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Sukah 14


QUESTIONS: Rav Menashya bar Gada says that the stalks of grain that were cut in order to be used as Sechach for a Sukah are not considered "Yados." Normally, the stalks of a grain are considered "Yados," or "handles," for the Shiboles (the edible part of the grain), since they enable the Shibolos to be moved or bundled easily. Yados are Mekabel Tum'ah and would not be valid to be used as Sechach. When the grain is cut for Sechach, though, the stalks are not considered Yados for the Shiboles, since the person is not interested in tying together the Shiboles and using the stalks to handle them. In fact, he is not interested in the Shiboles at all; it is counterproductive for him to keep the Shiboles since it is a food and, if there is enough of it, can invalidate all of his Sechach (Rashi 13b DH ha'Kotzer). Therefore in this case the stalks are not Mekabel Tum'ah and may be used as Sechach.

The Gemara challenges Rav Menashya from a Beraisa in which the Tana Kama says that the stalks of wheat are valid for Sechach, while "Acherim" says that stalks of wheat are not valid for Sechach, because they are Yados. According to Rav Menashya, why do Acherim consider them Yados?

The Gemara answers that the Beraisa is talking about wheat that was harvested with intention to use the wheat for eating, and then afterward one decided to use the wheat for Sechach instead. In addition to the change in intention, the person also did an action of treading upon the wheat (according to Rebbi Yochanan). Such an action shows that he wants to break off the stalks from the Shibolos since he has no use for the Shibolos in the Sechach (since it is edible and therefore Mekabel Tum'ah). In such a case, the Tana Kama and Acherim argue whether the stalks are still considered Yados or not.

The Gemara says that it is clear why the Tana Kama says that the grain does not have a status of Yados, because one shows that he does not want the stalks to be connected to the Shiboles. However, why does Acherim say that it is still considered Yados? Even Rebbi Yosi -- who says that trampling upon the grain does not remove the status of Yados -- only says that about grain that is being used for eating. Since such grain still has to be turned over with a pitchfork, by treading on it one shows that he only wants to soften the stalks but not break them off, because he still needs them there to facilitate turning over the grain with a pitchfork. But when treading upon it in order to use it for Sechach, one has no purpose in leaving the Shibolos connected to the stalks, and it must be that his intention is to break them off entirely. Why, then, should the stalks be Yados according to Acherim?

The Gemara answers that there indeed *is* purpose in leaving the Shibolos connected to the stalks even when using grain for Sechach. When removing the grain when Sukos is over, one prefers to take it down by holding it from the stalk. (Even though he would not rather have Shiboles on his Sechach in the first place, nevertheless some Shiboles will always get mixed in with the Sechach and go up onto the Sukah. It is that Shiboles which the person wants to take down by using the stalk as a handle.)

(a) If one wants the stalk to serve as a handle for the Shiboles to take it down from the Sukah, then why does Rav Menashya say that it is not a Yad? He should say that whenever grain is harvested to be used for Sechach, the stalk is a Yad because one wants to use it to pull down the Shiboles from the Sukah!

(b) Second, if the Gemara is looking for a usage that a person would have from having the Shiboles attached to the stalks (to explain why the stalks are considered Yados according to Acherim), why does the Gemara not mention the use mentioned earlier (13b) -- that by being attached to the Shiboles, the combined weight keeps the grain from flying off the Sukah? (RAV SIMCHAH M'DESVA; CHAZON ISH OC #156 in Hashmatos to OC 629)

(a) The purpose that the stalks serve by enabling one to pull down the Shiboles is not an obvious and definite purpose that interests a person. It is a marginal usage of the stalks. In order to make something fit to be Mekabel Tum'ah as a Yad in the first place, it is necessary to have a clear indication that the person is going to use the item as a Yad. The possibility of using the stalk to take down the Sechach by grasping the stalk does not clearly indicate that he will take advantage of such a usage.

On the other hand, if the grain was cut first for eating and then later one decided to use it as Sechach, the stalks already have a status of Yados. In order to remove that status, it is necessary to have a clear indication that one does *not* want the Shiboles to be connected to the stalk anymore. Since, even after treading upon the grain, there is still the possibility that he wants the stalk to pull down the Shiboles from the Sukah, there is not a clear indication that he does not want it to be a Yad. (That is, although where are not certain that the person *is* interested in using the stalk for pulling down the grain from the Sukah, where are also not certain he is *not* interested in having it serve as a Yad in such a manner.)

(b) If so, we asked, then let the Gemara say that the purpose of keeping the grain from flying off the Sukah should make the stalk remain a Yad in the case when it was already a Yad, even though Rav Menashya holds that such a purpose will not make a Yad in the first place! If the purpose of pulling down the Shiboles from the Sukah with the stalk does not make it a Yad in the first place, but is enough to let it remain a Yad if it already had that status, then the same should be true for using the stalks to weigh down the grain!

The answer is that using the Shiboles to weigh down the stalk, is not a usage which can maintain its present status of Yad. Until now it was a Yad because the *stalk served the Shiboles* by being a handle to it, enabling it to be carried around. When he uses the grain for Sechach, we have a clear indication that he does not want to use the stalk to carry the Shiboles at all. To say that it should be a Yad because he wants the *Shiboles to serve the stalk* by weighing it down, is suggesting a completely *new* reason to make it a Yad, and we already know that it is not enough of a reason to make something a Yad in the first place according to Rav Menashya. This is why the Gemara attempts to find a way for the original form of Yad to remain even after it was trampled upon (i.e. the stalk served as a handle to carry the Shiboles). (M. Kornfeld -- see Rav Simcha mi'Desva and the Chazon Ish, ibid. for other possible answers)

AGADAH: Rebbi Elazar said that the reason why the prayer of a Tzadik ("Atirah," as in Bereishis 25:21) is compared to a pitchfork ("Atar") is to teach that just as a pitchfork is used to turn over bushels of grain and move them from place to place, so does the prayer of a Tzadik "turn over" the attributes of Hashem from the attribute of strictness to the attribute of kindness. (Although "Atar" meaning "pitchfork" is an Aramaic word that does not appear in Tanach, we find in Tanach as well that the root of "Atar" connotes turning over or reversing, see Rashi and Tosfos in Ta'anis 20a, DH v'Na'ataros).

In Yechezkel (8:11), the word "Atar" is used to describe the Ketores. The verse there says, "A thick cloud (Atar) of Ketores rose up." The Ketores, too, reflects the Atar's ability to turn things over and has the power to "reverse" the anger of Hashem and transform it into mercy and kindness. In fact, we find the comparison drawn between Ketores and prayer in the verse, "May my prayer be accepted like Ketores before You" (Tehilim 141:2), indicates that Ketores is even more effective in reversing Hashem's anger than is prayer. Chazal indeed tell us that "Ketores has in its ability to stop plagues" (Shabbos 89a).

For this reason, we find that the name of Mordechai ha'Tzadik is hinted to in the Torah in the Parshah of Ketores ("Mor Deror," Chulin 139b). Mordechai was unique in his ability to *reverse* the fate of the Jews thorugh his *prayer*, as the Gemara says, "[Mordechai was called] 'ben Ya'ir' because he lit up the eyes of the Jews with his prayer, [he was called] 'ben Shim'i,' because his prayer was heard by Hashem, [he was called] 'ben Kish,' because he knocked on the gates of mercy and they were opened for him " (Megilah 12b). Through Mordechai's prayer, the prayer of a Tzadik which is compared to a pitchfork, the Divine decree against the Jews was reversed ("v'Na'hafoch Hu") and aroused Hashem's mercy to save the Jews. (Mordecai Kornfeld)


QUESTION: The Amora'im dispute whether or not a wooden board that is four Tefachim wide will invalidate a Sukah when it is placed edgewise on the Sukah. One opinion maintains that the "Gezeiras Tikrah" applies no matter how the board is placed, while the other opinion maintains that the "Gezeiras Tikrah" applies only when the board is placed in the manner in which it is normally placed on the roof of a house.

The Gemara attempts to prove that it will invalidate a Sukah by citing a Beraisa which says that if one places a four-Tefach-wide board upon the Sukah in such a way that only three of the four Tefachim are on the Sukah, it invalidates the Sukah. The Gemara assumes that it means that the board was four Tefachim wide and three Tefachim thick, and that the person laid the board on its edge; the Beraisa, then, is a proof for the opinion that says that a board placed in such a way will invalidate the Sukah.

The Gemara answers that it is talking about placing the board flat, but on the edge of the Sukah so that one Tefach extends beyond the Sukah and only three Tefachim of the board actually cover the Sukah. In such a case, the fourth Tefach joins the three that are on the Sukah and thus all four Tefachim are considered to be on top of the Sukah and invalidate it. The reason the fourth Tefach is viewed to be on the Sukah is because of the principle, "Pesel ha'Yotzei Min ha'Sukah Nidon k'Sukah" -- "Sechach which extends beyond the Sukah is considered like part of the Sukah itself."

How is it that this four-Tefach board can invalidate the Sukah? The only way that the board could be considered a "Pesel ha'Yotzei" and be considered part of the Sukah is when the board is extending over the fourth and open side of the Sukah (i.e. the other three sides have walls). If so, the rest of the Sukah should still be valid despite this four-Tefach plank, because it has three walls around it and even if the space which the board occupied was left open, the Sukah would be valid! One piece of Sechach Pasul at the edge of the Sukah does not invalidate an entire Sukah! (It does not seem reasonable to answer that the Beraisa is only invalidating the area *beneath* the board, because the Beraisa compares this case with those of a Sukah that does not have an area of 7 by 7 Tefachim and a Sukah that does not have proper walls, in which cases the entire Sukah is Pasul.)

It must be, as the BA'AL HA'ME'OR (19a) asserts, that the Beraisa is discussing a *small Sukah* the area of which is not larger than 9 by 7 Tefachim. In such a case, if the space that the board takes up is deducted from the 9-Tefach length of the Sechach, the Sukah is left with a width of only six Tefachim, and it does not have the minimum area of 7x7 that is required to be a valid Sukah. However, if the board is only three Tefachim wide the Sukah is valid, because a three-Tefach-wide wooden board is valid Sechach (it is only invalid if it is four Tefachim wide). If the board is four Tefachim wide, then it diminishes the size of the Sukah and invalidates it.

The problem, however, is with Rashi's comment on the Sugya. RASHI says that if the board was placed on the Sukah on a side with a wall (and not over the open side of the Sukah), the Sukah would be valid because of the principle of "Dofen Akumah." (The RITVA makes the same comment.) But if the Gemara is discussing a board of four Tefachim that was placed on top of a small Sukah, how could "Dofen Akumah" validate the Sukah? In a normal case, "Dofen Akumah" works by turning the invalid Sechach into part of the wall of the Sukah, permitting one to use the rest of the Sukah (but not the area beneath the invalid Sechah-turned-Dofen). In this case, though, if the invalid Sechach (the four-Tefach board) becomes part of the wall, the rest of the Sechach will still not contain the minimum size of a Sukah. "Dofen Akumah" should *not* be able make the Sukah valid! (MAHARSHA)

ANSWER: The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 632) answers that the principle of "Dofen Akumah" that Rashi mentions here is meant only to cut off the part of the board that extends outside of the Sukah, so that we can completely ignore that part of the board. "Dofen Akumah" would enable us to look at the part of the board on top of the Sukah as part of the wall, which then does not continue past the wall, but it bends with the wall at the point where it meets the wall. Once the board can be viewed as only three Tefachim, then it would also be permitted to sit underneath it, because a three-Tefach board is valid Sechach!

The ARUCH LA'NER objects to the Magen Avraham's explanation. First, where do we find that "Dofen Akumah" makes the invalid Sechach part of the wall, and at the same time part of the valid Sechach? If it is part of the wall, then it cannot be used as Sechach, and if it is Sechach, then it is not part of the wall (and it joins together with the fourth Tefach that extends beyond the wall)!

Second, why does Rashi have to introduce the concept of "Dofen Akumah" altogether? If there would be a wall underneath the board separating the Tefach on the outside from the three Tefachim on the inside, then the part on the outside would not be a "Pesel ha'Yotzei Min ha'Sukah." The fourth Tefach on the outside could not join the three on the inside due to the wall that separates them. The fact that the wall cuts off the extension of the board from being a "Pesel ha'Yotzei" should prove that the board is not above a wall, so why does Rashi need to use the principle of "Dofen Akumah" to prove that the board is not above a wall?

It must be that even according to the Magen Avraham Rashi is not referring to the normal concept of "Dofen Akumah" that we find in the rest of Maseches Sukah. Rather, Rashi is using the words "Dofen Akumah" in a different sense. He means that if the board was extended over a wall, that *perpendicular* (Akum) divider would cut off or delineate the extension of the Sechach that goes past it so that the fourth Tefach on the outside could not be a "Pesel ha'Yotzei." The board would then become valid Sechach, being only three Tefachim wide. (See ARUCH LA'NER and CHIDUSHIM U'BI'URIM, who give forced explanations in Rashi. The latter finally suggests that the word "Akumah" in Rashi is a printer's error, leading to a conclusion similar to what we have descrbed.)

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