SUKAH 9 (7 Av 5781) - Dedicated in memory of Dr. Simcha Bekelnitzky (Simcha Gedalya ben Shraga Feibush) of Queens, N.Y., Niftar 7 Av 5757, by his wife and daughters. G-d-fearing and knowledgeable, Simcha was well known in the community for his Chesed and Tzedakah. He will long be remembered.
1) SPINNING STRINGS OF TZITZIS WITH SPECIFIC INTENT
OPINIONS: Rav rules that Tzitzis made from "Kotzin," "Nimin," and "Gardin" are invalid. Tzitzis made from "Sisin" are acceptable. Shmuel says that even Tzitzis made from "Sisin" are invalid, because Tzitzis must be spun Lishmah, with specific intent for the Mitzvah of Tzitzis.
What exactly are these different materials, and what is the basis of the argument between Rav and Shmuel?
(a) RASHI explains that "Kotzin" are threads (of the woof) that tore off and were tied back to the woven garment. (They appear like thorns, "Kotzin," that stick out.) Such threads are usually cut off and discarded. "Nimin" are sewing threads that hang out after the garment is completed. "Gardin" are threads or fringes that hang from the bottom of a woven garment. All of these types of strings are invalid as Tzitzis, because they were not tied onto the garment Lishmah, for the sake of the Mitzvah of Tzitzis. They were attached to the garment merely as part of the manufacturing process of the garment. However, if one would detach these strings from the garment and then tie them back on with specific intent for the Mitzvah of Tzitzis, then they would be valid Tzitzis.
According to Rashi, Rav maintains that the strings of Tzitzis must be attached to the garment with intent for the Mitzvah, but they do not need to be spun Lishmah. Therefore, Rav says that Sisin, which Rashi explains are balls of spun thread (from which the woof and warp are threaded), are valid as Tzitzis as long as they are attached to the garment Lishmah. Shmuel argues, because he maintains that the strings used for Tzitzis also need to be spun Lishmah.
(b) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR in the name of the GE'ONIM argues with Rashi's explanation. He explains that "Kotzin" are pieces of wool that became tangled on thorns when the sheep walked near the thorn bush and rubbed against it. "Nimin" are hard strands that are found in freshly-sheered wool. "Gardin" are leftover threads that are invalid for use as Tzitzis even if one detaches them from the garment and re-attaches them. This is also the explanation of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tzitzis 1:11).
Why are these types of strings unfit to be made into Tzitzis? The Ba'al ha'Me'or explains that the verse of "ha'Kanaf," "the corner" (Bamidbar 15:38), teaches that Tzitzis strings must be made from the same material from which the garment is made, and not from material that is never made into a garment.
The BEIS YOSEF (OC 11) gives a different reason for why these types of strings are invalid for Tzitzis. He writes that it is a "Bizuy Mitzvah," a disgrace to the Mitzvah, to make Tzitzis out of such strings.
According to this approach, Rav is not discussing the issue of Tzitzis made without proper intent.
It is interesting to note that the Rambam's ruling is the exact opposite of Rashi's. The Rambam rules that the Tzitzis must be spun Lishmah (Hilchos Tzitzis 1:11), and he also rules that if the Tzitzis were attached to the garment without any specific intent (by a Jew), they are still valid (1:12). The YAD BINYAMIN states that it is apparent that the Rambam maintains that the Halachos of spinning the threads for Tzitzis are more stringent than the Halachos of the actual tying and knotting of the Tzitzis, which do not need to be done Lishmah. As mentioned above, Rashi maintains that everyone agrees that the tying and knotting of the Tzitzis must be done Lishmah. Rav and Shmuel argue only whether or not the spinning of the strings must be done Lishmah as well. (See also Insights to Menachos 42:3.) (Y. MONTROSE)
2) A SUKAH UNDER A TREE
QUESTION: The Mishnah teaches that a Sukah under a tree is invalid. In the Gemara, Rava says that if the branches over the Sukah let through more sunlight than make shade, then the Sukah is valid. The Gemara asks why the Sukah is valid in such a case. Since the Sukah is underneath the tree, the branches of the tree (which are invalid Sechach) join the Sechach of the Sukah and invalidate it.
What is the Gemara's question? Why should the invalid Sechach (the branches of the tree) combine with the valid Sechach of the Sukah and invalidate it? Since the Sukah's Sechach is valid and there is more shade than sunlight, what can the branches of the tree to do invalidate it? If the Gemara means that the valid Sechach on the Sukah is considered as though it is not there because it is under the tree, then the Gemara should not say that the branches of the tree are "Mitztaref" (combine) with the valid Sechach, but rather that the branches of the tree are "Mevatel" (annul) the valid Sechach.
(a) RASHI (DH v'Ha Ka Mitztaref, and 10a, DH Mahu d'Teima) seems to understand that the Sechach of the Sukah underneath the tree indeed produces more shade than sunlight and is a valid Sukah by itself. The Gemara's question is that the Sechach underneath the tree should be discounted. Why, then, does the Gemara ask that the tree is "Mitztaref" with the valid Sechach, and not that the tree is "Mevatel" it? Rashi understands that it is obvious that the Sechach beneath the tree is Batel. Once the Sechach underneath the tree is annulled, the branches of the tree (the invalid Sechach) now replace the original Sechach. Consequently, the tree combines (Mitztaref) with the Sechach of the Sukah, so that the majority of shade is produced by the combination of the invalid Sechach with the valid Sechach. (PNEI YEHOSHUA, KORBAN NESANEL #100; see also HAGAHOS MAIMONIYOS, Hilchos Sukah 5:70, for a different understanding of Rashi.)
This is also the opinion of the RIVA (as cited by the ROSH 1:14 and the TUR OC 626), the RA'AVAD (2a), the RITVA and others.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Ha) says that in the Mishnah's case, the Sukah's valid Sechach lets in more sunlight than shade. Only when it is combined with the branches of the tree above does it produce more shade than sunlight. That is why the Gemara says that the Sukah is not valid when the shade comes only from a combination of the invalid Sechach with the valid Sechach.
How does the Gemara know that the Mishnah is discussing a case of a Sukah in which the sunlight is more than the shade? The Gemara reasons that if the shade is more than the sunlight, then it is obvious that a tree -- the branches of which let through more sunlight than they produce shade -- cannot invalidate the Sukah. Only if the invalid Sechach (branches) on top of the Sukah produces more shade can it ruin the Sukah (the valid Sechach of which also produces more shade); the Sukah, in such a case, is like a Sukah underneath another Sukah.
(c) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR suggests that the status of the Sukah depends on which Sechach was placed there first. In a normal case of a Sukah underneath a tree, the tree existed before the Sukah was built. The tree's branches let through more sunlight than shade. When one adds more Sechach to make more shade than sunlight, the Sukah is invalid, because part of the shade of the Sechach is created by the branches of the tree, which was there before the Sukah. The Sukah will remain invalid regardless of how much valid Sechach is added afterwards, because the tree was part of the Sechach (which helped produce a majority of shade) when the Sukah was originally built. If, on the other hand, one built a Sukah which had more shade than sunlight, and only afterwards was a tree placed there (and the branches let through more sunlight than shade), the tree will not affect the status of the Sukah, because the Sukah was built first and was valid when it was built. Presumably, the Mishnah is discussing the normal case, where the tree preceded the Sukah. This is why the Gemara says that the tree should invalidate the Sukah, even if the Sukah now has more shade than sunlight.
According to the Ba'al ha'Me'or, what is the Gemara's answer to its question? The Gemara says that the Sukah underneath the tree is valid "when he lowered the branches down to the Sechach" ("b'she'Chavtan"). How does that help? If the Sechach above the Sukah was invalid, then the Sukah should remain invalid forever, as the Ba'al ha'Me'or posits.
The Ba'al ha'Me'or suggests a new interpretation for the phrase, "b'she'Chavtan." He explains that it means that one shook the tree until all of its leaves fell off the branches. The reason why a Sukah underneath a tree is invalid is because the tree becomes part of the Sukah. When one shakes the branches, he shows that it was not his intent for the tree to be part of the shade-producing Sechach of the Sukah, and thus it does not become part of the Sukah. Since there is enough valid Sechach to create more shade than sunlight, the Sukah is valid.