Sunday, February 10, 2008

Earning a Living - Part 2, Minyan Hamitzvos

In a previous post we discussed a point made by Rav Hershel Schachter regarding the halachos of earning a living. Here is a quote from that post:

However, the Gra on this Rema brings a Rashi in Baba Metziah that when the gemara darshens the pasuk of "v'hodata lahem es haderech yelchu bah" - zu bais chayehem, it is referring to earning a parnassah. Thus, it would seem from this Gra that we actually have a Biblical source that one should earn a parnassah.My only question on this is: if so, why isn't earning a living in minyan hamitzvos??

I recently discovered an answer to my question of why this mitzvah wouldn't be in minyan hamitzvos. This gemara in Baba Metziah actually discusses a number of different mitzvos learnt from this pasuk. For example, the mitzvah of bikur cholim is also learnt from this pasuk.

In Shoresh Sheini of the Rambam's Sefer HaMitzvos the Rambam discusses the mitzvah of bikur cholim and other mitzvos learnt from this pasuk. The Rambam sets down a principle that, in general, dinim learnt out from the 13 middos are not part of minyan hamitzvos (even if they may be d'orayssa). The only exception is if the gemara specifically indicates that the mitzvah should be counted in the minyan hamitzvos. The Rambam says that the B'Hag disagreed with this principle and therefore counted mitzvos like bikur cholim as separate mitzvos in minyan hamitzvos. The Rambam argues and says that in reality bikur cholim and the other mitzvos learnt from this derasha are subsumed under the mitzvah of v'ahavta l'reacah kamocha. The Rambam reiterates this in hilchos aveil 14:1 where he says that although bikur cholim, nichum aveilim, etc. are part of v'ahavta l'reacha kamocha, they are also independent mitzvos, but only m'drabbanan. So we see that the mitzvos learnt out of this pasuk are actually subject to a dispute between the Rambam and the Baal Hilchos Gedolos as to whether to count these as separate mitzvos, or to include them as part of other mitzvos.

This answers my question regarding earning a parnassah. If we say, like Rashi, that one of the derashos from this pasuk is to earn a living, whether its counted in minyan hamitzvos would seem to be a dispute between the Rambam and the B'hag.

The Rambam also cites the B'hag's opinion that fearing talmidei chachamim is its own mitzvah in minyan hamitzvos. Again the Rambam argues that the derashah of es Hashem Elokecha tira - l'rabos talmidei chachamim is only a derasha, and not to be included in minyan hamitzvos. In fact, in mitzvas aseh 209 the Rambam is consistent and says the mitzvah to fear talmidei chachamim is subsumed under the mitzvah to honor them, which is an explicit pasuk of mipnei seivah takum. This is in contrast to honoring and fearing one's parents which is counted as two separate mitzvos.