דיונים על הדף - סוכה לז

Aharon Braha asked (in Hebrew):

איפה נמצאת ארץ כוש בדיוק. ואם היא נמצאת קרוב לבבל או בבבל עצמה מה הפשט של התחלת מגילת אסתר מהודו ועד כוש. ועוד אם ישנם ב' ארץ כוש מאמתי השנית התחילה להתקראות כך ועל שם מה.

שכמ"ה.

Haqatan Aharon Braha HY"V, Milan, Italy

The Kollel replies:

Aharon - we wrote about this in our Insights, a copy of which appears below.

An interesting addendum was recently told to me by Dr. Shalom Kelman of Baltimore in the name of Rav Yisrael Belsky. Apparently, there is a strange-looking Esrog that has "fingers" growing from its top which grows in only one place in the world, a province in India. Perhaps this was the Indian "Esrog ha'Kushi" of the Mishnah!

Be well,

Mordecai Kornfeld

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Sukah 36

1) HALACHAH: AN ESROG "KUSHI"

OPINIONS: One Beraisa states that an "Esrog Kushi" is valid, while an Esrog which is "similar to a Kushi" is invalid. Another Beraisa, as well as the Mishnah (34b), state that an Esrog Kushi is invalid.

Abaye explains that when the Mishnah says that an Esrog Kushi is invalid, it refers to an Esrog "similar to a Kushi." An actual Esrog Kushi, though, is valid.

Rava argues and says that even an actual Esrog Kushi is invalid, as the Mishnah states, but it is invalid only when it is used in Eretz Yisrael. Since such an Esrog is not common in Eretz Yisrael, it does not qualify as "Hadar" and thus it is invalid. The Beraisa that says that an Esrog Kushi is valid refers to an Esrog Kushi when it is used in Bavel, where such Esrogim are common.

What is an "Esrog Kushi" and what is an Esrog which is "similar to a Kushi"?

(a) Rashi explains that an Esrog Kushi is one that grew in the land of Kush. The Kush-species of Esrog is much darker than the ordinary Esrog. Such an Esrog is valid for use in Kush because that is its normal habitat. In contrast, if a local Esrog tree in another place produces a mutant Esrog which is dark colored and looks like an Esrog from Kush (it is "similar to a Kushi"), it is invalid even in Kush. Rava adds that even the Esrog Kushi itself is invalid in Eretz Yisrael (if it was imported, for example), because such dark Esrogim are uncommon and are considered uncomely to those who are not accustomed to such dark Esrogim.

Why, according to Rava, is an Esrog Kushi valid in Bavel? Rashi explains that Bavel is close to Kush, and the Esrogim of Kush are thus commonly found in Bavel. (Support for Rashi's explanation may be found in the Yerushalmi (Sukah 3:6).)

The land of Kush is commonly identified as Ethiopia. If Kush is Ethiopia, though, why does Rashi say that it is close to Bavel? Ethiopia is closer to Eretz Yisrael than it is to Bavel, and thus its Esrogim should be more common in Eretz Yisrael than in Bavel.

Apparently, the land of Kush mentioned in the Mishnah and Beraisa does not refer to the Kush in east Africa. Rather, it refers to a country close to Hodu (India), as mentioned in the Gemara in Megilah (11a). (This Kush was likely in the region of the Hindu-Kush Mountains in east Afghanistan).

Aharon Braha responded:

אבל זה לא מפרש בכלל למה הכונה על כוש היא "אטיופיא" וה"ה לשאר שאלות ששאלתי. זו תשובה רק לשאלה ראשונה

שכמ"ה

The Kollel replies:

אהרון, הסליחה אתך. אפרט את תשובתנו ביתר בירור:

א) ישנם שני ארצות שנקראו בשם "כוש". הראשון היא מה נקראת היום אתיופיה (שבאפריקה), והשני היא חבל של הרים שנקראת היום הינדו-כוש (באפגניסטן שליד הודו). לפרש"י שבסוגיין, מדובר כאן בכוש שליד הודו שהוא קרוב לבבל יותר מלא"י.

ב) בגמ' מגילה יא. נחלקו האמוראים אם הודו וכוש הם שתי מדינות בתכלית הקירוב או שתי מדינות בתכלית הריחוק. כנראה שנחלקו באיזה כוש מדובר שם, וכנ"ל.

ג) שמעתי שיישובי הרי ההינדו-כוש נוסדו על ידי אנשים שיצאו מכוש ובאו לשם וקראו אותו על שם מדינת מוצאם.

יש להעיר שכמו שמצאנו שתי ארצות שנקראו בשם כוש בחז"ל, כך מצאנו שתי ארצות בשם הינדווא בדברי התרגום והראשונים (ראה מאמרינו על זה ב-Background to the Daf המועתק למטה). ייתכן שגם זה נהיה בדרך הנ"ל, ושתי השמות "הינדו" ו"כוש" מקורם באפריקה ו"יובאו" להודו של ימינו.

Background to Yoma, Daf 34

*25b*) [line 25] HINDEVAYIN - a) linen garments crafted in Hindeva. the Aramaic name Hindeva (alt. Hindeka) is generally translated as "India". That this place is indeed India ("Hodu" in Hebrew) is implied by Midrash Koheles Raba 2:5, which writes that certain exotic spices grow in "Hindiki", and Targum Onkelos to Megilas Esther 1:1, where India is referred to as "Hindiya Raba". RASHI to Avodah Zarah 16a DH b'Farzela identifies Hindeva as India as well.

Targum Yonasan, however, identifies Hindeva as "Ethiopia" (see Targum Yonasan to Bereishis 2:11, 10:7, 25:18 and Divrei ha'Yamim I 1:9, where he translates "Chavila" as "Hindeva" according to the Girsa of the Aruch [Erech Hinduy] or "Hindeka" according to our texts, and Targum Yonasan to Yirmeyahu 13:23 where he translates "Kushi" as "Hindeva'ah"). RASHI agrees with this identification of Hindeva here, as well as on 81b, on Berachos 36b, and on Kidushin 22b. It is possible that both India and a region of Ethiopia were known by the name of Hindeva/Hodu (see Megilah 11a)