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Arvus for Women and Children

By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Posted on 09/02/18

In Devarim, Perek Chof Tes, posuk chof ches it says that the hidden belongs to Hashem whereas the open and what is public belongs to us and to our children. Rashitells us the dots that are seen above the words “us and our children” in the Sefer Torah teach us that even regarding the open and public things the Jews were not responsible for one another until they arrived in Eretz Yisroel. We learn the concept of arvus from this. Arvus refers to the fact that not only am I responsible to do mitzvosand refrain from doing aveiros, I am responsible that my fellow Jew does his mitzvos and does not do aveiros.


There is a concept of shomea ke’oneh regarding mitzvos where one says something and another person is yotzei. This mitzvah can extend itself even in the case where the person being motzi the other person has already fulfilled the mitzvah; he is just doing it to be motzi the other person. This could be done since he has the concept of arvusRashi in Rosh Hashana explains that the reason why one can be motzi another person even though he already fulfilled the mitzvah is because since a person has a responsibility to make sure the other person does the mitzvah, it is therefore as if he himself did not fulfill his obligation of the mitzvah since he must make sure the other person is mekayem the mitzvah.


The Tzlach says that the din of arvus is only applicable for mitzvos min HaTorah not De’Rabbonon. The Tzlach explains this based on the Rambam who says when it comes to a loan, if Reuven guarantees the loan for Shimon, it is only on a fixed loan. If Reuven says I will guarantee any loan that you lend Shimon that would not make Reuven liable since a guarantee may only be made on a fixed amount. The same holds true with mitzvos; if it is min Ha’Torah, it is a fixed amount whereas mitzvos MiDe’Rabbonon could be unlimited. Therefore, there is no arvus for mitzvos De’Rabbonon.


We find that there is arvus regarding reading of the megillah. How could that be if it is a mitzvas DeRabbonon? A woman is only mechuyev to say Birkas Hamazon miDe’Rabbanan. Is there an application of arvus regarding a woman? The same question can be asked in the case of being motzi a kotton regarding any mitzvah since the kotton is only mechuyev miDe’Rabonon. Is there an application of arvus regarding a kotton?


We could explain this concept of arvus with a kler of the reason for arvus. One way of looking at it is that a person is responsible that another person should not get punished for not doing a mitzvah. Another way of looking at it is that a person becomes the shaliach of the person who needs to do the mitzvah.


In the case of megillah, the mitzvah of “Lo sasur” which is the makor in the Torah for all mitzvos De’Rabbanan brings about a din of arvus. Regarding women and children it would depend on the above reasons. If the reason is to keep the person from not getting punished, then children who have no responsibility as far as punishment goes would not have a din of arvus. The same would apply to women who don’t have the mitzvah min HaTorah so there would be no punishment involved. In contrast, if the din is because of shlichus, then if the person has any shaychos to the kiyum haMitzvah then there would automatically be a din of arvus regarding both women and children since the Torah gives the man a shlichus to be motzi the women and children.


Le’maaseh, this is a machlokes achronim; it therefore would behoove the people being motzi women and children not to have been yotzei their mitzvah first so that they can be motzi them in the mitzvah.


Let us hope we will all show arvus to one another and help bring the geulah closer.


Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com