THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) RAIN DURING SUKOS AND THE OVERTURNED PITCHER
AGADAH: The Mishnah (28b) says that when it rains during the festival and
the Jews cannot stay in their Sukos, it is analogous to a servant who was
preparing a drink to serve to his master, "and he spilled a pitcher on its
face." (The Gemara (Ta'anis 2b) says that we pick up the Arba'ah Minim,
which grow through water, as a way of supplicating to Hashem that He send us
water. If He is not pleased with our Avodah, he throws the water back at us,
so to speak.)
2) SUN DIMINUTIONS
The VILA GA'ON asks why does the Mishnah say "Limzog" ("to dilute," as in
diluting a cup of wine with water)? It should have said that the servant was
"giving" a cup to his master, and not "diluting" a cup for his master! (KOL
The Vilna Ga'on explains that the days before Sukos are days of judgement,
from Rosh ha'Shanah to Yom Kipur, when Hashem acts with justice. The days of
Sukos -- when we are surrounded with the performance of Mitzvos (the Sukah
and the Arba'ah Minim) -- are days of Divine blessing, when Hashem gives to
us bountifully (as it is the time of bringing in the fruits from the
fields). When Hashem does not let us sit in the Sukah, it shows that He does
not want us to have the ability to arouse His mercy by being surrounded by
the Mitzvah of Sukah. Wine, in its raw state, is very sharp, and alludes to
the attribute of justice. As Hashem's servants, we try to mix the wine with
water, by performing Mitzvos, to make the wine, the justice, less sharp.
When the Mishnah says that the master "overturns the pitcher [of water] onto
its face," it means that He does not want to mix any water with the wine,
but rather He wants it to remain sharp, with His attribute of strict justice
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the predictive properties of sun diminutions
("Likuy Chamah") as well as those of the moon and other celestial bodies.
Most likely, the Gemara is referring to solar and lunar eclipses.
RAV YONASAN EIBESHITZ (Ya'aros Devash, vol. 2, p. 67b) asks that an eclipse
a natural phenomenon that occurs based on a set pattern. How, then, can it
be a harbinger of inauspicious times, if it happens on a natural schedule?
(a) RAV YONASAN EIBESHITZ explains that the Gemara is not referring to
eclipses, because those are not called a diminution of the heavenly bodies,
but are merely shadows that are cast when the light of the sun is blocked
from reaching the earth. Rather, Chazal are referring to sunspots and
similar phenomena which occur on the moon (such as transient lunar
(b) The ARUCH LA'NER says that the Gemara indeed refers to eclipses, yet the
question of Rav Yonasan Eibshitz is not problematic. RASHI (Bereishis 1:14)
tells us that the fourth day of the week (Wednesday) is a day that is
predisposed for certain illnesses, even though it occurs each week, on a
natural calendrical cycle. Nevertheless, it can still be associated with
tribulations. Similarly, Chazal knew that the times that Hashem arranges for
there to be eclipses are signs that those are times of judgement being
passed upon the world. Therefore, it is possible for it to be both a natural
phenomenon and an ominous omen.
How can this approach explain the Gemara's statement that "the sun is
diminished due to four types of sins." How can sin be programmed into the
world like clockwork, that every eclipse should be accompanied by such sins?
The Aruch la'Ner answers that the Gemara does not mean that such sins must
exist in order for there to be an eclipse. Rather, during periods following
an eclipse, Hashem passes judgment on those who have sinned these particular
As proof that Chazal understood the mechanics of eclipses, the Aruch la'Ner
points out that the Gemara keeps referring to eclipses as "during the *time*
(bi'Zeman) that an eclipse occurs," implying that the eclipses happen at
pre-ordained times. Furthermore, the sins associated with a lunar eclipse
are all of a type that hurt the person who sins as much as he hurts others:
(1) If a person writes lies about others he reveals his own faults, since
"one who finds fault in others, he himself suffers from the same fault
(Kidushin 70a)"; (2) If he bears false witness, even the very people who
hired him lose their respect for him (Sanhedrin 31a); (3) If he raises
animals by allowing them to graze in the fields of others, others will allow
their animals to graze in his fields; (4) and if he cuts down a fruit tree,
it is obvious that he will suffer as much as any other from the loss of its
fruit. RASHI (DH Bishvil) writes that he does not know why these specific
sins were associated with eclipses of the moon, however by applying present
scientific knowledge to this Gemara the association becomes self-evident.
When the earth blocks the sunlight from reaching the moon, causing a lunar
eclipse, it would seem that it is "trying to harm the moon" by blocking its
light. It is the earth itself that suffers, though, by losing its moonlight
during the eclipse! (Aruch la'Ner)
3) THE REASON WHY A DRY LULAV IS "PASUL"
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that a dry Lulav ("Yavesh") is Pasul and may
not be used for the Mitzvah. Why is it Pasul?
4) HOW DRY IS A DRY LULAV?
(a) RASHI (DH Yavesh) writes that it is because the Mitzvah of Lulav must be
"Mehuderes," beautifully glorified, as we learn from the verse, "Zeh Keli
v'Anvehu" -- "This is my G-d and I shall glorify Him" (Shemos 15:2).
TOSFOS (DH Lulav) asks that "v'Anvehu" is a principle that applies to all
Mitzvos, instructing us to perform all Mitzvos in a beautiful manner.
However, we do not find that a Mitzvah will be invalid if it is not done in
a beautiful manner.
The Acharonim explain that Rashi maintains that the principle of "v'Anvehu"
applies in two different ways. In general, it instructs us to beautify every
Mitzvah l'Chat'chilah, but it does not invalidate the Mitzvah if the Mitzvah
is not beautified. It teaches that we are to add beauty to an object of a
Mitzvah which already has beauty. In our case, "v'Anvehu" teaches that we
must add beauty to an object of a Mitzvah that does not have any beauty, and
if no beauty is added then the Mitzvah is invalid. In the case of a dry
Lulav, the fact that it is dry detracts from the beauty of the Mitzvah and
makes it unsightly. In such a case, failure to beautify the Mitzvah will
invalidate it. (See Insights later, 5:a, for Rashi's source for saying this
It could be that this second application of "v'Anvehu" is only found where
the Torah requires that a naturally growing product, in its natural state,
be used for the Mitzvah. Since the Torah teaches that we are not to use a
processed item for the Mitzvah, but we must use an item in its natural
state, we may understand that the Torah does not want an item which has
deteriorated from its natural state to be used for the Mitzvah. In this
case, "v'Anvehu" is not a secondary, external requirement in the performance
of the Mitzvah, but it is telling us what the Torah means when it commands
us to pick up a Lulav. (M. Kornfeld)
(b) TOSFOS (DH Lulav) explains that the Pesul of a dry Lulav is derived from
the Pesul of a dry Esrog. Regarding the Esrog, the Torah says that it must
be a "Pri Etz Hadar," meaning that it must be beautiful (31a). The
requirement that the other Minim also be beautiful is derived from the Esrog
through a Hekesh (see Gemara there).
(c) The RA'AVAD (in LULAV HA'GADOL, cited by the ROSH) cites the Yerushalmi
that states that the Pesul of a dry Lulav is learned from the verse, "Lo
ha'Mesim Yehalelu Kah" -- "The dead cannot praise Hashem" (Tehilim 115:17),
which teaches that something which is dead cannot be used for praising
Hashem. A Lulav which has dried out is considered dead, since it has lost
its color and vitality (see next Insight).
OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that a dry Lulav ("Yavesh") is Pasul and may
not be used for the Mitzvah. How dry must a Lulav be to be considered Yavesh
5) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE "PESUL" OF A DRIED LULAV AND THE "PESUL" OF A
(a) TOSFOS (DH Lulav) cites an opinion which suggests that after twelve
months, any object is considered to be completely dried out.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 645:5) rules like the Ra'avad, that when a
Lulav has lost all of its green color it is considered dried out and is
Pasul. The REMA writes that in extenuating circumstances, such as when there
are no other Lulavim available, the custom is to rely on the opinion of
Tosfos and to continue using a Lulav that is completely white, as long as
its leaves do not crack when bent.
(b) TOSFOS rejects the above opinion, though. Rather, when something is so
dry that it cracks when bent, it is considered dried out and can no longer
be used for the Mitzvah.
(c) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR (cited by the Rosh) rejects Tosfos' opinion and says
that only food that is dry cracks when bent. Trees and other forms of flora
have different criteria for determining whether they are dried out.
According to the Ba'al ha'Me'or, a plant is considered to be dried out when
it is no longer moist at all. It is not only wilted, but one can see that
there is no moisture left in it.
(d) The RA'AVAD, based on the Yerushalmi (mentioned above in Insight 3:c)
says that a plant is considered dried out when it is so dry that it has no
vitality left in it, such that even if it would be soaked in water for a
number of days, it would not gain any life. The sign of that state is when
the leaves turn white and lose all traces of green. The ROSH sides with this
QUESTION: The Gemara differentiates between the Pesul of Yavesh (a dried out
Lulav) and the Pesul of Gazul ( a stolen Lulav). Although the Mishnah
implies that both Pesulim apply all seven days of Sukos, the Gemara
questions this implication. A dry Lulav is certainly Pasul all seven days,
because it is not "Hadar." However, a stolen Lulav should only be Pasul the
first day, and not all seven days, because the verse of "Lachem" -- which
teaches that the Lulav must not be stolen but must be owned by the person
who uses it to fulfill the Mitzvah -- applies only on the first day of
Sukos, as it says, "You shall take for yourselves (Lachem) on the first
day..." (Vayikra 23:40). The Gemara, according to Rebbi Yochanan, therefore
finds another reason why a stolen Lulav is Pasul all seven days, or,
according to Shmuel, concludes that indeed a stolen Lulav is only Pasul on
the first day.
Why does the Gemara assume that "Lachem" applies only on the first day,
while "Hadar" applies on all seven? It says both "Lachem" and "Hadar" in the
same verse -- ""You shall take for yourselves (Lachem) on the first day the
fruit of the Hadar tree..." (Vayikra 23:40)! If "Lachem" refers only to the
"first day," then "Hadar" must also refer only to the "first day!"
Conversely, if "Hadar" applies all seven days, then "Lachem" should also
apply all seven days. Indeed, TOSFOS and the Rishonim point out that later
(41b), the Gemara teaches that each person is obligated to hold a Lulav all
seven days and not just Beis Din, because the verse says, "You shall take
(u'Lekachtem)," implying that all of the people must take the Lulav and not
just Beis Din. We see that the word "u'Lekachtem" in the same verse applies
all seven days. If so, the word "Lachem" should also apply all seven days!
(a) RASHI (DH Lo Shena) explains that the Gemara is discussing the Mitzvah
of Lulav outside of the Mikdash, where only the first day is a Mitzvah
d'Oraisa. The other six days are only a Mitzvah d'Rabanan. The Rabanan did
not institute all the details of Lulav on those six days, since the Mitzvah
is only commemorative of what is done in the Mikdash ("Zecher l'Mikdash").
However, the Pesul of a dry Lulav is not a detail in the laws of *Lulav* per
se, but is learned from "v'Anvehu," which is a general rule that applies to
all Mitzvos, both d'Oraisa and d'Rabanan. Since it is a Mitzvah d'Rabanan to
hold the Lulav on the last six days of Sukos, the Lulav must be "Hadar"
because of "v'Anvehu." In contrast, it does not have to be "Lachem," since
"Lachem" is a specific requirement in the laws of Lulav, and the specific
laws of Lulav do not apply since it is only a commemorative act (See
Insights above, 3:a). This may be Rashi's source for citing "v'Anvehu" as
the source that a dry Lulav is Pasul.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Ba'inan) also explains that the Gemara is referring to the
Mitzvah of Lulav outside of the Mikdash, on the remaining six days of Sukos.
The Rabanan were not stringent with the details of Lulav, as Rashi says,
since it was instituted only as a "Zecher b'Alma." Why, though, were they
stringent with the Pesul of a dry Lulav?
Tosfos explains that certainly, *l'Chat'chilah* something which is unsightly
should not be used because of the general principle of "v'Anvehu." Since
there is a reason not to use a dry Lulav l'Chat'chilah (that being the
principle of "v'Anvehu"), the Rabanan considered that as sufficient reason
to warrant enacting the b'Di'eved Pesul of a dry Lulav that applies the
first day (because of "Hadar") on the remaining six days. That is, they
enacted that the Lulav be held the remaining six days, but not with the
details of the Torah requirement on the first day. With regard to a dry
Lulav, though, they enacted their Mitzvah d'Rabanan *k'Ein d'Oraisa*, since,
even without the details of the Torah requirement, a dry Lulav should not be
taken l'Chat'chilah. Therefore, a dry Lulav on all seven days is Pasul.
(c) The RA'AVAD says that the Gemara is not discussing the Mitzvah outside
of the Mikdash, but it is discussing the Mitzvah *in the Mikdash itself*.
Even in the Mikdash, where the Mitzvah of Lulav is d'Oraisa all seven days
of Sukos, the Pesulim of Lulav -- including the Pesul of "Lachem" -- apply
only on the first day. The only exception is the Pesul of a dry Lulav, since
that Pesul is learned from the verse, "The dead cannot praise Hashem"
(Tehilim 115:17), which teaches that one should not use something dead to
praise Hashem (see Insights above, 3-c). Therefore, a dried up Lulav is
Pasul all seven days, because it is not fit to be used to praise Hashem.
(d) The RAMBAN (Milchamos) and the RITVA explain (like the Ra'avad) that the
Gemara is referring to the remaining six days in the Mikdash. Although the
Pesul of a dry Lulav applies all seven days, the Rabanan understood that the
Torah would be lenient regarding the Pesul of "Lachem" (a stolen or borrowed
Lulav) on the last six days of Sukos in the Midash, since that attribute of
the Lulav is not something that changes the physical appearance of the
Lulav. The Rabanan understood that the Torah would be lenient during those
last six days because we find that the in general, the Torah was more
lenient with the last six days of Sukos (i.e. the Lulav is not taken outside
of the Mikdash, mid'Oraisa, on those six days). Because of this we assume
that wherever there is a possibility to be lenient in the laws of Lulav, the
Torah is lenient during the latter six days in the Mikdash.