Parsha Mitzvot: Ki Teitzei: Mitzvot 547, 588, 589 – Concepts 520, 521, 522
“When you come into the vineyard of your fellow, you may eat grapes as is your desire, to your fill, but you may not put into your vessel. When you come into the standing grain of your fellow, you may pluck ears with your hand, but you may not lift a sickle against the standing grain of your fellow.” (Deuteronomy 23:25-26) The hired worker may eat from the unharvested crops where he works. (Concept #520) The worker must not eat while on hired time. (Concept #521) The worker must not take more than he can eat. (Concept #522, Rambam, Hilchot Sechirut – The Laws of Hiring)
I hesitate to share my personal problems, but I really need your help: My first experiences helping someone bake were with my grandmother a”h, who, never missed an opportunity to share something she had learned while growing up in Slabodka. “Can I taste some of the Challah dough? It smells so good!”
“I have to let you taste some; it’s a Mitzvah! But you must first tell me what blessing you will make on raw dough.”
Guessing about laws was not allowed, so I figured that I should distract her: “Which Mitzvah?”
“You tell me!”
I got her; “Number 520!”
“How much can you eat?”
“How much time can you take to eat while you are helping me bake?”
“Wonderful! I am so proud. Now, which blessing will you recite?”
Things have changed. I now bake with my wife, at least when she is in a masochistic mood. I want to sample the product, and I’m more than ready to be tested, but she has a slightly different approach than that of my grandmother: “No! You’ll wait until I serve everyone!”
I try to explain that my grandmother paskened that it is a Mitzvah to let me eat, all to no avail. My wife paskens that a husband does not have the status of a hired worker.
I wisely and patiently explain that we apply the concept of the Mitzvah: A worker must be allowed to eat while working. My wife remains unconvinced; “Are you sure that concept applies to a worker who only makes things harder?”
Can you help me?