Friday, February 29, 2008

על מחילת משלוח מנות

רמ"א או"ח סימן תרצה "ואם שולח מנות לרעהו והוא אינו רוצה לקבלם או מוחל לו יצא"

The Chasam Sofer writes (Shu"t 196) that it would appear from this that the Rema agrees to the Manos Halevi who explains that the main reason for the Mitzva of Mishloach Manos is in order to increase the general goodwill and unity in order to counter Hamans accusation that the Jews are a "scattered nation" (implying that they lack in unity and therefore can be easily overcome) as opposed to the reasoning of the Terumas HaDeshen that it is in order to make sure that everyone has what to eat for the Seudah for in this case his friend refuses to accept so the purpose of ensuring food for the Seudah is not fulfilled but the purpose of unity is for is it not written "It is the thought that counts". The Chasam Sofer wonders on what basis the Rema chose the reasoning of the Manot Halevi over that of the Terumat HaDeshen.

My master and teacher the great Gaon R' Asher Weiss, May he live and be well, points to many difficulties with this interpretation. First, we have no reason to believe that the Rema ever saw the book of Alqabets (Manot Halevi) who was his contemporary. Second, even had he seen it, the very idea that the Rema would have based his Halachot on the book of vertlach of (who with all due respect was not quite on the level of the Terumat Hadeshen) Alqabets is unthinkable. In general the Rema focuses on the teachings of the Ashkenzim (such as the Terumas HaDeshen) and he would be unlikely to base himself the interpretation of Alqabets who was a Sephardi. Besides for all this, this isn't the correct explanation of the Passuk, according to the Peshat. The simple interpretation is that Haman was telling Achasverush that the destruction of the Jews would not cause a specific land to be devastated since they are spread out in many lands. Certainly within the seventy sides of the Torah, each side of which the Gra explains has 613 gates there is room for this explanation as well but it is not the plain meaning of the Passuk. (Note: that the Bach does make use of this Manot Halevi but it is difficult to explain this to be the understanding of the Rema.)

Further, one needs to explain an apparent redundancy in the Rema's language, he refers to his friend "not wanting to accept" and "forgiving" the gift. If one doesn't want to accept then obviously you are forgiving and so vice versa. What is the difference between these two categories?

The Mishna Berurah has already noted this difficulty:

מ"ב-או מוחל לו-ר"ל שאומר הריני כאלו התקבלתי

R' Asher suggests (based on this) that whereas a "Mechila" is a rejection in a friendly manner. "Thank you, but I have no need of it. I feel as thankful to you as if I had accepted it, a refusal to accept is a rejection, as if to say "why you are you sending me this nonesense, I have no need of it." Certainly, that type of response will not increase any friendship, so we see that the Manot Halevi's reasoning is claerly not very relevant. Rather, the reasoning of the Terumas HaDeshen is more relevant. The main thing is to make sure everyone has food available for the Seudah, as long as you checked up on your neighbour and made sure he had what to eat you have already fulfilled the Mitvah, even if he refuses to accept.

R' Yaakov Kamenetzky in his Emet L' Yaakov points out (in many places) that the Posekim write in the order of "לא זו אף זו". Accordng to R' Asher's explanation, "refusal to accept" is clearly a greater chiddush then Mechila would be and therefore should be mentioned last.

I'd like to suggest another possible explanation. I would suggest that the "not willing to accept" refers to a case where I actually prepared the Mishloach Manot but the other person refused to accept. In the case of Mechila, I did not even put together a Mishloach Manot, rather I met him the street and expressed a desire to send him Mishloach Manot to which he replied that he already has enough for the Seudah. The word Mechila implies forgiving an obligation (in this case my desire to fulfill my Mitzvoh through him) , rather then a specific object - V'Dok.


Anonymous said...

So according to you, I don't even have to attempt to send him something? A phone call will work? Talk about an opportunity for ha'arama...

Wolf2191 said...

So it would seem. It isn't Haaramah. The Mitzvoh is to check if he has a Seudah. If you''ve done that then you have fulfilled the Mitzvah.

I am definitely not Paskening though.

Any idea how I can get the fromat of the post to look normal. It seems to have compacted itself fro some reason.

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