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Sukah 32


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)


(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 spine.

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.

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.

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 645:41).

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.

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 condition).

(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").)

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).


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.
(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.

(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 exceptionally small.

(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.

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.

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 Lulav.

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 valid.

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 powder.

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.

(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 Tefach.

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).

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.

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