Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kedushas Azkaros

אֲבָל מִין יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁכָּתַב סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, שׂוֹרְפִין אוֹתוֹ עִם הָאַזְכָּרוֹת שֶׁבּוֹ, מִפְּנֵי שְׁאֵינוּ מַאֲמִין בִּקְדֻשַּׁת הַשֵּׁם, וְלֹא כְתָבוֹ אֵלָא וְהוּא מַעֲלֶה בְּדַעְתּוֹ שֶׁזֶּה כִּשְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים; וְהוֹאִיל וְדַעְתּוֹ כֵּן, לֹא נִתְקַדַּשׁ הַשֵּׁם, וּמִצְוָה לְשָׂרְפוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא לְהַנִּיחַ שֵׁם לַמִּינִים וְלֹא לְמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם אֲבָל גּוֹי שֶׁכָּתַב אֶת הַשֵּׁם, גּוֹנְזִין אוֹתוֹ; וְכֵן כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ שֶׁבָּלוּ אוֹ שֶׁכְּתָבָן גּוֹי, יִגָּנְזוּ

Here the Rambam seems to state that theoretically if a non-Jew writes the name of Hashem with the intention that it is, in fact, Hashem's name - there is kedusha to that shem. It's only when the writing is done without the proper intention that there is no kedusha and that it must be burnt.

In his chiddushim on the Rambam in Hilchos Tefillin, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik points out that in this respect the lishma needed by ST"aM (Sefer Torah, Tefillin, and Mezuzos) is different than the lishma needed to give a shem Hashem kedusha (rendering it assur to erase that shem).

By ST"aM there is an additional din of lishma that is needed to make the Sefer Torah etc. kosher. A non-Jew is incapable halachically of creating this lishma, and is therefore unable to create a kosher sefer torah etc. However, there is no din of "lishma" per se that is needed by creating a Shem Hashem. Rather, the name just needs to be written "b'toras shem". It needs to be written with the intention that it is the name of Hashem, as opposed to some other word.

Rav Chaim also makes an additional interesting distinction. He explains that the standards for being a Shem Hashem as far as the issur mechica may be different than the standards needed for a Shem Hashem in a Sefer Torah. As far as issur mechika it could be that all you need is "b'toras shem". However, for a sefer torah the azkaros may need additional kavanah lishma as well.