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Why Wait?

The Sefer Hachinuch mitzva 6 says that the Beis Din has the right to coerce a person to eat matza. The Minchas Chinuch asks - Why did the Sefer Hachinuch wait until mitzva 6 to talk about the right of Beis Din to coerce? It is true of the earlier mitzvos as well?

He answers that in this instance the Sefer Hachinuch is telling us a special chiddush. When talking about the earlier mitzvos such as having children or bris milah there is no reason to think that if coerced one would not fulfill his obligation. But if one is forced to eat then on might think that such eating is called "achila shelo kidarka" - unnatural eating and therefore he would not fulfill his obligation. That is why the S.H. tells us that even in this case a person fulfills his obligation.

But we may wonder why we would think someone who is forced to eat is considered eating "shelo kidarka". "Shelo kidarka" means that for instance a person mixes something very bitter into his food and eats it or if he eats something so hot that he burns his throat while eating. But in this case he is eating normally. The reason he STARTED eating was because of coercion but the actual eating is normal - "kidarka". [Sefer Avnei Chein]

So the question resurfaces [How does a question resurface? Is a question in the construction business? Isn't it called "resurfacing" when you put a new floor down?]. Why only now does the S.H. tell us that the Beis Din may coerce an individual to perform a mitzva when it is true of the earlier mitzvos as well?

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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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