(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Sukah 15


QUESTION: Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Meir argue in the Mishnah regarding the opinions of Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai. According to Rebbi Yehudah, Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue concerning a case of a Sukah that has wooden boards as its roof. Beis Shamai (according to the explanation of the Gemara) says that it is not enough to pick up the boards and put them back down ("Mefakpek"), but that one must remove at least every other board and replace it with new Sechach ("Notel Achas mi'Beintayim"). According to Beis Hillel, it suffices to pick up the boards and put them back down. Rebbi Meir, on the other hand, maintains that Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel do not argue and they both require that every other board be replaced with new Sechach.

According to Rav's understanding of the argument in the Mishnah, Beis Hillel, according to Rebbi Yehudah, maintains that there is no "Gezeiras Tikrah" at all -- even a board that is four Tefachim wide is valid Sechach. The only problem with using the boards for the roof of the Sukah is that they were not placed there for the sake of creating shade but for the sake of building a house, and thus the Sukah is "Min he'Asuy" and the Torah requires that it be "Ta'aseh v'Lo Min he'Asuy." Therefore, Beis Hillel says that one can make the boards valid in one of two ways, either by picking up the boards and placing them back down or by removing every other board and putting new, valid Sechach in its place.

If the problem is that the boards were placed there not for the sake of making shade (and the Sechach is "Min he'Asuy"), then how does removing every other board help? Doing so should only permit sitting under the area where the boards were removed and replaced with new Sechach, but not under the 4-Tefach boards that remain which are still "Min he'Asuy."

The answer, as Rashi implies (DH v'Hachi Ka'amri), is that removing even half of the boards is considered a significant action ("Ma'aseh Me'alya") towards of putting on Sechach, so that the entire roof is considered properly made -- even the boards which were not removed.

If removing half of the boards is considered a significant action to validate the entire roof of the Sukah, then why is Beis Hillel's second option "Mefakpek," or picking up and putting back *all* of the boards on the roof? He should have said that it suffices to lift up *every other* board, since we see that doing an action with half of the roof suffices to make the entire roof no longer considered "Min he'Asuy!"

(When Beis Hillel says in the Mishnah that one may be Mefakpek the boards, he cannot mean that one may pick up every other board, because then he would not have added that one may also be "Notel Achas mi'Beintayim" (replace every other board); even returning the same board that he picked up is enough! It is clear that he holds that one either has to pick up *every* board and place it back down, or replace *half* the boards with new Sechach.)

ANSWER: Apparently, lifting the board and putting it back down is not considered to be a significant enough action to serve as an active manner ("Ta'aseh") of making the Sechach. (The reason for this is because the primary action -- placing the boards upon the roof -- was already done, and when it was done it was not done l'Shem Tzel.) Only if he is Mefakpek *all* of the boards will that action be considered significant enough to make the roof be considered "Ta'aseh." However, removing the boards and placing valid Sechach in their place is a strong sign of intent and makes the Sukah "Ta'aseh" even when only half of the boards were removed.

OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes that according to Shmuel, both Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Meir agree that there is a "Gezeiras Tikrah" and threfore a Tikrah (wooden board) that is four Tefachim wide is invalid Sechach. The point of dispute between them, says the Shmuel, is whether or not one can be Mevatel a Tikrah by being Mefakpek. What does it mean to be "Mevatel" a Tikrah?
(a) RASHI explains that even though the "Gezeiras Tikrah" normally invalidates a wooden board that is four Tefachim wide, it does not apply when a person picks up the boards and puts them back down, thereby demonstrating that he is aware that there is a Pesul of "Ta'aseh v'Lo Min he'Asuy" and thus the Gezeirah is not needed. (See Rashi 12b, DH Amar Lach, where he also writes that when a person does an action to show that he knows that there is a Pesul of "Min he'Asuy," the Gezeirah of Tikrah does not apply.) This is what the Gemara means by saying that the act of Mefakpek is Mevatel the Tikrah -- it exempts the board from the Gezeiras Tikrah.

How does "Notel Achas mi'Beintayim" (removing every other board and replacing it with valid Sechach) work to make the Sukah valid? Everyone, even Rebbi Meir, agrees that such an action will validate the Sukah. Why does it work? According to Rebbi Meir, who holds that merely showing one's knowledge of the principle of "Ta'aseh v'Lo Min he'Asuy" does not remove the Gezeiras Tikrah, then "Notel Achas mi'Beintayim" should also not help, since there will remain 4 Tefachim of Sechach Pasul between each row of valid Sechach! Rashi (on the Mishnah) explains that indeed, according to Rebbi Meir, "Notel Achas mi'Beintayim" does not remove the Gezeiras Tikrah and in a normal case, replacing every other board with valid Sechach would not make the remaining boards valid. Rather, "Notel Achas mi'Beintayim" makes the Sechach in the *middle* of the Sukah valid (since there two valid rows lie side by side, together totaling more than seven Tefachim), together with the principle of "Dofen Akumah."

(b) The RA'AVAD and RAMBAN (in his first explanation) point out that the RIF could not have learned like Rashi. Even though the Rif rules like Shmuel (who says that according to both Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yehudah the Gezeiras Tikrah applies to a board four Tefachim wide), he writes that the argument between Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Meir in our Mishnah is whether Mefakpek solves the problem of "Ta'aseh v'Lo Min he'Asuy." Why did the Rif not explain that the argument is whether Mefakpek solves the problem of the Gezeiras Tikrah?

The Ra'avad and Ramban explain that the Rif learned that both Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Meir agree that one could be Mevatel the Gezeiras Tikrah by lifting up the board and putting it back down, showing that he knows about the Pesul of "Ta'aseh v'Lo Min he'Asuy" (as Rashi explains). When the Gemara says that they are arguing about being Mevatel a Tikrah, it is referring to being Mevatel the Pesul of "Min he'Asuy" that is invalidating the Tikrah. The reason Rebbi Meir said that one cannot validate the Sukah by being Mefakpek the boards is because Mefakpek is not enough of an action to remove the Pesul of "v'Lo Min he'Asuy," but it can be Mevatel the Gezeiras Tikrah; Rebbi Yehudah holds that it can remove the Pesul of "v'Lo Min he'Asuy" as well.

(Even though the Gemara earlier (11a) said that shaking the Sechach ("Na'anu'a") makes it "Ta'aseh," perhaps the act of Mefakpek is a lesser action. Mefakpek might mean just removing the nails from the boards but not lifting them, as the ROSH (see Korban Nesanel 29:1) and TUR imply

(c) The RAMBAN concludes, though, that the RIF really means to give an entirely different explanation. He means to say that according to Shmuel, the Tikrah mentioned in our Mishnah is not talking about boards that are four Tefachim wide, or even three Tefachim wide. The Mishnah is talking about boards that are even one Tefach wide, and the reason why the Gezeiras Tikrah applies to them is because that board was actually part of a Tikrah (ceiling board) until now. Whichever Tana holds that the Gezeiras Tikrah applies to a board of four Tefachim, will also rule that the Gezeiras Tikrah applies to anything that actually was part of a Tikrah until now.

However, this Gezeiras Tikrah -- unlike the Gezeiras Tikrah applied to a four-Tefach-wide board -- can be corrected by "Bitul," i.e. removing the boards and taking away their status of roof-boards. (That is, "Bitul" removes the association of these boards with the "Tikrah" which they originally formed). What exactly constitutes Bitul is the subject of the dispute between Rebbi Yehudah and Rebbi Meir. Rebbi Yehudah rules that even an action such as Mefakpek dissociates the boards from the Tikrah they were once part of. According to Rebbi Meir, only a Ma'aseh which is a significant action, and in addition is clearly noticeable to all who enter, such as "Notel Achas mi'Beintayim" (replacing every other board with valid Sechach) will be able to remove the status of Tikrah from the boards. Merely lifting up the boards and putting them back down will not work, either because a "Ma'aseh Rabah" (a significant action) is required (RABMAN and RAN), or because other people who see the Sukah afterwards will not know that something (Mefakpek) was done to the boards and therefore, the Gezeiras Tikrah still applies to them (RITVA).

This seems to be the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Sukah 5:8) as well, as the KORBAN NESANEL (29:3) notes.


QUESTION: The Mishnah says that if there are metal rods (invalid Sechach) on top of the Sukah and the gaps between the rods are equal in size to the width of the rods, the Sukah is valid if proper Sechach is placed in those gaps. The Gemara challenges the opinion of Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua from here, who says that there must be *more* valid Sechach than invalid Sechach in order for the Sukah to be valid. In the Mishnah's case the Sukah is valid even though there is an *equal* amount of valid and invalid Sechach!

Rava answers that the proper way to put the Sechach on the Sukah so that it will be valid is to place the valid Sechach perpendicularly across the invalid Sechach. In this manner more valid Sechach than invalid Sechach is guaranteed, because the valid Sechach not only covers the gaps between the rods, but it also covers some of the area upon which the rods themselves are resting.

How can the Sechach that is resting on top of the rods be considered as valid Sechach? It should be no different than the Sechach of a Sukah underneath a tree, in which case the Sechach is Pasul (9b). The Sechach on top of the rods should be Pasul and not count to make a majority of valid Sechach! (TOSFOS DH v'Ha)


(a) The CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN (Eruvin 15b) suggests that according to Rashi, even placing the valid Sechach on top of (but not mixed together with) the invalid Sechach is enough to be Mevatel the invalid Sechach. That is, we learned earlier that through "Chavtan" (Sukah 9b), where one lowers the invalid Sechach (the attached branches of a tree) onto the valid Sechach, one can be Mevatel the invalid Sechach. The Ran appear to be asserting that Chavtan may mean simply laying the valid and invalid Sechach together, but not necessarily mixing them with each other.

However, this does not seem to be consistent with Rashi's own explanation of "Chavtan" earlier (9b, DH b'she'Chavtan), where he writes that it is only when the invalid Sechach is mixed in and not obvious to the eye that it can become Batel to the valid Sechach. In the case of metal rods, the rods remain obvious to the eye, so how can they be Batel?

(b) Perhaps Rashi does not mean that the invalid Sechach is Batel to a majority of valid Sechach ("Batel b'Rov"). Rather, it is Batel for a different reason. We find (10a) that if someone spreads a sheet underneath the Sechach to beautify his Sukah, it does not invalidate the Sechach, because it is considered Batel to the Sechach. According to Rashi, this applies to any object that is not serving a purpose of protecting what is underneath it, such as a coat laid out to dry on the Sechach (as we showed in Insights to 10b).

Accordingly, perhaps Rashi here means that since there is more Sechach than rods, the rods can be considered secondary or Tafel to the Sechach. They will not disqualify the Sechach just like a sheet spread out for decoration under the Sechach. Only in the case of a tree, when the branches are serving the purpose of providing protection for the Sukah, is it necessary for the invalid Sechach not to be recognizable when they are bent down upon the valid Sechach. Here, though, it is not necessary to have a real "Chavatah," because the rods are not there to create shade or provide other protection, but rather to help support the Sechach. (This understanding is evident in Rashi on the Mishnah who emphasizes that the rods were placed there only to support the ceiling, i.e., they were not put there as a ceiling in their own right). (M. Kornfeld)

(c) RABEINU TAM (cited by Tosfos 9b) explains that when there is Sechach which has more shade than sunlight, then any invalid Sechach that is above or below it which has more sunlight cannot invalidate the Sechach (see Insights to 9b).

(d) RABEINU CHANANEL explains the Gemara differently. The Gemara is relying on what it said earlier, that there is more space between the metal rods than the width of the rods themselves. The Gemara's question was that it is "*not* possible to be Metzamtzem" (not like our Girsa, which asks that it *is* possible to be Metztazem). That is, even though there is more space, perhaps one will not fill it entirely with valid Sechach, leaving a majority (or equal amount) of invalid Sechach. Rava answers that one places the Sechach on top of the rods crosswise. In this manner, one assures that he will cover all of the space in the gaps between the rods, which are slightly larger than the width of the rods themselves.

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,