Mitzvah Haba’ah B’Aveirah


Dear Rabbi,

I am trying to teach myself Gemorrah and I saw you gave a lecture on מצוה מבאה בעבירה on YU Torah. Might I ask you some questions about this?

I started in the third פרק of Sukkot where R. Yochanan says a stolen לולב is פסול on Sukkot because it is a מצוה מבאה בעבירה.

Question 1: Why didn’t the גמ’ object to the stolen הושענת as a מצוה הבאה בעבירה?

Question 2: What would be the case if I already owned a kosher לולב but stole a better one and used the stolen one? I don’t “need” the stolen one to do the מצווה? On the other hand, it is a מצוה מבאה בעבירה

Question 3: What if you need a לולב on the first day and I have one I’m willing to give to you on one condition. The transfer is חל the moment you draw a drop of blood from your father. Is that a מצוה מבאה בעבירה? Is there a פגם on the לולב because it was obtained thru an עבירה, similar to גניבה? Or is it like Tosafot’s example of climbing a tree on שבת to get to a perfectly good sukkah on the top of the tree?

Question 4: Does a מצוה מבאה בעבירה apply to an אסור committed בדיעבד? For example, you thought you found an ownerless לולב later found out that you picked it up from someone’s field. When you later realize you stole the לולב does it come out you didn’t fulfill the מצווה of לולב?

Question 5: Rambam הלכות שופר וסכה ולולב 8:9 seems to hold that מצוה מבאה בעבירה is a דרבנן and one doesn’t apply a דרבנן on a דרבנן (taking the לולב on days 2-7). However, in the Mishna in Brachos 47b where Rabbi Eliezer freed his slave to make a מניין to say קדושה, the גמ” proposes it is a מצוה הבאה בעבירה, but answers a מצווה for the צבור is different. The גמ” could have said it was a דרבנן on a דרבנן (davening)

Question 6: What is different about a מצווה for the צבור? If a מצוה מבאה בעבירה is מאוס to Hashem for לולב, it should be מאוס to Hashem for davening as well

Question 7: what does the Shulchan Aruch 637:3 mean when it says one can’t fulfill his mitzvah in a stolen sukkah? Is the sukkah perfectly good but since it is a מצוה הבאה בעבירה one doesn’t get “credit” for sitting in a sukkah, or is it like he is eating outside a sukkah entirely?

Thank you so much for any help you can give me



  1. No one here seems to be aware of the shuir that you listened to but Just Ask is happy to try and answer your questions for you!

    1. The Gemara is discussing the issues of Mitzvah Haba’ah B’Aveirah in conjunction to the command to take “Lachem” – for you – on Sukkos. Because there is no Halacha of “Lachem” with regards to Hoshanos the Gemara does not discuss it.
    2. It is still a Mitzvah Haba’ah B’Aveirah because the stolen Lulav is being used to fulfill the obligation.
    3. I think that using the Lulav would fulfill the person’s obligation even though he is transgressing a Torah prohibition by harming his father.
    4. Retroactively he has not fulfilled his obligation and he would need to perform the Mitzvah again.
    5. The problem is not one of a Rabbanan on a Rabbanan. The problem is how was it permissible to free his Eved Canaani to begin be with.
    6. It is very hard to define exactly what is allowed for the needs of the community and what is not, and the Meforshim grapple with the issue. However, it is clear from the Gemara that freeing an Eved is only permissible because it would help the community (i.e. make up a Minyan) – otherwise it would have been forbidden. Especially if the issue is one d’Rabbanan, they perhaps did not decree if the need was for the public.
    7. I am not sure that I see any difference between the two cases since in both scenarios he has not fulfilled his obligation.

    Best wishes from the Team