Reviewing the Laws of Pesach 2

 This Halacha is an excerpt from our Sefer


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Teaching the laws of the festivals in preparation for the festival:

To teach the laws of the festival thirty days prior to the festival:[1]

The early[2] Sages, which existed at the time that the Temple was established, instituted that the preachers should begin to publicly teach the laws of the upcoming festival, thirty days prior to the festival. Thus, from Purim[3] and onwards they would expound[4] on the laws of Pesach. From the fifth of Iyar and onwards they would expound on the laws of Atzeres[5] [Shavuos], and from the 14th of Elul and onwards they would expound on the laws of the Chag [Sukkos].

The reason behind this institution: This is because every Jew living in Eretz Yisrael, at the time of the Temple, was obligated to bring three sacrifices [to the Temple] on the Festival [the olas Reiyah, Shalmei Simcha and Shalmei Chagigah], and being that the animals to be sacrificed must be clean of all blemish and other invalidations, therefore the sages instituted for the preachers to begin expounding on these laws thirty days prior to the holiday. This was done in order to remind the people of the festival, so they do not forget to prepare animals which are kosher for the sacrifice. They were given thirty days to prepare this.

Does this institution apply even today?[6] Even after the destruction of the Temple this institution remained in place. Every Rebbe would teach his students the laws of the upcoming festival thirty days prior, in order so they become experts in the laws of the festival, and know that which has to be done.[7] [The above institution is with regards to the Rabbi of the students.] In today’s generations however, since the Rabbi’s no longer teach the laws to the students being that they are already all written in books, it is therefore a Mitzvah[8] on every person to learn the laws of the festival prior[9] to the festival until he is expert in them, and knows what is to be done.[10]

Increasing in study two weeks prior to Pesach:[11] [One should increase in learning these laws from Rosh Chodesh Nissan, [2 weeks before Pesach] so he can also do like opinion of Rav Shimon Ben Gamliel.]

  

Summary:

It is a Mitzvah on every person to learn the laws of the festival [thirty days[12]] prior to the festival until he is expert in them, and knows what is to be done.

  

Q&A

 

Does the self learning today need to be done thirty days beforehand?

This is questionable being that Admur does not mention that the self learning today is to also be done thirty days beforehand. Rather he just says to learn prior to the holiday.

  

 

Is this institution an obligation today? What is the meaning of the term “Mitzvah” is it obligatory, or voluntary?

In Chazon Ovadia page 1 he writes that this is not a complete obligation, and thus every person may continue in his learning. However to note that he goes according to Michaber which writes Shoalin. However see also Kelalei Haposkim page 187 that the term Mitzvah is not an obligation. Possibly one can say that the reason for this is because since today everything is written in the sefer one can simply research a law, and thus there is no actual obligation to learn the laws prior to Pesach. Alternatively, perhaps the institution was only for the Teachers and not the students, thus one cannot consider it an obligation. From the Mishna Berurah it is implied that he learns that even today this is an obligation.

 

Today, does one need to learn the laws of Shavuos prior to it?

From the next Halacha it is implied that even the Rebbe’s would not teach the laws prior to Shavuos, as all its laws were already included in the laws of Pesach and Sukkos.

 

Should the Holiday laws be studied also before Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Purim, and Chanukah?

It is not an obligation to learn thirty days prior to the above days, as implied from Admur above. However it goes without saying that one must know all the Holiday laws that are relevant to him.

 

Why is it needed for Admur to state that it’s a mitzvah for each individual to learn the laws of the Holiday before hand, isn’t this obvious, as how else will one know what he is obligated to do? How does this differ from any other set of laws that one must study them prior to doing the commands?

 If one learns that even today one should learn thirty days beforehand, then its novelty is understood. As by other commands one can give himself as much time as he wants beforehand. Alternatively, perhaps the novelty is that one should not rely on the expounding of the community Rabbi on Shabbos Shuva, and rather should learn the laws on his own. Alternatively, perhaps one which was in the midst of learning another practical subject would exempt himself from learning these laws, and thus the novelty is that everyone must/should learn the laws prior to the holiday.


 

[1] 429/1-3

[2] Lit. First. What is the meaning of adding first?

[3] The 14th, as Adar is always a 29 day month, even by a leap year, and thus one begins already from the 14th. [So rules also Mishneh Berurah and other Poskim]

Other opinions: See Chikreiy Halachos of Rav Pekarsky that he learns in Admur that the 30 days begin from after Purim. Vetzaruch Iyun

[4] Asks versus expounds: To note that the Tur/Michaber rules that “One asks about the laws of Pesach”. This seemingly refers only to that if two people ask a question to a Rabbi that one who asks regarding Pesach receives precedence. Thus Admur, based on the Magen Avraham, is negating this opinion. However the Biur Halacha learns that one can learn into the Michaber that asking has the same meaning as expounding. He brings the Ran and Rashba which learn though that asking means as was explained above. However he says that all the other Rishonim rule otherwise.

[5] The name Atzeres is the rabbinical name for Shavuos. Shavuos is the name given by the Torah. The name Atzeres represents the end of the harvest which was begun on Pesach. See the Book of our Heritage for further details.

[6] 429/2-3

[7] 429/2

[8] See Q&A

[9] See Q&A regarding if this is to be done 30 days beforehand.

[10] 429/3. See Q&A for the novelty in this ruling.

[11] Rebbe in Hamaaseh Hu Haikur

[12] Ateres Zikeinim 429; In Admur ibid it is omitted.

 

 

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