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) HALACHAH: A BENT LULAV
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which states that a Lulav which is
"Kafuf" (bent over) is Pasul, and that a Lulav which is "Akum (curved) like
a sickle" is Pasul. What is the difference between a Lulav which is "Kafuf"
(bent over) and one which is "Akum (curved) like a Magal?" (KAPOS TEMARIM)
2) HALACHAH: A SPLIT IN THE "TEYOMES"
(a) The KAPOS TEMARIM suggests that "Kafuf" means that only the top of the
Lulav's spine is bent over, while "Akum" refers to a curvature of the entire
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 645:8-9) seems to understand "Kafuf" like
the Kapos Temarim suggests -- the top is bent over, but not the rest of the
spine. Of course, if it has a curvature at any point in the spine it should
also be Pasul for the same reason.
He quotes the TESHUVOS HA'RADBAZ who suggests more or less the opposite:
"Kafuf" means that the entire spine is bent, while "Akum" means that it has
an indentation at some point anywhere in the spine (even in the middle), and
the rest of the spine is straight.
(b) The Kapos Temarim quotes the RITVA and RAN who rule that when the top
middle leaf (the most prominent part of the Lulav) is bent over, the Lulav
is Pasul because of "Kafuf." According to that ruling, he suggests that
"Kafuf" means that the *leaf* is bent over, while "Akum" means that the
*spine* of the Lulav is bent.
(c) The ME'IRI points out that the RAMBAM leaves out the Pesul of "Kafuf."
He asserts that the Rambam did not have the word "Kafuf" in his Girsa. The
MICHTAM, also, did not have the word "Kafuf" in his Girsa.
What if only the tops of the leaves are bent over ("K'neppel")? The SHULCHAN
ARUCH rules that it is valid, based on the TESHUVOS HA'ROSH who argues with
the Ritva and says that not only is it not Pasul when the top leaves are
bent over, but it is a more preferable Lulav) because the leaves do not
split apart so readily as they do when they are completely straight). The
MISHNAH BERURAH (645:42) cites the view of the Ritva, but he writes that the
custom is to be lenient like the Rosh.
If, however, the leaves are bent over in an exaggerated manner (such as all
the way to the middle of the leaf), then certainly the Lulav is Pasul (MB
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi says that a Lulav is Pasul if its Teyomes
us split ("Nechlekah ha'Teyomes"), just as if it was missing. What exactly
is the "Teyomes," and what does "Nechlekah ha'Teyomes" mean?
(a) The most stringent opinion is that of the RITVA (end of 31b), who
explains that the Teyomes is the top central leaf, into which the spine of
the Lulav ends. If that leaf is split (along the natural seam that binds the
two halves of the leaf together) throughout most of its length, that is
called Nechlekah ha'Teyomes and the Lulav is Pasul. The reason is because
the top leaf of the Lulav is the most important part when it comes to the
requirement of "Hadar" (since it is the one seen most), just like the Pitam
of an Esrog.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 645:3) cites the opinion of the Rif and
Rambam (d), while the REMA cites the opinion of the RITVA (a) and writes
that l'Chatchilah one should take a Lulav that is not split at all.
(According to the Shulchan Aruch, if the middle leaf is split, even in its
majority, the Lulav is valid).
The Ritva says that there are some who maintain that even if *less than*
half of the length of the leaf is split, it is also Pasul. He concludes that
people who are especially scrupulous in their performance of Mitzvos should
be stringent like that opinion, because even if the Halachah does not follow
that opinion, when part of the length of a leaf is split there is a
likelihood that the split will increase and reach to a majority of the
length of the leaf, in which case it is certainly Pasul.
(This might also be the intention of the GE'ONIM cited by Tosfos in Bava
Kama (96a) and by the Rosh here. However, the BEIS YOSEF (OC 645) explains
the opinion of the Ge'onim differently.)
(b) RASHI and TOSFOS explain, like the Ritva, that the Teyomes is the top
central leaf. However, they write that the split must reach all the way down
to the spine of the Lulav, continuing through the spine until the next set
of leaves. The TERUMAS HA'DESHEN (#96), quoting RABEINU PERETZ (Hagahos on
the SEMAK), cites a second Girsa in Rashi, in which Rashi requires that the
split reach only a little into the spine for the Lulav to be Pasul, but it
does not have to reach so far down as the next set of leaves. (See CHAZON
ISH OC 145:1)
(c) TOSFOS (Bava Kama 96a) cites an explanation of the RI (who appears to be
explaining the Ge'onim cited earlier in that Tosfos) who says that the
Teyomes is not a single leaf atop the Lulav, but rather it is a double leaf,
each of which is made up of two halves like the other leaves of the Lulav
(that is, the leaf atop the Lulav is a double, double-leaf). Although most
Lulavim end in a *single* double-leaf (that is, one leaf with two halves),
if a Lulav happens to end in a pair of double leaves (that both end at the
same level) and those leaves are connected to each other, then if those two
leaves split apart from each other it is considered Nechlekah ha'Teyomes.
(According to this explanation, Nechlekah ha'Teyomes is a rather rare
(d) RABEINU CHANANEL, the BEHAG cited by Tosfos, the RIF, RAMBAM and the
ROSH explain that the Teyomes refers to the thin membrane that connects the
two halves of each leaf of the Lulav. Nechlekah ha'Teyomes means that if
most of the leaves were split and that membrane no longer keeps them
together, it is as if those leaves were removed entirely from the Lulav.
Each leaf that has split into two is as if it is not there, and thus if a
majority of leaves have split, the Lulav is Pasul. (These Rishonim had the
Girsa "k'Mi sh'Nitlah" ("it is as if it was removed") and not "k'Mi
sh'Nitlah ha'Teyomes" ("it is as if the Teyomes was removed").)
3) HALACHAH: "TZINEI HAR BARZEL" AND LULAVIM FROM DIFFERENT SPECIES
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (29b) says that Lulavim from the type of palm tree
known as "Tzinei Har Barzel" are valid. The Beraisa here says that they are
Pasul. Abaye answers that the Lulavim from the Tzinei Har Barzel are Pasul
when their leaves are short (the tops of the leaves do not reach the bottom
of the next row of leaves). The Gemara explains that in general Lulavim from
such trees have very short leaves. The Rishonim mention a number of causes
for the short leaves of these palms.
4) HALACHAH: HOW BIG MUST A LULAV BE
(a) The RAN writes that since it grows on a very hard mountain (Har Barzel),
it is unable to receive abundant nourishment from the ground that thus its
growth is stunted and its leaves are short.
HALACHAH: From the first three Rishonim, it seems that Tzinei Har Barzel are
the same species as the normal palm tree, and that is why the only Pesul is
the length of the leaves (since the leaves are too short, it is not
"Hadar"). From the Michtam, though, it appears that even though they are
from different species, if the leaves have reached full height their Lulavim
would be valid even though they are from a different species of palm.
(b) The BA'AL HA'ITUR writes that since these trees grow next to the smoke
that comes out of the valley of Gehinom, the smoke dries up the leaves
before they their full height.
(c) The ARUCH (Erech "Tzani") explains that Dekalim (common palms) are tall
palm trees, and "Tzini" are short, or young, palm trees. Apparently, he
understood that because the trees themselves are small, the leaves also grow
(d) The MICHTAM says that Tzinei Har Barzel are "a type of palm tree." It
seems that he understood them to be different species, with a different
nature than the normal palm tree.
This might have relevance to the modern day question of using a Lulav from
the Canary palm tree. About a hundred years ago there were very few palm
trees in Israel. Palms were brought to Israel from the Canary Islands (off
the northwest coast of Africa). These trees grow well in the central and
coastal regions of Israel, where the climate is more mild than in the desert
regions. The normal palm tree, such as that which is common in the Yericho
region, does well in dry and hot climates and does not grow well in the
central and coastal areas, where the Canary palms grow quite well. These
palm trees tend to be prettier, larger, and slightly more green that the
normal palms. In addition, their long branches and leaves do not naturally
fall off, providing them with more foliage. However, in contrast to the
normal palms, instead of dates they grow round, inedible berries. They seem
to be a different species of palm. Lulavim from these trees are commonly
found being sold in the Israeli market before Sukos. Are such Lulavim valid
to use for the Mitzvah?
Some Acharonim rule that they are Pasul because the Canary palm does not
bear the fruit (dates) of normal palm trees. The CHASAM SOFER and RAV TZI
PESACH FRANK (Har Tzvi) reject this reason for the Pesul, because "Temarim"
(in the verse "Kapos Temarim") does not mean dates, but "palm trees," and
thus growing dates is not a requirement for the tree to be valid for the
The more significant question is whether a Lulav from a different species
than the common Israeli palm is valid. Will a Lulav from that tree be valid
simply because it closely resembles the common Lulav? Perhaps according to
the Michtam, it will be valid, because the species does not have to be the
same, while according to the other Rishonim we have no proof that it is
In practice, most Poskim rule that a Canary Lulav may not be used (just as a
lemon may not be used for an Esrog) and therefore one should avoid buying
one. There are several ways to recognize whether a Lulav is from a Canary
palm or from a common palm. First, the top leaves are shorter than the
Teyomes and upper leaves of the Lulav from a common palm. Second, the
distance (when measured along the spine) between the beginning of one leaf
and the next is much shorter. Third, the Canary Lulav is generally a fuller
green. Fourth, the spine of the Canary Lulav is softer and bends easily.
Fifth, if one grasps a leaf of the Lulav between one's fingers and slides
his fingers down the leaf, one's fingers will remain clean with a Canary
Lulav, while with a common Lulav one's fingers will be covered by a whitish
OPINIONS: The Gemara concludes that Shmuel rules that the Tefach with which
we measure the Aravah, Hadas, and Lulav is a small Tefach, which is 5/6ths
of a regular Tefach. Since the Aravah and Hadas must be 3 small Tefachim
long, this comes to 2 1/2 regular Tefachim. The Lulav has to be one Tefach
taller than that. What size does the Lulav have to be in practice?
(a) RASHI (DH v'ha'She'ar) and the ROSH explain that all 4 Tefachim of the
Lulav are of equal size -- they are all small Tefachim. Therefore, the Lulav
altogether needs to be only 4 small Tefachim, which is 13 1/3 Etzba'os
(there are four Etzba'os in a regular Tefach, and 3 1/3 Etzba'os in a small
Tefach), which adds up to 3 1/3 regular Tefachim.
HALACHAH: All three opinions are cited in the SHULCHAN ARUCH (650:1). The
REMA says that l'Chatchilah one should be stringent like the Rambam and take
a full sized Lulav, but b'Di'eved one may be lenient like the Rosh and take
a Lulav of only 3 1/3 Tefachim (Mishnah Berurah 650:8).
(b) The RAN asserts that the fourth Tefach of the Lulav is a regular Tefach,
based on the Beraisa in Nidah (26a) which compares it to the Tefach of other
Mitzvos, which is the regular Tefach. Therefore, the Lulav has to be 14
Etzba'os, or 3 1/2 regular Tefachim.
(c) The RIF and the RAMBAM (Hilchos Lulav 7:8) do not mention the Gemara's
statement that these Tefachim are smaller than normal, implying that the
three Tefachim of the Hadas and Aravah and the four Tefachim of the Lulav
are all normal Tefachim of four Etzba'os. The Magid Mishnah explains that
the Rambam is ruling like the Tana Kama of the Beraisa who argues with Rebbi
Tarfon and states the Shi'urim without defining them as a different type of
The Shulchan Aruch adds that it is the *spine* of the Lulav that must be
this height. If only the leaves reach this height but the spine itself is
shorter, then the Lulav is Pasul.