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Sukah 5

SUKAH 5 - Dedicated by Martin Fogel for 20 Nisan, the Yahrzeit of his father (Yacov ben Shlomo Fogel).


QUESTION: The Gemara cites Rav's assertion that we know Shi'urim only through a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai. The Gemara challenges this with Rav Chanin's teaching that the verse "Eretz Chitah u'Se'orah..." teaches various Shi'urim. We see that Shi'urim are learned from a verse, and are not just Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai!

Why does the Gemara consider Rav Chanin's statement to be a contradiction to Rav's statement? Perhaps Rav meant that the *other* Shi'urim, which are not dependent on Chitah, Se'orah etc., are learned from a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai? For instance, it is learned from a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai that the Shi'ur of an Ohel (for spreading Tum'ah) is a cubic Tefach, as Rashi himself tells us (Berachos 19b DH Devar Torah, Sukah 4a DH Hachi Garsinan), and it is learned from a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai how long one must stay in the Azarah b'Tum'ah to be punishable with Kares (RASHI Shavuos 14b DH Chayav). Many other Shi'urim must also have been learned from a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai -- for instance the smallest amount of Sheretz that is Metamei is k'Adashah; the size of a Nega Tzara'as is a Gris; two black hairs invalidate a Parah Adumah, etc.! (MAHARATZ CHAYOS; ARUCH LA'NER)


(a) RASHI (DH Shi'urin) may be answering this question by adding the words, "Shel Isurin." The Gemara is assuming that Rav's Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai is identical to Rebbi Yochanan's Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai in Yoma 80a. Rebbi Yochanan made a point of saying that "Shi'urim *Shel Onshin*" are Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai, i.e. the Shi'ur for which a person is punishable when transgressing a prohibition (that involves an object). Why did Rebbi Yochanan add the words "Shel Onshin" (as the RASHASH asks, there)? Perhaps he meant to emphasize that even the Shi'urim for transgressions, which Rav Chanin learns (among other Shi'urim) from "Eretz Chitah...," are Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai. The other Shi'urim that we mentioned in our question, are not related to an object mentioned in a Torah prohibition but to general laws of Tum'ah etc.

If so, Rav, too, means to say that the Shi'urim of Onshin (or as Rashi puts it, of Isurin, transgressions), are Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai, in which case he is referring to those very Shi'urim that Rav Chanin learns from the verse. (M. Kornfeld - however, Rashi Eruvin 4a, in a parallel Sugya, does not mention the word "Isurim")

(b) Alternatively since Rav didn't qualify his statement by limiting it to specific Shi'urim, it seems that he meant to make a *general* statement about Shi'urim. If so, the Gemara is asking that since there are *some* Shi'urim which are indeed learned from a verse, how could Rav make a blanket statement that all Shi'urim are Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai?

This will answer some other questions that may be asked on our Sugya as well. The ARUCH LA'NER asks, why does the Gemara challenge Rav by saying (6a) that Chatzitzin are learned from a verse? There are laws of Chatzitzah with regard to performing Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash too, and some of them (such as whether Tefilin is considered a Chatzitzah, Zevachim 19a and Tosfos there) seem to have their sources in Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai. Perhaps these are the Chatzitzin that Rav was referring to! Similarly, why does the Gemara ask which laws of Mechitzin are Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai? Even if we learn the height of the Mechitzah from a verse, the Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai is necessary to teach that the third wall of a Sukah need only be a Tefach long, as the Gemara itself tells us on 6b! (ARUCH LA'NER, SEFAS EMES, MAHARATZ CHAYOS, RASHASH -- all of whom suggest forced answers)

According to what we have said above, the Gemara could not have suggested such answers. If the Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai is teaching one specific law of Chatzitzah (i.e. whether or not Tefilin or Chotzetz) or of Mechitzah (i.e. that the third wall of a Sukah need only be a Tefach), Rav would not have made a blanket statement that "Chatzitzin u'Mechitzin" are Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai. Instead, he must have meant that some *general*, universal Halachos of Chatzitzah ("Rubo u'Makpid Alav") and of Mechitzah ("Gud v'Lavud...") are Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai. (M. Kornfeld)

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