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Sukah 13


QUESTION: Rav Chisda in the name of Ravina bar Shila said that "Maror d'Agma" may be used to fulfill one's obligation to eat Maror on Pesach night. The Gemara questions this from a Beraisa which states that one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah with Maror that has a "Shem Levai" -- a modifying name. Only generic "Maror" may be used for the Mitzvah, for that is what is mentioned in the Torah. Abaye answers that since "Maror d'Agma" was known as plain "Maror" at the time the Torah was given, it falls into the category of "Maror" mentioned in the Torah. Rava answers that "Maror d'Agma" does not have a modifying name, but rather "d'Agma" merely refers to the place that the Maror can be found -- in the swamps ("Agma").

It is clear that our Gemara concludes that a type of Maror that has a modifying name may not be used for the Mitzvah of Maror. However, the Sugya in Pesachim (39a) which discusses Maror seems to contradict this. The Mishnah there states, "These are the vegetables with which a person fulfills his obligation [to eat Maror] on Pesach: Chazeres, Tamcha, Charchavina, Ulshin, and Maror." The Gemara cites the opinion of "Acherim" who state the requirement that "every bitter vegetable, [with which one may fulfill the Mitzvah of Maror,] emits a milk-like sap when cut, and the vegetable's color is pale." Rav Huna says that the Halachah follows their opinion. It seems from the Gemara there that any bitter vegetable (which meets the criteria of having a milk-like sap when cut, and a pale color) is acceptable for use for the Mitzvah of Maror. RASHI on the Chumash (Shemos 12:8) indeed states that the word "Maror" in the Torah refers to "any bitter vegetable."

If one may use *any* bitter vegetable, it should not make a difference what the Maror is called, since the Torah makes no reference to any specific type of vegetable! Why does our Gemara conclude that the Maror must not have a modifying name? (MAGEN AVRAHAM OC 473:15, REBBI AKIVA EIGER)


(a) The ME'IRI here explains that we find in Pesachim 39a that there is an order of preference for which Maror to use on Pesach. Chazeres is the first choice, either because it is most bitter or because its name alludes to the mercy which Hashem showered upon us when He took us out of Mitzrayim ("Chasa"). The Gemara here does not mean to say that one does not fulfill his obligation at all with Maror that has a "Shem Levai." Rather, it means that *Chazeres* with a "Shem Levai" is not considered to be the choice Maror that was mentioned by the Amora'im in Pesachim. (RASHI, DH Merarisa, indeed explains that the Gemara is referring to a particular type of *Chazeres*. Tosfos questions Rashi's source for explaining that the Gemara is referring to a type of Chazeres. Perhaps Rashi means to explain like the Me'iri.) According to the explanation of the Me'iri, it is not clear why the proper Chazeres should be one that was called "Chazeres" at the time of the Giving of the Torah. Since it is only a Rabbinic recommendation to give precedence to Chazeres, it should depend, if anything, on what was called Chazeres at the times of the Mishnah. Perhaps the Me'iri learned that the Rabanan's institution was made to be "k'Ein d'Oraisa." Alternatively, he learned that the precedence given to Chazeres has its source in a Halachah lMoshe mi'Sinai. (This does *not* appear to be the way Rashi learned the Sugya, since in DH Kol she'Nishtaneh he says that the bitter herb must fit into the name "Maror" given by the Torah.)

(b) In Pesachim, it appears that there is a dispute among the Tana'im regarding the types of Maror that one may use. The Tana of the Mishnah there seems to maintain that only the five species listed may be used, since only these species were referred to as "Maror" when the Torah was given. If so, the Gemara here in Sukah could be following the opinion of that Tana who says that Maror must be a specific type of herb, the name of which is "Maror." If it has a "Shem Levai," it is no longer considered "Maror" with which one may fulfill his obligation. The Gemara in Pesachim, on the other hand, is going according to the opinion of "Acherim" who say that *any* bitter vegetable may be used for the Mitzvah. (MEROMEI SADEH of the Netziv)


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