SUKAH 32 (30 Av 5781) - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Esther Chaya Rayzel (Friedman) bas Gershon Eliezer (Yahrzeit: 30 Av) by her son-in-law, Eli Turkel of Raanana, Israel. Esther Friedman was a woman of valor who was devoted to her family and gave of herself unstintingly, inspiring all those around her.

QUESTION: The Beraisa states that a Lulav that is "Kafuf" (bent over) is invalid, and that a Lulav that is "Akum (curved) like a sickle" is invalid. What is the difference between a Lulav that is "Kafuf" (bent over) and one that is "Akum (curved) like a Magal"? (KAPOS TEMARIM)
(a) The KAPOS TEMARIM suggests that "Kafuf" means that only the top of the Lulav's spine is bent over. "Akum" refers to a curvature of the entire spine of the Lulav.
He quotes the TESHUVOS HA'RADBAZ who gives almost the opposite explanation: "Kafuf" means that the entire spine is bent, and "Akum" means that it has an indentation at some point on the spine (even in the middle), but the rest of the spine is straight.
(b) The Kapos Temarim quotes the RITVA and RAN who rule that when the top, center leaf (the most prominent part of the Lulav) is bent over, the Lulav is invalid because of "Kafuf." Based on their ruling, the Kapos Temarim suggests that "Kafuf" means that the leaf is bent over, while "Akum" means that the spine of the Lulav is bent.
(c) The ME'IRI points out that the RAMBAM makes no mention of the Pesul of "Kafuf." He asserts that the Rambam's text of the Gemara did not include the word "Kafuf." The MICHTAM also did not have the word "Kafuf" in his text.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 645:8-9) seems to understand "Kafuf" as the Kapos Temarim suggests -- the top is bent over, but not the rest of the spine. It is logical that a curvature at any point in the spine invalidates the Lulav for the same reason.
Is a Lulav valid when only the tops of the leaves are bent over (this is called a "Kneppel")? The SHULCHAN ARUCH rules that such a Lulav is valid. He bases this ruling on the TESHUVOS HA'ROSH who argues with the Ritva and says that not only is a Lulav not invalid when the top leaves are bent over, but such a Lulav is superior to other Lulavim, because the leaves of such a Lulav do not split apart as easily as they do when they are completely straight. The MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 645:42) cites the view of the Ritva, but he writes that the custom is to be lenient like the Rosh.
If, however, the leaves are bent over excessively (such as all the way to the middle of the leaf), then certainly the Lulav is invalid (Mishnah Berurah 645:41).
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi says that a Lulav is invalid if its Teyomes is split ("Nechlekah ha'Teyomes"), just as the Lulav is invalid if its Teyomes is missing.
What exactly is the "Teyomes," and what does "Nechlekah ha'Teyomes" mean?
(a) The RITVA (end of 31b) explains that the Teyomes is the top, center leaf into which the spine of the Lulav ends. If that leaf is split (along the natural seam that binds the two halves of the leaf together) along most of its length, the Lulav is "Nechlekah ha'Teyomes" and is invalid. The reason it is invalid is because the top leaf of the Lulav is the most important part of the Lulav with regard to the requirement of "Hadar" (since it is the leaf that is the most visible), just as the Pitam is the most important part with regard to the requirement of "Hadar" of an Esrog.
The Ritva says that some authorities maintain that even when less than half of the length of the leaf is split, the Lulav is also invalid. He concludes that people who are especially scrupulous in their performance of Mitzvos should follow that opinion. He explains that even if the Halachah is not in accordance with that opinion, when part of the length of a Lulav leaf is split it is likely that the split will increase and reach a majority of the length of the leaf, in which case the Lulav certainly will be invalid.
(This explanation may also be the intention of the GE'ONIM cited by Tosfos in Bava Kama (96a) and by the Rosh here. However, the BEIS YOSEF (OC 645) explains the opinion of the Ge'onim differently.)
(b) RASHI and TOSFOS explain, like the Ritva, that the Teyomes is the top, center leaf. However, they write that "Nechlekah ha'Teyomes" invalidates the Lulav only when the split reaches all the way down to the spine of the Lulav and continues through the spine until the next set of leaves.
The TERUMAS HA'DESHEN (#96) quotes RABEINU PERETZ (in his Hagahos on the SEMAK) who cites a second Girsa of the words of Rashi. According to that text, Rashi requires that the split reach only a little into the spine in order to invalidate the Lulav; it does not need to reach so far down as the next set of leaves. (See CHAZON ISH OC 145:1.)
(c) TOSFOS in Bava Kama (96a) cites the RI (who apparently gives an explanation for the view of the Ge'onim cited earlier in that Tosfos) who says that the Teyomes is not a single leaf at the top of the Lulav, but rather it is a double leaf, each part of which is comprised of two halves like the other leaves of the Lulav. (That is, the leaf at the top the Lulav is a double double-leaf). Although most Lulavim end in a single double-leaf (that is, one leaf with two halves), if a Lulav happens to end in a pair of double leaves (that both end at the same level) which are connected to each other, and those two leaves split apart from each other, the Lulav is considered "Nechlekah ha'Teyomes" and is invalid. (According to this explanation, Nechlekah ha'Teyomes is a relatively rare condition.)
(d) RABEINU CHANANEL, the BEHAG cited by Tosfos, the RIF, RAMBAM, and ROSH explain that the Teyomes refers to the thin membrane that connects the two halves of each leaf of the Lulav. "Nechlekah ha'Teyomes" means that if most of the leaves were split and that membrane no longer binds them together, it is as if those leaves were removed entirely from the Lulav. Each leaf that splits into two is as considered as though it is not there, and thus if a majority of leaves split, the Lulav is invalid. (The text of the Gemara of these Rishonim reads, "k'Mi she'Nitlah" -- "it is as if it was removed," and not "k'Mi she'Nitlah ha'Teyomes" -- "it is as if the Teyomes was removed.")
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 645:3) cites the opinion of the Rif and Rambam (d). The REMA cites the opinion of the RITVA (a) and writes that, l'Chatchilah, one should use a Lulav that is not split at all. (According to the Shulchan Aruch, if the middle leaf is split, even in its majority, the Lulav is valid).


OPINIONS: The Mishnah (29b) says that Lulavim from the type of palm tree known as "Tzinei Har Barzel" are valid. The Gemara here quotes a Beraisa that says that such Lulavim are invalid. Abaye resolves the contradiction and says that the Lulavim from the Tzinei Har Barzel are invalid when their leaves are short (that is, the top of the lower leaf does not reach the bottom of the upper leaf).
The Gemara explains that, in general, Lulavim from such trees have very short leaves. The Rishonim mention a number of causes for the short leaves of these palms.
(a) The RAN writes that since it grows on a very hard mountain (Har Barzel), it does not receive sufficient nourishment from the ground and thus its growth is stunted and its leaves remain underdeveloped.
(b) The BA'AL HA'ITUR writes that since these trees grow next to the smoke that comes out of the valley of Gehinom, the smoke dries up the leaves before they reach their full length.
(c) The ARUCH (Erech "Tzani") explains that Dekalim (common palms) are tall palm trees, and "Tzini" are short (or young) palm trees. Apparently, he understands that because the trees themselves are small, their leaves also grow exceptionally small.
(d) The MICHTAM says that Tzinei Har Barzel are "a type of palm tree." Apparently, he understands that they are a different species, and thus they have a different nature and growth pattern than the common palm tree.
HALACHAH: The first three opinions cited above imply that Tzinei Har Barzel are the same species as the normal palm tree, and that is why Lulavim from those trees are invalid only because of the length of their leaves (since their leaves are short, the Lulavim are not "Hadar"). The Michtam, however, implies that even though they are a different species, if the leaves would reach their full height, the Lulavim would be valid even though they are from a different species of palm.
This discussion may be relevant to a contemporary Halachic question: may one use a Lulav from the Canary palm tree? A hundred years ago there were very few palm trees left in Eretz Yisrael. Palms were brought to Eretz Yisrael from the Canary Islands (off the northwest coast of Africa). These trees grow well in the central and coastal regions of Eretz Yisrael, where the climate is more mild than in the desert regions. The normal palm tree, such as the tree that is common in the Yericho region, flourishes in a dry and hot climate and does not grow well in the central and coastal areas, where the Canary palms flourish. The Canary palms tend to be prettier, larger, and slightly more green that the normal palms. In addition, their long branches and leaves do not fall off naturally, and thus they have more foliage. However, in contrast to the normal palms, they do not grow edible dates, but rather round, inedible berries.
The Canary clearly seems to be a different species of palm. Lulavim from the Canary are commonly found in the market (in Eretz Yisrael) before Sukos. Are such Lulavim valid for the Mitzvah of Arba'as ha'Minim?
According to some Acharonim, such Lulavim are invalid, because the Canary palm does not bear the fruit (dates) of normal palm trees. The CHASAM SOFER and RAV TZVI PESACH FRANK (in HAR TZVI) reject this reason, because "Temarim" (in the verse "Kapos Temarim") does not mean "dates," but "palm trees," and thus the presence of dates is not a requirement for the Lulav of such a tree to be valid for the Mitzvah.
The more relevant question is whether a Lulav from a species other than the common Israeli palm is valid. Is a Lulav from that tree valid simply because it closely resembles the common Lulav? Perhaps the Michtam would rule that it is valid, because the Lulav does not have to come from the same species as the common palm. The other Rishonim give no indication that such a Lulav is valid.
In practice, most Poskim rule that a Lulav from a Canary palm may not be used (just as a lemon may not be used in place of an Esrog). There are several ways to recognize whether a Lulav is from a Canary palm or from a common palm. First, the top leaves are shorter than the Teyomes and upper leaves of the Lulav of a common palm. Second, the distance (when measured along the spine) between the beginning of one leaf and the next is much shorter. Third, the Canary Lulav is generally a richer green. Fourth, the spine of the Canary Lulav is softer and bends more easily. Fifth, if one grasps a leaf of the Lulav between his fingers and slides his fingers down the leaf, a Canary Lulav will leave his fingers clean, while a common Lulav will leave his fingers covered by a whitish powder.
OPINIONS: According to the Gemara's conclusion, Shmuel maintains that the Tefach used to measure the Aravah, Hadas, and Lulav branches is a small Tefach, equal to 5/6ths of an ordinary Tefach. The Aravah and Hadas branches must be 3 small Tefachim long, or 2 1/2 ordinary Tefachim. The Lulav must be one Tefach longer than the Aravah and Hadas branches.
In practice, how long must the Lulav be?
(a) RASHI (DH veha'She'ar) and the ROSH explain that the length of the Lulav must be 4 small Tefachim, which equals 3 1/3 ordinary Tefachim, or 13 1/3 Etzba'os (there are four Etzba'os in an ordinary Tefach, and 3 1/3 Etzba'os in a small Tefach).
(b) The RAN asserts that the fourth Tefach of the Lulav is an ordinary Tefach. His opinion is based on the Beraisa in Nidah (26a) which compares the fourth Tefach of the Lulav (that is, the one Tefach of the Lulav's length that extends beyond the Aravah and Hadas branches) to the Tefach of other Mitzvos. Since the Tefach of other Mitzvos is an ordinary, 4-Etzba Tefach, the fourth Tefach of the Lulav is also an ordinary Tefach. Accordingly, the Lulav must be 14 Etzba'os long, or 3 1/2 ordinary Tefachim.
(c) The RIF and the RAMBAM (Hilchos Lulav 7:8) make no mention of the Gemara's statement that the Tefachim with which the branches of the Arba'as ha'Minim are measured are small Tefachim. This omission implies that the 3 Tefachim of the Hadas and Aravah, and the 4 Tefachim of the Lulav, are all normal Tefachim of 4 Etzba'os. The Magid Mishneh explains that the Rambam rules like the Tana Kama in the Beraisa who argues with Rebbi Tarfon and mentions the Shi'urim without defining them as a different type of Tefach.
HALACHAH: All three opinions are cited by the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 650:1). The REMA writes that, l'Chatchilah, one should be stringent and follow the view of the Rambam and use a Lulav of at least 16 Etzba'os, but, b'Di'eved, one may be lenient like the Rosh and use a Lulav of only 13 1/3 Etzba'os (see Mishnah Berurah 650:8).
The Shulchan Aruch adds that the minimum length applies only to the spine of the Lulav. If the spine is short and only the leaves reach the minimum length, the Lulav is not valid.