[34a - 39 lines; 34b - 40 lines]

1)[line 2]למקדשL'MIKDASH (ARAVAH)

(a)When the Beis ha'Mikdash stood, long willow branches were cut during each of the first six days of Sukos from Motza, an area just outside of Yerushalayim. They were placed in a standing position surrounding the Mizbe'ach, and they were long enough that their tips hung over the top of the Mizbe'ach. Kohanim made a circuit around the Mizbe'ach while reciting certain prayers. (According to one opinion (Sukah 43b), the Kohanim carried he Aravah branches as they circled.)

(b)On Hoshana Rabah, the seventh day of Sukos, the Kohanim made seven circuits around the Mizbe'ach, while fervently praying to HaSh-m for spiritual growth, salvation, and bountiful crops.

(c)If one of the first six days fell on Shabbos, then this ceremony was not held. If Hoshana Rabah was on Shabbos, however, then the willow branches were cut the day before (Sukah 45a, RAMBAM Hilchos Lulav 7:20-21).


(a)The Torah requires farmers to desist from working the land every seventh year (Vayikra 25:1-7). Produce which grows during the seventh (Shevi'is) year is holy, which in this context means:

1.It is considered ownerless; anyone may enter a field and pick that which he wishes to eat.

2.The fruits may not be bought and sold in a normal fashion (see Insights to Sukah 39:2).

3.Shevi'is produce may be consumed only in the manner considered normal for that type of food, or burned to provide illumination in the case of oil. It may not be wasted, used for medicinal purposes, fed to animals, etc.

(b)Chazal understand from the verse "ba'Charish uva'Katzir Tishbos" - "you should refrain [from working the field] during the time of plowing and harvest" (Shemos 34:21) - that one may not work his field for a period of one month prior to the Rosh Hashanah that signals the onset of Shemitah. This is known as Tosefes Shevi'is. The Chachamim enacted that one may not plow a field beginning from Pesach of the year before Shemitah, and that one may not plow around and under the roots of trees in an orchard in order to help aerate and irrigate them beginning from Shavu'os of the year before Shemitah (Mo'ed Katan 3a).

(c)"Eser Neti'os" -- "ten saplings" -- refers to a Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai concerning ten young trees equally dispersed throughout a Beis Se'ah (an area fifty Amos by fifty Amos). The Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai teaches that since saplings are delicate, one may plow the entirety of such a field all the way up to the Rosh Hashanah at which Shemitah begins. If there are fewer trees or a they are planted in a larger area, then one is permitted to plow under and around them for a proportionate area; i.e., an area one-tenth that of a Beis Se'ah (Shevi'is 1:6).

3)[line 4]ניסוך המיםNISUCH HA'MAYIM

(a)A Halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai teaches us that on Sukos in the Beis ha'Mikdash there is a Mitzvah of Nisuch ha'Mayim (lit. pouring of the water). Three Lugim (approx. 1.5 liter) of water are drawn from the Shilo'ach spring, which is located to the south of the Temple Mount. This water is then brought to the Azarah amidst a joyous procession, in fulfillment of the Pasuk, "u'She'avtem Mayim b'Sason..." ("and you shall draw water with rejoicing..." - Yeshayah 12:3). The Kohen who is chosen to pour the water ascends the Mizbe'ach and pours the water from a golden flask into one of the Sefalim (silver libation pipes located in the southwest corner of the Mizbe'ach). The Nisuch ha'Mayim takes place each day of Sukos at the time of the morning Tamid sacrifice amidst much rejoicing.

4)[line 7]מאי קראה?MAI KERA'AH?- what is the verse [that demonstrates the inferiority of Tzaftzafah]?

5)[line 7]"... קָח עַל מַיִם רַבִּים, צַפְצָפָה שָׂמוֹ""... KACH AL MAYIM RABIM, TZAFTZAFAH SAMO" - "[And he took from the seed of the earth and he planted it in a field;] he took it to where there was much water, and he placed it so that it would grow to be a Tzaftzafah (a mountain willow)" (Yechezkel 17:5) (THE EAGLES AND THE VINE)

(a)HaSh-m commanded the Navi Yechezkel to pose a riddle to Klal Yisrael. He told a story of a great eagle that planted a seed in a field. The vine, however, yearned for the care of another great eagle.

(b)HaSh-m explained that the first eagle symbolized Nevuchadnetzar, who set Yehoyachin up as King in Yerushalayim. Yehoyachin, however, rebelled and looked to Pharaoh of Mitzrayim to help him. For breaking the oath that Tzidkiyahu made with Nevuchadnetzar, HaSh-m promised that Yehoyachin would not escape the wrath of Nevuchadnetzar.

(c)Rebbi Avahu interprets the verse quoted above differently, in a manner inconsistent with the rest of the chapter. HaSh-m, the eagle of the parable, wished to plant the seed - the Jewish people - as an Aravah in Eretz Yisrael. The symbolism of an Aravah suggests that though there were Jews who did keep the Torah and Mitzvos as they ought to have, they were nevertheless considered part of His nation as they were associated with Klal Yisrael as a whole. This is similar to an Aravah, which is part of the Mitzvah of Arba Minim although it has no taste (unlike the Esrog or dates of the Lulav tree), which symbolizes Torah, or smell (unlike the Esrog or Hadasim), which symbolizes Mitzvos. Those Jews who rebelled against HaSh-m, however, placed themselves in the position of a Tzaftzafah, which is not fit for use as part of the Mitzvah of Arba Minim.

6)[line 14]אמתניתאA'MASNISA- in the Mishnah; i.e., our Mishnah itself quoted this verse as a source for the inferiority of Tzaftzafah

7)[line 21]קנה שלהKANEH SHE'LAH- its stem

8a)[line 21]פיה חלקPIHAH CHALAK- the edges of its leaves are smooth

b)[line 22]פיה דומה למגלPIHAH DOMEH L'MAGAL- the edges of its leaves are serrated like a sickle [whose teeth angle in toward the handle]

c)[line 23]דומה למסרDOMEH L'MASAR- serrated like a saw (O.F. serre) [whose teeth are perpendicular to the blade]

9)[line 25]חילפא גילאCHILFA GILA- a species of Aravah whose leaves serrated like a sickle, but in all other ways does not resemble Tzaftzafah

10)[line 29]הני תלת מילי אשתני שמייהוHANI TELAS MILEI ASHTINHU SHEMAIHU- the names of the following three pairs of items have been switched around. The examples of Rav Chisda, Abaye, and Rava that follow highlight mistakes made at the time of the Gemara by unlearned people. These mistakes have all since been corrected (ME'IRI).

11)[line 30]חלפתאCHALAFTA- (Aramaic for) Tzaftzafah

12a)[line 32]שיפוראSHIFORA- a Shofar, a curved ram's horn

b)[line 32]חצוצרתאCHATZOTZARTA- a straight horn that is not from a ram

13a)[line 33]פתורתאPESORTA- a small table

b)[line 34]פתוראPESORA- a large table

14a)[line 36]בי כסיBEI KASEI- Aramaic for Beis ha'Kosos; the recticulum, the second of the four stomachs of a ruminant. The Beis ha'Kosos has a thick double wall.

b)[line 36]הובלילאHUVLILA- Aramaic for Hemses; the omasum, the third of the four stomachs of a ruminant. The Hemses has a thin wall.

15)[line 37]מחט הנמצא בעובי בית הכוסותMACHAT HA'NIMTZA B'OVEI BEIS HA'KOSOS- a needle found in the thickness of the wall of the Beis ha'Kosos. One need not assume that such a needle has pierced all the way through the wall if it does not appear to have, which would render the animal not kosher. If it is found in the thin-walled Hemses, however, it is not kosher no matter what.

16)[last line]בורסיףBORSIF- an area next to Bavel that was populated by unlearned people



(a)The Chachamim instituted that one who delivers a Get (divorce document) to a woman from her husband who is outside of Eretz Yisrael must state "b'Fanai Nichtav uv'Fanai Nechtam" - "this Get was written and signed upon in my presence [in accordance with Halachah]." Without this assertion, the Get is invalid.

(b)The Amora'im disagree as to the reasoning for this decree. Rabah maintains that it is because we are concerned that those outside of Eretz Yisrael are unaware that the Get must be written specifically for this divorce. Rava maintains that it is because we are concerned that if a question arises concerning the validity of the Get, witnesses from that place who may be aware of the situation are not readily found in Eretz Yisrael (Gitin 2b).

(c)Bavel is an exception to this decree. This is because Bavel is full of Talmidei Chachamim, who certainly know the Halachos of Gitin and who consistently travel back and forth from Eretz Yisrael to learn from the Talmidei Chachamim there. Borsif, however, meets the criteria of those places for which the decree was originally intended.

18)[line 3]שנים קטומיםSHNAYIM KETUMIM- two Hadasim whose a) tops (RASHI); b) smaller branches (RA'AVAD, BA'AL HA'ME'OR, cited in the KORBAN NESANEL 14:300) are cut off

19)[line 7]"כפת תמרים" אחד"KAPAS TEMARIM" ECHAD- Although the word is pronounced "Kapos", which is plural, it is written without a Vav.

20)[line 15]לא נאמר אלא "כפת"LO NE'EMAR ELA "KAPAS"- the Torah writes no more than "Kapos" [as opposed to "v'Kapos." The description of Hadasim and Aravos, however, are connected to that of the Lulav with a connecting Vav.]

21)[line 16]שמעכבין זה את זהSHE'ME'AKVIN ZEH ES ZEH- that one is unable to fulfill the Mitzvah of Arba Minim without all four of the species

22)[line 17]תמהTAMAH- perfect

23)[line 20]חזר בו רבי ישמעאלCHAZAR BO REBBI YISHMAEL- Rebbi Yishmael retracted his original view [that three Hadasim are required]. By stating that two of them may be beheaded, he is in effect stating that they are not necessary to begin with.

24)[line 22]מזבני אסאMEZAVNEI ASA- they sell Hadasim

25)[line 23]אשוו וזבינוASHVU V'ZAVINU- sell [the three complete Hadasim that people wish to purchase] at a reasonable price

26)[line 24]משום דמיקלMISHUM D'MEIKEL- because he wished to scare them by threatening them with the most lenient of opinions (TOSFOS DH v'Lidrosh)

27)[line 25]תלתא קטומי שכיחיTELASA KETUMEI SHECHICHEI- [the Gemara answers that Rebbi Tarfon is the most lenient of opinions, since] three beheaded Hadasim are easily obtainable

28)[line 28]ערלהORLAH

(a)One may not derive any benefit from the fruit produced by a fruit tree in the first three years following its planting. These fruits are termed "Orlah" (Vayikra 19:23). This status applies not only to the fruit but also to the peel of the fruit (Kelipei Orlah).

(b)If one consumes a k'Zayis of Orlah fruit, he receives Malkus. According to most Rishonim one who derives benefit from Orlah (or any other food that is Asur b'Hana'ah) is punished with Malkus as well (TOSFOS Chulin 120a DH Ela). There are those, however, who maintain that for such a transgression one receives only Makas Mardus (Malkus instituted by the Rabanan; RAMBAM Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 8:16 - see also Mishneh l'Melech to Yesodei ha'Torah 5:8).

29)[line 29]תרומהTERUMAH

(a)Once a crop is harvested and brought to the owner's house or yard, he must separate Terumah from the crop and give it to a Kohen (Bamidbar 18:12; Devarim 18:4). Although the Torah does not specify how much to give, the Rabanan set the requirement at between one fortieth and one sixtieth of the total crop.

30)[line 30]דמאיDEMAI

(a)Produce originating from an Am ha'Aretz (an unlearned Jew who may be lax in his Torah observance; see Berachos 47b) is referred to as Demai ("Da Mai?" - "what is this?").

(b)Terumas Ma'aser and Ma'aser Sheni must be separated from such produce, since a minority of Amei ha'Aretz are not careful to separate these tithes from their produce. One may assume, however, that Terumah Gedolah has been separated, since even an Am ha'Aretz is careful with Terumah due to its stringency. Ma'aser Rishon and Ma'aser Ani are separated from the produce, but may be eaten by the owner (in keeping with the principle of "ha'Motzi me'Chaveiro Alav ha'Re'ayah").

31)[line 31]מעשר שניMA'ASER SHENI

(a)Once Terumah (see above, entry #31) is removed from the produce, one tenth of the produce that remains must be designated "Ma'aser Rishon," and given to a Levi (Bamidbar 18:21). The Levi, in turn, must separate one tenth of his Ma'aser Rishon as Terumas Ma'aser, to be given to a Kohen (Bamidbar 18:26).

(b)Once Terumah Gedolah and Ma'aser Rishon have been separated from the crop, it is time to separate the second tithe. In the third and sixth years of the seven-year Shemitah cycle this tithe is called Ma'aser Ani, and it is given to the poor (Devarim 14:28-29).

(c)During the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the seven-year Shemitah cycle, the second tithe is called Ma'aser Sheni. Ma'aser Sheni must be brought to Yerushalayim and eaten there while one is in a state of purity. The various laws of Ma'aser Sheni are learned from the verses which begin, "Aser Te'aser Eis Kol Tevu'as Zar'echa..." (Devarim 14:22-27).

(d)If it is impractical to bring the actual food to Yerushalayim, Ma'aser Sheni produce may be redeemed with money. This money receives the status of Ma'aser Sheni, and is then brought to Yerushalayim. In Yerushalayim the money is used to buy food, which in turn receives the Kedushah of Ma'aser Sheni and must be eaten b'Taharah in Yerushalayim.

(e)If the owner of the Ma'aser Sheni redeems his own Ma'aser, he must add a fifth of the total value (equal to a quarter o the original value) onto the money used; if someone else redeems it, he may do so with money equal to the value of the Ma'aser (Vayikra 27:30-31).

32)[line 32]חזזיתCHAZAZIS- small blisters

33)[line 33]נטלה פטמתוNITLAH PITMASO- if its Pitam (that which was the pistil of the Esrog blossom and now resembles a pestle-shaped protuberance on its tip) has broken off

34)[line 33]נקלףNIKLAF- if it was peeled

35)[line 33]נסדקNISDAK- if it was cracked

36)[line 33]ניקב וחסר כל שהואNIKEV V'CHASER KOL SHE'HU- if there is a hole in it as a result of missing Esrog matter

37)[line 35]עוקצוUKTZO- its stem

38)[line 36]אתרוג הכושיESROG HA'KUSHI- a black Esrog that comes from Kush. The land of Kush is identified as a) Ethiopia (JOSEPHUS) or Arabia (TARGUM YONASAN to Bereishis 10:6, Divrei ha'Yamim I 1:8-9). In this context, Arabia refers to an area in Africa located upon the upper Nile (as described by HERODOTUS, cited by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in Bereishis 10:6) or the entire Nile area; b) an area to the east of Eretz Yisrael (YOVLOS, cited by Rabbi Kaplan ibid.). This may be near India (see Megilah 11a; see also, however, Background to Yoma 34:25:b). The Hindu-Kush mountain range to the immediate northwest of India is said to have been populated by Ethiopian migrants (M. Rosen); b) very dark green (RIF, RAMBAM; see Insights to 36a).

39)[line 36]הירוק ככרתיHA'YAROK K'KARTI- [an Esrog] as darkly green as a leek (O.F. porels)