedakah and other Mitzvos, does not say it in the context of explaining our Gemara.)

However, the BEIS YOSEF and the REMA there point out that in Maseches Ta'anis (9a), which seems to be the source for the Tur's words, the Gemara implies that not all types of Tzedakah will result in a reward. Only with regard to the Tzedakah of Ma'aser given to the Levi does Hashem promise to give a reward. The other Acharonim agree to them on this point, as cited by the Pischei Teshuvah. If so, this will not suffice to explain our Gemara, which is not discussing Ma'aser.


QUESTION: The Gemara says that a person who does not own land is exempt from the Mitzvah of going up to Yerushalayim (Aliyah l'Regel) on the three festivals.

The TZELACH was asked by RAV YESHAYA BERLIN (author of the bracketed marginal notations in the Vilna Shas) why it is that the RAMBAM never mentions this Halachah. Why does the Rambam not record this ruling, with which nobody seems to argue?

ANSWER: The TZELACH answers that this exemption from Aliyah l'Regel is actually subject to a dispute in our Gemara. The Gemara says that the verse, "No one will covet your land" teaches that no harm will befall one who is on his way to perform a Mitzvah. Another verse ("In the morning you shall turn and go back to your dwelling") teaches that while *returning* from performing a Mitzvah one will suffer no harm. The Gemara asks that if one is assured that he will not be harmed while returning from a Mitzvah, then certainly he will not be harmed while on his way to perform a Mitzvah, and if so, why is the first verse needed to teach that one will not be harmed while on his way to perform a Mitzvah? The Gemara concludes that the first verse is needed to teach something else -- the Halachah that one must have land in order to be obligated in the Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel.

The Tzelach says that Rav, in the previous Gemara, seemed uncertain about whether a person would be protected while returning from a Mitzvah, because he did not want to guarantee the students of the Yeshivah that they could be assured that no harm will occur to them when they returned home alone at night. If Rav maintains that they might be harmed while returning, then obviously no verse teaches that one will not be harmed while returning from the performance of a Mitzvah, and the first verse cited above *is* needed to teach that one will not be harmed while on his way to perform a Mitzvah. If so, the verse is no longer available to teach the Halachah of Rav Ami, and therefore the Rambam is justified in not ruling like Rav Ami. He is ruling like Rav, that a person performing a Mitzvah is only protected supernaturally from all harm on his way to perform the Mitzvah, but not while returning.

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