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WHY? And Noah Feldman

I found out who didn't like the blog. It was Noah Feldman!! Yes, he of the Korean wife and Gentile children who complained about being cropped out of the Maimonidies alumni picture. He knows how stridently opposed I am to intermarriage so he spread the word that my blog is "pasul".

Well, at least he didn't attack me in the New York Times.


I MADE THAT UP. I THOUGHT A LITTLE SENSATIONALISM WOULD LIVEN THINGS UP HERE AT ALLEYWAYS. The true "tzaddik" has not yet come forward but I was assured by the Rosh Yeshiva Shlita that although I may no longer teach in the Yeshiva, I may clean the bathrooms and receive ONLY 40 percent below the minimum wage for the privilege!


[I know that you know that I am joking but there is always that one person who doesn't know me and will take me seriously.]

Seriously now: We know that the Kohen Gadol had to bring a complete issaron [an amount] of flour every day as a korban called a "minchas chavitin". Half an issaron was brought in the morning and the second half of the issaron was brought in the afternoon. The Minchas Chinuch asked what the halacha would be if all the Kohen Gadol had available was a HALF of an issaron of flour. Is he still allowed to bring the chavitin?

Apparently, the answer would depend on a famous argument in the Ahachronim. Everybody agrees that one is not allowed to do an aveirah even with less than the required shuir. It is forbidden, for example, to eat less than a kezais of unkosher food [even though there would be no lashes incurred]. What about doing a mitzva with less than a shiur. For example, if one has less than a kezais of matza on pesach should he still eat it even thought he has less than the required amount. This is called "chatzi shiur mitzva". Of course he would not be fulfilling the mitzva in the ideal way, nevertheless he would have half a mitzva, which is better than nothing. Some Acharonim say that there is a concept of "chatzi shiur mitzva" and others argue that chazti shiur applies only to aveiros and not to mitzvos.

Our argument would depend on the two opinions. If there is a concept of "chatzi shiur mitzva" he should bring the chavitin even though he only has a half of an issaron and if there is no such concept then the kohen should not bring it. So said the Pardes Yoseph.

However the Minchas Chinuch [136/10] seems to say that even according to the opinions that maintain that there normally is a concept of chatzi shiur mitzva, this mitzva is different and the kohen should NOT bring this deficient offering.

That compels us to cry out - WHY??? Why can we not say chatzi shiur mitzva with respect to the chavitin.

This is no joke!!!

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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