Courtesy: Rechav L’Neshama
Chazal tell us that the Mikoshesh Eitzim who was killed in Bais Din for being Michalel Shabbos was a tzaddik. Why did he do it? To teach Bnei Yisrael a lesson and set an example about the seriousness of the law.
Is this really a tzaddik? Where did he get the audacity to violate Shabbos on his own accord to teach lessons? The only time one may violate a mitzva in the Torah is through a Navi a for a Hora’as Sha’a, which is a momentarily exception.
The Mekach Tov brings from Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev that we pasken that since Milacha on Shabbos must be a Mileches Machsheves, a violation with intent and purpose. If someone does a Milacha for a reason not related to the results of the Milacha, it is not assur Min HaTorah (Milacha She’ein Tricha L’Gufa). Since the Mikoshesh had no need for the wood he gathered, and did it for a totally different reason, he was not Michalel Shabbos.
Yet, not to undermine his main goal which was to die and set an example, he claimed to want the wood and rebuffed the warning of the Eidim. He was put to death despite his real innocence. Bais Din was not responsible for his death as they do not judge intentions only actions, so he did not cause Bais Din to kill an innocent man. The Mikoshesh died as a true tzaddik.