What was the Re’iyah?

Chagigah (1:1) | Yehuda Gottlieb | 18 years ago

The first Mishnah of Masechet Chagigah states:

All are obligated in Re’iyah

The Mishnah then lists a number of people who are excluded from this mitzvah. These people include a cherish, shoteh and katan amongst others.

Rashi (Chagigah 2a) states that this mitzvah of Re’iyah that is mentioned in the Mishnah is referring to appearing in the Azarah (courtyard of the Beit Ha’Mikdash) during the festival.

Tosfot see this definition of the mitzvah to be problematic. The beginning of the second Mishnah refers to a machloket between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel with regards to the monetary value of the ‘Re’iyah’. Therefore Tosfot argues that the word Re’iyah is used to refer to the korban that is brought during the festival and cannot be referring to the mitzvah of appearing in the Azarah (as explained by Rashi).

There is another machloket between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel in our Mishnah that can shed light on Rashi’s view. The Mishnah states that a katan is not obligated in the mitzvah of Re’iyah if he is not able to go from Yerushalaim to Har Ha’Bait riding on his father's shoulders (according to Beit Shammai) or holding his father's hand (according to Beit Hillel). This implies that if he is able to walk (or get a ride, according to Beis Shammai), then even a katan is obligated in Re'iyah. However, Rashi there says that only an adult is required to bring a korban Re'iyah. That is, there is no mitzvah of chinuch to have the child bring a korban Re'iyah, since on a Torah level the katan is not obligated to bring such a korban and therefore cannot sanctify an animal to be brought in such a manner. Therefore any animal he brings for a korban Re’iyah would constitute bringing a non-sanctified animal into the Azarah.

That explains why Rashi explains that the Mishnah’s statement, “All are obligated in Re'iyah” refers to the mitzvah of appearing in the Azarah. It is in order that when the Mishnah continues and says that a katan who is old enough to go from Yerushalayim to Har Ha’Bait is obligated in ‘Re’iyah’, it means that he is obligated to appear in the Azarah - but not to bring a korban.

However, Tosfot argues with Rashi and says that a katan is obligated to bring even a korban Re’iyah because of chinuch. Tosfot is consistent with his opinion mentioned earlier, where he says that when the Mishnah mentions “Re'iyah,” it means not just going to the Azarah, but bringing the Korban as well. Thus, when the words of the Mishnah later imply that a katan old enough to walk (or get a ride) is obligated, it is referring to the obligation to bring a korban, and that is why Tosfot says that a katan must bring a korban for chinuch.

Rav Shlomo Braun (She’arim Metzuanim B’Halacha) reconciles the viewpoints of Rashi in a different manner and as such resolves it with Tosfot. Rav Braun states that when Rashi mentions ‘Re’iyah’, he does not only mean appearing in the Azarah, but rather the same word implies both appearing in the Azarah and bringing the korban. This is because when Rashi mentions ‘Re’iyah” he also mentions the pasukYireh kol Zechurcha” (Shmot 23:15) and this is an allusion to both appearing in the Azarah and the korban, about which it is written “Velo Yir’u Pannai Reikam” (Shmot 23:17) – the fact that the same word is used in both these p’sukim, imply that Rashi meant that ‘Re’iyah’ referred to both appearing in the Azarah and bringing the korban. As mentioned before according to Rashi an adult would have to bring a korbanRe’iyah’ on a Torah level, while a katan would have to bring one for chinuch purposes (similar to Tosfot).


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