More Discussions for this daf
1. Hareini Kaparas Mishkavo 2. Mats for Sechach 3. Tavi the slave

Rabbi Isaiah Beilin asked:

Dear Kolel,

I just received a copy of a new sefer where the question discussed is if one may nail down a bamboo mat to the sucah so that it does not blow away. He focuses on "maamid" and comes up with a heter.

I am not too concerned about maamid. May acharonim (I heard in the name of Reb Chayim) were mekil.

But, I do believe that he overlooked a tosfot on pg 2a which says that the sechach must be placed derech arai. This point is repeated in the piskei hatosfot in the back of the gemoroh. We have a similar discussion that the nails must be removed in a later mishne.

What do you think? Could you wave this by my old friend R. Perkel?

Rabbi Beilin

The Kollel replies:

It is true that Tosfos says that the Sechach must be placed on the Sukah in a way that it is Arai, but it is questionable as to whether a bamboo mat nailed onto the Sukah would not be considered Arai. Tosfos seems to suggest that Kevah is Pasul because it is called a house not a Sukah. This reason is applicable to the beams of wood under discussion in Tosfos, but not to bamboo mats. See Magen Avraham (626:6) who brings a Rashba who did not disqualify pieces of wood that were attached by nails, due to the din of Kevah. Some Rishonim understood that beams and nails are only Pasul if they do not let the water through. If so bamboo mats are certainly not a problem even if they were nailed in to place.

Dov Freedman

The question referred to the following Insights to the Daf:


QUESTION: According to Rav Papa's explanation of the Mishnah (19b), the Mishnah teaches that a large mat made of reeds ("Machtzeles ha'Kanim") is normally made for use as Sechach (even without expressed intent). Therefore, it is valid for use as Sechach. In contrast, a small mat of reeds is normally made for the use of reclining upon, and thus it is invalid for use as Sechach. The Beraisa states that a mat of reeds may not be used for Sechach if it is interwoven ("Arugah"), but it may be used if it is braided ("Gedulah"). RASHI and TOSFOS point out that the Beraisa means that even a small mat (that was made with no expressed purpose) may be used for Sechach if it is braided.

In the end of the Beraisa, Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Dosa say that a mat may be used for Sechach even if it is interwoven. According to Rashi, this means that a small mat of reeds may be used regardless of how the reeds are intertwined (Arugah or Gedulah).

However, this opinion seems to contradict the Mishnah which states that a small mat of reeds that was made with no specific intent is presumably made for the sake of reclining upon and may not be used for Sechach.

How can the opinion expressed in the Beraisa be reconciled with the Mishnah?


(a) The MAHARSHA writes that Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Dosa disagree with the Tana of the Mishnah. The Halachah follows the Mishnah, and not their opinion. This is the ruling of the RA'AVAD (Hilchos Sukah 5:4).

(b) The RIF and RAMBAM (Hilchos Sukah 5:4) make no mention of the difference between woven and braided mats of reeds. The MAGID MISHNEH explains that they rule like Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Dosa in the Beraisa, who say that both types of mats are valid as Sechach.

However, the Rif and Rambam understand that the word the Beraisa uses is not "Gedulah" (braided) but "Gedolah" -- large. Accordingly, the Tana Kama of the Beraisa means that a large reed mat is valid, as the Mishnah says, but not if it is a woven. The Rambam rules like Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Dosa who argue with the Tana Kama of the Beraisa and say that a large mat is always valid (even when it is woven), which is the same opinion expressed by the Mishnah (which permits all large mats to be used as Sechach and does not differentiate between woven or braided mats).

HALACHAH: The difference between woven and braided mats is not cited by the Shulchan Aruch (who rules like the Rambam in this regard). In practice, however, the Halachah depends on the purpose for which mats are normally used in that particular place and time (MISHNAH BERURAH 629:18).

In recent years, reed mats have been introduced to the market with the claim that they were expressly manufactured for the purpose of Sechach. There are four issues that are relevant to the Halachah with regard to these mats.

1. Were the mats made in a place in which most mats of that sort are used for reclining upon? (Several types today are manufactured in the Far East.) Regardless of where they will be used as Sechach, if in their place of origin they are normally used for reclining, they are Mekabel Tum'ah and may not be used for Sechach.

2. The Halachah is that, l'Chatchilah, one should not support the Sechach with an object that itself is unfit to be used as Sechach (the "Ma'amid" must fit the criteria for Sechach; see Insights to Sukah 21b). A string or rope that binds the separate parts of the mat together is considered a "Ma'amid." Since some ropes are Mekabel Tum'ah, they should not be used to bind the parts of the mat together. (Vines and natural fibers may be used, since they are not Mekabel Tum'ah and are valid Sechach themselves.)

3. The Rabanan instituted that a board with a width of three Tefachim or more is invalid for Sechach. This decree is known as "Gezeiras Tikrah" (14a). Does this decree apply to a mat? While each individual slat in the mat is not four Tefachim wide, the combined width of the tied slats is greater than four Tefachim. Perhaps all of the slats are viewed as one entity, since they are tied together, and the decree of "Gezeiras Tikrah" should apply to such a mat. (This consideration might not apply to a mat woven with unprocessed bamboo or sticks, since such pieces may be considered separate even when tied together. Only a mat comprised of wooden slats tied together might pose a problem of "Gezeiras Tikrah," since the may of slats may be considered a single entity.)

4. The Gemara discusses the "Gezeiras Chavilah," a decree of the Rabanan that disqualifies a bundle comprised of 25 or more sticks from being used as Sechach. Is a mat of tied slats considered a Chavilah? (Interwoven slats obviously are not considered a Chavilah. The question of Chavilah arises only with a mat that consists of parallel slats tied together.)

Since not all mats are the same, and there are various opinions among the authorities how to rule in each case, one should consult a competent rabbinical authority in order to determine which mats may be used for Sechach.

Rabbi Isaiah Beilin responds:

The case of the Rashbah is not where the wood is nailed to the sucah. It is nailed to each other and hence a case of maamid only. See Taz. But, he did not suggest nailing them to the sucah proper. That could make it kevah. I see no proof from that Rashba. Nailing down is an example of kevah. Look also in meforshim (Rosh) on first Mishne pg 15a.

The Kollel replies:

It is true that in the case of the Rashba, the Sechach is not attached to the walls of the Sukah. However, if the Sechach is to be considered Kavu'a when it is nailed down, I do not see any reason to say that this should only be applicable when it is nailed to the walls of the Sukah. As long as the Sechach is attached to something stable, as appears to be the case in the situation which the Rashba discusses, it may be considered Kavu'a. However, if the Rashba is talking in a situation where the whole piece is portable, there would certainly be no proof, as you point out. (I think Sefer ha'Sukah brings this proof from the Rashba in Chelek 2.)

Dov Freedman

Rabbi Zirkind notes:

It is Mefurash as you say in Magen Avraham 627:2 and Sha'ar ha'Tziyun 633:6.

See also Piskei Teshuvos 629:11 footnote #62, who discusses why the Acharonim do not discuss Ma'amid in the case that you brought. He brings two reasons:

1. The Acharonim are discussing a case in which the Sechach would stay in place without the nails.

2. Ma'amid only disqualifies the Sechach l'Chatchilah, while Gezeiras Tikrah is Asur mi'Dina.

The Piskei Teshuvos adds that the Acharonim make a distinction between planks that are nailed (as per Tosfos mentioned above) or branches etc. He further brings from the ha'Elef Lecha Shlomo (R' Shlomo Kluger) who says that even planks are only Asur when the planks will stop the rain from coming in. However, the Magen Avraham and Mishnah Berurah do not seem to accept that opinion l'Halachah but rather prohibit using planks in all cases, as does the Aruch Ha'shulchan 629:32.

Yitzchok Zirkind

The Kollel further responds:

Dear Rabbi Beilin,

I do not understand how you are responding to the point that I have made in my reply. What I was trying to say was that something need not necessarily be attached to be considered Kavu'a. If the apparatus the Rashba is discussing was large and heavy and therefore stable, as seems reasonable to assume, it would be considered Kavu'a even if it were portable (cf. Shabbos 102b) and consequently pieces of wood attached to the said apparatus would also be considered Kavu'a. Obviously ma'amid and Kavu'a have no connection, that was not the issue.

As far as bamboo in places where houses are commonly roofed as such, it is true that according to the Rishonim that the Mishneh B'rurah quotes (629:49), they would be disqualified. However this is not because they are considered Kavu'a, rather because of Gezairas Tikrah. They would not be Pasul for the reason of Beiso Shel Kol ha'Shanah, because they are not Kavu'a, just like Nesarim less than three Tefachim were not disqualified for this reason even in places where it was the Derech to use them in houses, or for that matter Nesarim of four Tefachim in the Mishneh.

Dov Freedman