Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Parshas Yisro:The Mitzva of Emuna

This past week's shiur was on the mitzva of emuna. There are really two questions that I focused on a) is it a mitzvah b) what does this mitzvah entail.

Is Emunah A Mitzvah

Rambam and Ramban

Both the Ramban and Rambam classify emunah as a mitzvah. The Rambam brings a rayah from the gemara in Makkos (23b) that the gematria of Torah is 611 and there are 2 more mitzvos that BB'nei Yisroel heard directly from HKBH-namely the first 2 dibros. We see that emuna which is learnt from the first dibra is a mitzvah. The Ramban in Lo Saseh 5 also counts it as a mitzvah. He is howeevr bothered by the fact that the Rambam learns 4 lavin from the 2nd dibra. According to teh Rambam the gemara should have said that 5 mitzvos came from HKBH. The answer to this question (found in the nosei keilim on Sefer Hamitzvos as well as in Rav Perlow's sefer on the mitzvos of Rav Sa'adia Gaon is to say that only the first part of the 2nd dibra was said by HKBH. The rest of the 2nd dibra was said by Moshe.

B'HAG and Rav Sa'adia Gaon (RSG)

Both the B'HAG and Rav Sa'adia Gaon do not count emuna as a mitzva. The Ramban (aseh 1) explains that the B'HAG holds that emuna is the prerequisite to all mitzvos Before you can accept the g'zeiros of the melech you first have to be accept the person as a melech. Similarly, before we can except the mitzvos we have to first believe in HKBH. The Rashbatz in ohar HaRakia brings a rayah to this shitta from Huryos 12b. The gemara says that the first mitzva accepted by the B'nei Yisroel was not to worship idols. L'chorah, the first mitzva should be emunah. From here we see emuna is not a mitzvah. To answer this rayah the Tashbetz (Siman 129) says the gemara is referring to the first lav accepted. Also, if you look in Rashi there, Rashi quotes both the 1st and 2nd dibra).
The question is what does the B'HAG and RSG do with the gemara in Makkos? Rav Perlow writes an interesting chiddush. He writes that this mitzvah of emuna is really part of the mitzvah of kabbalas ol malchus shamayim in k'riyas shema. The reason emunah is not counted as a separate mitzvah is because the mitzva is done thru saying shema. Having emunah is not a kiyum of the mitzvah, the kiyum is thru expressing emunah in shema. When the gemara refers to "anochi hashem" as a mitzvah it was referring to saying it in shema.

What does this mitzvah entail?

There is a big debate whether the mitzvah of emuna requires dirisha and chakira or emunah peshuta. In the Lev Tov edition of the Chovos HaLevavos, before Sha'ar Yichud there is an extensive hakdama bringing down all the shittos. ayin sham. (Because of this machlokes, the Lev Tov edition does not translate Sha'ar Yichud). The Chinuch seems to hold the basic mitzva is emuna peshuta and the chakiros are a mitzva min hamuvchar. The Rashba and Rivash were against philosophical chakiros. My only question is would they say chakiros that are not philosophical in nature (if such an idea exists, maybe thru nature/biology) are a mitzvah or there is no shuch thing as a mitzvah of chakirah).

I did hear once in a tape from Rav Moshe Wolfson that emuna is a yerusha to all Jews from Avraham. Teh Sho'el U'Meishiv has a similar idea. He writes that the reason the B'HAG did not count emuna as a mitzva is because it required a person to impart his own knowledge (hachra'as hada'as) and a mitzvah by defintion is done as a gezeirah. The Rambam howeevr held the hachra'as hada'as was done by Avraham and once Avraham reached his conclusion that there is a creator, it is not necessary for anyone else to investigate.

Rav Elchanan Wasserman in Kovetz Ma'amarim also writes that emuna is something anyone, even a non Jew can attain by looking at creation. The only reason we fail to do so is because our ta'avos are stopping us. This is why even a Ben Noach will be held responsible for not following the ratzon of Hashem, he should have overcome his ta'avos to realize there is a creator and investigate what that creator wants him to do.

No comments: