Gefet: Gemara Rashi and Tosafot.
Delve into commentaries on the daf in this advanced level shiur with Rabbanit Yael Shimoni.
Disclaimer: you do not have to be a daf learner to study Gefet. The texts are in Hebrew, the class teaching is in English.
Gefet is a collaboration with Drisha Institute.
Today we begin the third perek of Masechet Sukkah, which deals with the mitzvah of the arba minim and its special halachot. The first mishnayot of the perek go through each one of the four minim and define the criteria to disqualify and validate each of the different minim. The first mishna says:
לולב הגזול והיבש פסול. של אשירה ושל עיר הנדחת פסול. נקטם ראשו, נפרצו עליו פסול. נפרדו עליו כשר. רבי יהודה אומר יאגדנו מלמעלה. ציני הר הברזל כשירות. לולב שיש בו שלשה טפחים כדי לנענע בו כשר:
We will deal with the second disqualification mentioned by the mishna: a “dry lulav”, and will open with Rashi’s explanation of the mishna. Rashi explains:
מתני’ לולב הגזול – לולב כף של תמרים והדר תני הדס וערבה באפי נפשייהו:
יבש – דבעינן מצוה מהודרת דכתיב (שמות טו) ואנוהו:
Rashi begins by understanding that while most of the disqualifications are identical for all of the species, the mishna still chose to dedicate a separate mishna and discussion to each one. It is interesting to point out that the perek opens with the lulav, and while it seems that all of the species have an identical halachic status, from a fundamental perspective, the lulav is central. This could be connected to the tall structure of the physical object, which towers above the others, or it could also be due to the fact that the lulav was also used for schach, which is what gave it a special status on the holiday of Sukkot.
In Rashi’s opinion, the disqualification of the dry lulav is learned from the pasuk in Shirat Hayam which says: “זה אלי ואנוהו”. This law is a general rule which applies to all the mitzvot, and we have already seen its source towards the end of Masechet Shabbat. On Shabbat 133 the gemara says:
“זה אלי ואנווהו” (שמות טו, ב), התנאה לפניו במצוות, עשֵה לפניו סוכה נאה ולולב נאה ושופר נאה, ציצית נאה, ספר תורה נאה וכתוב בו לשמו בדיו נאה, בקולמוס נאה, בלבלר אומן וכורכו בשיראין נאין
We will now see Tosfot who argue with Rashi as to the source of the disqualification of the dry lulav:
ומפרש בגמרא משום דאיתקש לולב לאתרוג דכתיב ביה הדר, ולא כמו שפירש הקונטרס משום דכתיב (שמות טו) זה אלי ואנוהו דאין ואנוהו אלא לכתחלה ולא מיפסל בהכי כדמוכח פ”ק (לעיל דף יא:) דאמרי רבנן לולב מצוה לאוגדו משום שנא’ זה אלי ואנוהו לא אגדו כשר
Tosfot claim that the source and reason for disqualifying a dry lulav is that regarding the arba minim, there is a special requirement of “hadar”. While the word “hadar” is said in the pesukim about the etrog specifically, and this does not sound like an additional requirement, rather a biblical name of the etrog which is called “פרי עץ הדר”, on daf 31a, we will see the argument between Rabbi Yehuda and the rabbis about whether “hadar” is a special law in the etrog, or is also learned from the etrog to the other species. Either way, the gemara immediately following our mishna learns that the disqualification of the dry lulav is learned from the word “hadar”:
לא שנא ביו”ט ראשון ולא שנא ביום טוב שני בשלמא יבש הדר בעינן וליכא
Tosfot challenge Rashi that the principle of “זה אלי ואנווהו” is generally a principle that is connected to the area of “hiddur mitzvah”, meaning a correct and ideal way of doing the mitzvah, but not something that has the ability to disqualify it. Hiddur is something לכתחילה, yet here, as the mishna says, the dry lulav is not just a lulav that isn’t ideal, rather it is disqualified, and whoever uses it does not fulfil his requirement of taking the arba minim. They base their challenge on the gemara on daf 11b where the rabbis learn that one should bind the arba minim together because of “זה אלי ואנווהו”, yet in contrast to Rabbi Yehuda, they think that this is only לכתחילה, but בדיעבד, the arba minim are kosher even if they are not bound together. It is possible to raise an objection on Tosfot, for there are more than a few poskim who hold that the requirement of “hadar” is a real requirement which can disqualify the arba minim on the first day of the holiday (we won’t go into this interesting argument, but those interested should see the commentaries surrounding the psak of the Shulchan Aruch in סימן תרמ”ט סעיף ה).
The Chatam Sofer on our sugiya suggested an interesting answer to solve the difficulty that Tosfot raised on Rashi’s opinion. The basis for his words is found in the sugiya in Masechet Gittin which deals with something totally different. We will begin by learning the sugiya on Gittin 20a, and from there we will see the Chatam Sofer’s chiddush, and what is hiding in the depth of his words regarding how we see the arba minim.
אמר רב חסדא: גט שכתבו שלא לשמה והעביר עליו קולמוס לשמה, באנו למחלוקת רבי יהודה ורבנן. דתניא: הרי שהיה צריך לכתוב את השם, ונתכוין לכתוב יהודה וטעה ולא הטיל בו דלת, מעביר עליו קולמוס ומקדשו, דברי רבי יהודה. וחכמים אומרים: אין השם מן המובחר. אמר רב אחא בר יעקב: דילמא לא היא, עד כאן לא קאמרי רבנן התם – דבעינא “זה אלי ואנוהו” וליכא
The sugiya there deals with the question of whether a get which was not written “לשמה” (with special intention of the husband which is transferred to the scribe writing the get that it is for a specific woman, and will be used to divorce her), and afterwards, the scribe goes over the letters again with the specific intention, is valid or not. Rav Chisda suggests comparing this question to a similar question regarding a sefer Torah which also needs to be written “לשמה”: what will be the law of a sefer Torah where one of Hashem’s names was written without intention, since the scribe made a mistake and wanted to write the name Yehuda, but forgot to write the letter “ד”, and so ended up writing Hashem’s name? Rabbi Yehuda thinks that in this case, the scribe can go over the name again with the proper intention, and thereby validate the sefer Torah, while the Rabbis hold that this type of correction is not enough, and therefore the sefer Torah isn’t kosher. As we can see, Rav Chisda wants to equate these two questions and to claim that Rabbi Yehuda who validates the sefer Torah after the correction will also validate a get that is corrected in the same way, and that the rabbis who invalidate the sefer Torah will also invalidate the get. Rav Acha bar Ya’akov argues with Rav Chisda and thinks that we cannot equate the two cases because the rabbis’ strict ruling regarding the sefer Torah is connected to the special law of “זה אלי ואנווהו”, which does not exist with respect to the get, and therefore, although they disqualify the sefer Torah, they will validate the get.
The Chatam Sofer quotes this sugiya, and from here he comes up with his suggestion. This is what he writes in his chiddushim on Sukkah 29b:
קשיא לר’ אחא בר יעקב קושית תוספות מלולב מצוה לאגדו משום “ואנוהו” ואם לא אגדו כשר. שמע מינה “ואנוהו” אינו מעכב? …דיש לומר דהמצוה עצמה צריכא הידור הן בד’ מינים, הן בכתיבת השם הקדוש, ובכל המצות ומעכב נמי. אבל מי שכבר קנה ד’ מינים כולם מהודרים בעצמותן, אין עיכוב שיהדרהו מבחוץ לאגדו בגימוניות של זהב או לאגדו כלל, ולא קשה מידי קושית תוס’. …וקשה על תוס’ וכי נעלם מהם ומכל הראשונים סוגיא דגיטין הנ”ל? וצריך לומר דסבירא ליה, התם מפרש קרא “זה אלי” דוקא “ואנוהו”. פירוש בקדושת “אלי” כתיבת השם בעינן נוה.. אבל בשארי מצות אינו לעכב
The Chatam Sofer’s idea is built from three parts:
- Stage A: he raises his first difficulty on the opinion of Rav Acha bar Ya’akov: if Tosfot are correct and the law of “זה אלי ואנווהו” is only לכתחילה and not בידעבד, how can Rav Acha bar Ya’akov think that the rabbis will disqualify a sefer Torah because of this law? This same difficulty that Tosfot raised on Rashi can also be raised on Rav Acha in the sugiya in Gittin.
- Stage B: to solve this difficulty, the Chatam Sofer suggests distinguishing between hiddur in creating the mitzvah object, which, according to the rabbis is not just לכתחילה but can also disqualify בדיעבד. This is the reason that the rabbis disqualify the sefer Torah, as Rabbi Acha bar Ya’akov says in the sugiya in Gittin, and this is the reason that Rashi disqualifies the dry lulav. In contrast, the sugiya on Sukkah 11, which Tosfot used to challenge Rashi, does not deal with the creation of the mizvah object, rather with binding the species together, and there, the law of “זה אלי ואנווהו” is really only לכתחילה, but cannot disqualify.
- Stage C: he attempts to understand how Tosfot didn’t think of the sugiya in Gittin, and thought to challenge Rashi with such a weak challenge, given that an important amora thinks like Rashi that “זה אלי ואנווהו” is something that can disqualify even בדיעבד. Here the Chatam Sofer makes an interesting suggestion: he suggests that for Tosfot, the disqualification that Rav Acha bar Ya’akov is talking about in Masechet Gittin cannot apply to all of the mitzvot, rather only to mitzvot where we can say explicitly “זה אלי”, like writing a sefer Torah, which is writing “דברי אלוקים חיים”. But for other mitzvot, this law does not prevent it from being fulfilled.
From Stage C of the Chatam Sofer, we can see that the argument between Tosfot and Rashi is deeper and wider: it is not only the question of where the disqualification of the dry lulav comes from – from a local, specific law of the arba minim of hiddur, or from a general rule that applies to all the mitzvot: “זה אלי ואנווהו”. Rather according to the Chatam Sofer, the argument is regarding the question of whether we can compare the arba minim to the sefer Torah, and see in them an aspect of “זה אלי”. In many places in the sugiyot, it seems as though the arba minim are similar to a type of sacrifice and that they contain a special aspect of man standing before Hashem. This idea is hiding in the opinion of Rashi, and so it is clear why the requirement of “זה אלי ואנווהו” is not just a requirement of hiddur, but rather a critical requirement, because holding the lulav, like the other species, is actually like holding a sefer Torah of “דברי אלוקים חיים”. This idea requires further deepening and thought, and I suggest learning the third perek which deals with the arba minim and the mitzva of taking them, and to look for other hints to this fascinating view.
The continuation of Tosfot on our daf deals with the botanical definition of a dry lulav, and wishes to distinguish between the term “יבש” – dry, which appears here, and the the same term which is mentioned in a different context in Masechet Avoda Zara. For the sake of brevity, we will not look at this inside Tosfot, but this is another example of the methodology of Tosfot, who want to turn Shas into a ball, on the one hand, trying to fit together different definitions and opinions throughout Shas, but on the other hand, this actually causes them to be more exact and to sometimes create other distinctions, like the one here, where the same definition will have different applications in different contexts. In the laws of avoda zara, dry will be defined as one specific botanical stage, while in the laws of disqualification of the arba minim, it will be defined as a different stage.
We saw the argument between Rashi and Tosfot about the source and reason for disqualifying a dry lulav: is it a special, local law of the arba minim, learned from the term “hadar”, or is it a general rule regarding all of the mitzvot which is learned from the pasuk “זה אלי ואנווהו”? Tosfot challenged Rashi that in light of the sugiya on daf 11, it is clear that the law of “זה אלי ואנווהו” does not disqualify בדיעבד, and therefore we can’t use this to explain the disqualification of the dry lulav in the mishna. The Chatam Sofer, using the sugiya in Gittin, took apart the assumption at the basis of Tosfot’s objection, and showed that in regards to the sefer Torah, we see that there is an opinion that thinks that “זה אלי ואנווהו” is a law which also disqualifies בדיעבד.
Through this we are left with a deep, beautiful, and interesting argument: are the arba minim equal to writing a sefer Torah, and in a certain way, they contain a living and breathing meeting with the words of Hashem and with Him, or is it, like all other mitzvot, an act or object, which, although it allows for man to come close to and worship Hashem, it, in and of itself, is not “זה אלי” in its simple sense.
(Translated by Daphna Ansel-Nizan)