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Sukah 37

SUKA 36-56 (End of Maseches) have been dedicated by the wife and daughters of the late Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens N.Y. Well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah, he will long be remembered.


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses whether one must hold the Lulav in his bare hand, or whether one may use a Lulav-holder to grasp the Lulav. Rabah maintains that the Lulav-holder is considered a Chatzitzah (intervention), and since the Torah requires that one grasp the Lulav with a "Lekichah Tamah" (a "complete grasp"), one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah when there is a Chatzitzah. Rava argues and says that it is not a Chatzitzah, because it is for the purpose of beautifying the Mitzvah.

Next, the Gemara discusses whether a person is allowed to hold a Lulav with a handkerchief. Rashi explains that the question is whether it is permitted to wrap the handkerchief around one's hand and hold the Lulav with it. Rabah says that it is not permitted because it is not a "Lekichah Tamah," while Rava says that it is permitted, because he holds that "Lekichah Al Yedei Davar Acher Shmah Lekichah" -- holding an item by the way of something else is considered to be holding the item.

We see from the first discussion, regarding a Lulav-holder, that even Rava would agree that any intervening item is a Chatzitzah if it does not serve to beautify the Mitzvah. If so, why is the handkerchief not considered a Chatzitzah? It is not serving to beautify the Mitzvah! Why is the Lulav- holder considered a potential Chatzitzah, while a handkerchief is considered only a "Lekichah Al Yedei Davar Acher," and not a Chatzitzah?

Furthermore, we find (Pesachim 57a) that a wicked Kohen by the name of Yissachar Ish K'far Barka'i was punished for performing the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash while wearing gloves. Rashi there explains that the gloves were a Chatzitzah and thus disqualified the Avodah. What is the difference between holding the Lulav while wearing a handkerchief as a glove around one's hand, which is not a Chatzitzah according to Rava, and performing the Avodah with a glove, which is a Chatzitzah? (TOSFOS DH d'Ba'ina)


(a) TOSFOS (DH d'Ba'ina) first suggests that a handkerchief differs from a Lulav-holder. Since the handkerchief is wrapped around one's hand (and not around the Lulav), it is serving the hand and becomes Batel to the hand. It is considered part of the hand, and therefore it is not a Chatzitzah.

Why, then, was Yissachar Ish K'far Barka'i punished for wearing a glove during the Avodah, if something serving the hand is not considered a Chatzitzah? Tosfos answers that he was not punished for doing the Avodah with a Chatzitzah. Rather, he was punished for disgracing the Avodah, by showing that he did not want to touch it directly with his hands.

The RITVA answers the question from Yissachar differently, explains in the name of the RAMBAN. Our Gemara, he contends, is not discussing the question of Chatzitzah at all. There is no Pesul of Chatzitzah when it comes to holding a Lulav. Even Rabah, who does not permit holding a Lulav with a handkerchief, does not call it a Chatzitzah. He says that it is not a "Lekichah Tamah." (Even though he clearly states in the previous case that holding a Lulav with a holder is a Chatzitzah, he means that it is not a proper Lekichah, as Rashi states there, and not that there is an intrinsic problem with having something separating between one's hand and the Lulav. When the Gemara on 37b mentions Chatzitzah, though, it definitely refers to a problem of an intervening Chatzitzah, since otherwise the rules of "Min b'Mino Eino Chotzetz" are not appropriate to the discussion. However, it is referring to an intervening substance between *the Minim* while one is holding them, and not between one's hand and the Lulav.) When holding the Lulav, a Chatzitzah is not a Pesul. Rather, the Torah requires "Lekichah Tamah," and the question is whether it is considered a full Lekichah when something is wrapped around one's hand. In the case in Pesachim, the wicked Kohen was punished because the *Avodah* may not be done with a Chatzitzah. Even though the glove was serving the hand, it is a Chatzitzah. When it comes to holding a Lulav, though, the requirement is not that there be no Chatzitzah, but that there be a "Lekichah Tamah," and the only case of a Lekichah that is not "Tamah" is when there is something between one's hand and the Lulav that is neither serving the hand and Batel to it, nor serving to beautify the Lulav.

(b) TOSFOS (ibid.) eventually rejects this explanation. He says instead that the only time something is considered a Chatzitzah is when it is necessary for holding the Lulav, such as the Lulav-holder which holds the Lulav together with the other Minim. Something which is totally extraneous, such as a glove, cannot be a Chatzitzah. Perhaps the logic behind this is "Kol ha'Ra'uy l'Bilah, Ein Bilah Me'akeves Bo;" since the Lulav does not need that item (i.e., it is theoretically possible to remove it from the Lulav and yet fulfill the Mitzvah properly), it is not considered a Chatzitzah.

Tosfos rejects this explanation as well on logical grounds, saying that if it is not necessary for the Lulav, than all the more so it should be a Chatzitzah (as he proves from Yoma 58a)!

(c) TOSFOS concludes that the case of holding the Lulav with a handkerchief does not mean that the handkerchief is wrapped around one's hand, or wrapped around the Lulav. Rather, the handkerchief is arranged in such a way that it is serving as a holder for the Lulav; the handkerchief is holding the Lulav, while the person's hand is holding the handkerchief (for example, one loops the handkerchief around the Lulav, and he gathers the two sides and twists them together, forming a handle which he holds in his hand). In this case, the handkerchief is actually helping the hand hold the Lulav, and it is not just protecting the hand, and therefore, as far as the Lekichah (holding) is concerned, it is considered to be an extension of the hand and not a Chatzitzah.


OPINIONS: The Mishnah discusses the parts of Hallel at which one should wave the Lulav (Na'anu'im). The Gemara makes a statement about how these Na'anu'im are to be done. According to Rava, the Lulav is waved the same way as the Shtei ha'Lechem of Shavu'os is waved in the Beis ha'Mikdash -- that is, it is waved forward and then back (Molich u'Mevi), and then up and down (Ma'aleh u'Morid). In addition, the Yerushalmi (3:10) quotes a Beraisa that states cryptically that one must wave the Lulav "three times for each thing." Rebbi Zeira, in the Yerushalmi, questions whether the movement forward is considering one waving, and then the movement back is considered a second waving, or the full forward-back movement is considered one waving.

What are the "three times for each thing" to which the Beraisa refers? Furthermore, how does the Yerushalmi's description of the three Na'anu'im fit the description of the Na'anu'im given in our Gemara (Molich u'Mevi, Ma'aleh u'Morid)?

(a) TOSFOS (DH Kdei), the ROSH (3:26), and the TUR (OC 651) explain that according to our Gemara, one must stretch out the Lulav to each of six directions -- to the four directions (east, south, north, west), and up and down. The Yerushalmi is adding that while one stretches his arms to each direction, one must also move his hands back and forth three times (making a smaller to-and-fro movement). Rebbi Zeira's question in the Yerushalmi is whether one needs to move his hands back and forth only three times (back, forth, back), or six times (back-forth, back-forth, back-forth). They rule that since it is not difficult to do, we should be stringent and do the short wavings six (and not just three) times, for a total of 36 wavings (six times in each of the six directions).

(b) The BA'AL HA'ITUR (cited by the Rosh) and the RITVA (in the name of "Yesh Mefarshim") explain that the Yerushalmi and Bavli are saying the same thing but in different words. When the Bavli says that the Lulav should be waved "Molich u'Mevi, Ma'aleh u'Morid," the Yerushalmi says that those constitute three movements -- "Molich u'Mevi" are two movements, and "Ma'aleh u'Morid" is one movement. Rebbi Zeira questions whether the single series movement of "forward and back" (Molich u'Mevi) is considered two movements, and thus it is enough to move the Lulav forward and back a single time, or whether the "forward and back" movement is considered only one movement, so that one must do two actions of "forward and back" (forward- back, forward-back -- or, even better, forward-back, side-to-side ) in order to get two movements. The "up and down" movement is counted as only one movement because "down" is not counted as a separate movement (since it is not possible to go up without coming down).

(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Lulav 7:10) rules that the Bavli and the Yerushalmi are complementing each other by noting two different *types* of movements of the Lulav. The Bavli says that one should stretch out the Lulav to each direction (and up and down). The Yerushalmi adds that when one stretches out his hands, he must also make the top of the Lulav jiggle while his arms are outstretched. This is the Na'anu'a mentioned in the Mishnah earlier (29b). The question of Rebbi Zeira is whether one must also perform these short quivers of the Lulav when one brings his hands back to him. If so, the Yerushalmi is discussing an entirely different aspect of shaking than the Bavli. The Bavli is discussing moving the Lulav back and forth, and the Yerushalmi is discussing jiggling the Lulav.

(d) The RIF, RAMBAN, RITVA, and RAN explain, like the Rambam, that the Bavli and Yerushalmi are discussing two types of shaking. However, according to these Rishonim, the two types of shaking are done at two different times. After doing the Bavli's set of forward and back, up and down, movements, one must jiggle the Lulav three times. This quivering, although much smaller than the forward and back movements, also involves a minor forward and back motion. Rebbi Zeira's question is whether this forward and back quivering motion is considered two movements (forward and back), so that it suffices to do three such movements (forward, back, forward), or whether it is considered one movement (forward-back), so that one must do six movements (forward-back, forward-back, forward-back).

(The last two opinions do not seem to mention that the Lulav must be stretched out to all four directions in addition to up and down. They may maintain that it suffices to move the Lulav just forward and back, i.e. in two directions, besides up and down. The Itur (second opinion), who maintains that this is the Safek of Rav Zeira in the Yerushalmi, also concludes l'Halachah that just forward and back is sufficient.)

The RAMBAN and RITVA prove that the Bavli also requires that the Lulav be quivered, even though the Bavli does not explicitly say so. The Mishnah (29b, as explained by the Gemara on 32b) says that the Lulav must extend at least one Tefach beyond the height of the Hadasim and Aravos "in order to shake the Lulav." If there is no need to jiggle the Lulav, but only to move it back and forth, why is an extra Tefach on top necessary? It must be that the Bavli also understands that when the Mishnah says "Na'anu'a," it refers to jiggling the Lulav.

This proof can be refuted by the Rambam's explanation (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) of the Mishnah there. The Rambam explains that the Mishnah is not saying that there must be an extra Tefach on top of the Lulav, but rather there must be an extra Tefach extending *below* the Hadasim and Aravos, at the bottom of the Lulav! The purpose of this extra Tefach is to be able to grasp the Lulav with one's hands in order to move the entire bundle back and forth. "In order to shake the Lulav" means that the Tefach is needed so that one can hold the Lulav in order to move it back and forth. According to this explanation, there is no proof that the Bavli requires jiggling the Lulav (because none of the Lulav is sticking out above the Hadasim and Aravos).

(The RAMBAM in Hilchos Lulav, though, does mention jiggling the top of the Lulav, as mentioned above (c). Perhaps he retracted his opinion as expressed in the Perush ha'Mishnayos. Alternatively, it could be that the Rambam argues with the Ramban and Ritva and maintains that the Lulav does not need to stick out a Tefach on top in order to jiggle it; even if the top of the Lulav is flush with the top of the Hadasim and Aravos, it can still be jiggled.)

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 651:9) seems to rule like the opinion quoted by the TUR in the name of his father, the ROSH (as explained by the Beis Yosef), or (a) above, who mentions major and minor back-and-forth movements to each of six directions. He does not mention jiggling. The REMA adds that one must also jiggle the leaves of the Lulav *while* one is moving it back and forth. In addition, while the Rema agrees with the Shulchan Aruch that one must move the Lulav forward and back three times (for a total of six movements), he argues that those movements are done by stretching out one's arms completely, and then bringing the arms back to one's body; the movements are not short forward and back movements that are done once the arms are outstretched, as the Shulchan Aruch rules (i.e. there are two sets of major movements, and no minor ones).
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