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Sukkah 39a (2) 

Sivan 22, 5782. June 21, 2022

1- We spent most of the Shiur learning a fundamental Tosfos – עובר לעשייתן –  that discusses the issue of making the ברכה on the Lulav. 

The Mitzvah of Lulav is unique and thus the need for clarification. 

In general, Brachos on Mitzvos need to be made prior to the קיום המצוה. If the Mitzvah was performed, according to many opinions, one cannot say the Brachah. 

Before After Comparison Make A Change For The Better Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 60215235.

Now, ‘prior’ does not mean merely before the Mitzvah, but rather immediately before. No time must pass between the ברכה and the Mitzvah. 

Just like with Tefillin, we do not say the Brachah when it is still in the Tefillin bag. It is said when it’s already on the arm right before tightening the knot or on the arm.  

Lulav presents a problem since the Lulav and Esrog must be close by and ready to be lifted. But when one lifts them, he is יוצא. So when does one make the ברכה? Prior to lifting it is too early, as he has not ‘engaged’ the Lulav and Esrog yet. And once it’s lifted, it’s already done. 

Man Holds Traditional Image & Photo (Free Trial) | Bigstock

That is the issue Tosfos tackles and offers 4 answers:

A – The ברכה is made when picking up just the Lulav.  He  is not יוצא yet and therefore considered ‘prior’, because the lifting of the Lulav is only the beginning of the Mitzvah since one needs to pick up the Esrog as well to fulfill the Mitzvah of ארבע מינים. 

B – One picks up both the Lulav and the Esrog and then makes the Brachah, but the Esrog (or the Lulav) is held upside down. So the ברכה is made prior to the Mitzvah. At the completion of the Brocho one turns the Esrog (or the Lulav) rightside up and only then is one יוצא.

Sukkot | Chosen People Ministries | Jewish High Holidays

 C – Both the Lulav and the Esrog are lifted right side up. To avoid being יוצא, one has the כוונה NOT to be יוצא. The ברכה is then made and the intention is only now to be יוצא. Thus the ברכה, is thus made prior to the מצווה.

7 Causes of a Car That Won't Go in Reverse (and What You Should Do)

D – There is no issue at all even after shaking the Lulav and Esrog since in addition to the holding the Lulav and Esrog after the ברכה, we do נענועים. Meaning that this מצווה is a long process so the ברכה can be made even after the first moment of its start. 


This fourth answer is interesting (נענועים is part of the מצווה) and Tosfos itself raises issues with it. 

Lulav: Let Me See You Shake Your Mitzvah – Education

2 – To support the 4th answer above, Tosfos quotes the Yerushalmi that ‘the elites of ירושלים walked around all day holding the Lulav and Esrog’. 

3 – We mentioned the ריטב״א that explains the idea of a ברכה prior to a מצווה.

Here are his words.

וכתב הרי”ט ז”ל וטעם זה שאמרו חז”ל לברך על המצוות עובר לעשייתן כדי שיתקדש תחלה בברכה ויגלה ויודיע שהוא עושה אותה מפני מצות השי”ת. ועוד כי הברכות מעבודת הנפש וראוי להקדים עבודת הנפש למעלה שהיא עבודת הגוף

4 – From here we continued to discuss the idea of saying לשם יחוד prior to a Mitzvah. It’s a big topic and perhaps we will come back to this at length in the future IY”H. 

Leshem Yichud - Halachipedia

Briefly, the saying of  לשם יחוד is not mentioned in Shas or ראשונים and the custom (of some) to say it began about 500 years ago and is based on Kabbalah. 

There was fierce opposition to this practice and we discussed the נודע ביהודה’s sharp words against saying it. Yoreh Deah, Teshuva 93

ולדעתי זה רעה חולה בדורנו ועל הדורות שלפני זמננו שלא ידעו מנוסח זה ולא אמרוהו

ועל הדור היתום הזה אני אומר ישרים דרכי ה’ וצדיקים ילכו בם וחסידים יכשלו בם

We pointed out that in Chabad we find the Alter Rebbe omitting its saying in his Siddur [except before ברוך שאמר] but in Likutei Torah he explain the significance of לשם יחוד  and concludes that ‘and therefore we say לשם יחוד before every Mitzvah’. 

See here on this topic. 


Shiur Sukkah 39a 6/14/22


Suka 39a

Sivan 15, 5782. June 14, 2022

1-While on the topic of הלל we discussed the issue of the גמרא in Megillah (23, a)  כל פסוקא דלא פסקיה משה רבינו אנן לא פסקינן

Which means that one should only say an entire פסוק.

Now the full verse is אנא ה’ הושיעה נא אנא ה’ הצליחה נא.

So if saying only part of a פסוק is not proper, how do we say אנא ה’ הושיעה נא twice, which is only part of a complete פסוק. 

In davning we encounter this many times. ה’ מלך ה’ מלך ה’ ימלוך. The first two are part of a פסוק. 

Friday night’s Kiddush begins with (only) the end of a פסוק! 

Kiddush And Havdalah: Should One Sit Or Stand? | The Jewish Press - | Rabbi Yaakov Hoffman | 22 Kislev 5779 – November 29, 2018 |

ויהי ערב ויהי בוקר יום השישי

We discussed the Tosfos on our גמרא and the מגן אברהם OC 262 

See here  and here for more sources. 


2- Mentioned the letter of the Rebbe (printed in every Tanya) that explains the difference between the two expressions: וכו׳ and וגו׳.

וגומר means ‘what follows to the end’. This is used when quoting a פסוק not in its entirety. 

Et Cetera or Etcetera? Which is the Correct U.S. Spelling? - One Minute English

וכולהו means ‘etc’ is used when writing part of a מאמר חז”ל. 

See below.

3- Rava says that one should not pause between יהא שמיה רבא to מברך. 

We discussed a very interesting ספר with a very uncommon name. The 

Machzor of Vitri. 

מחזור ויטרי was written by one of Rashi’s students, Reb Simcha of Vitri, a town in Northeastern France.


This ספר is a compilation of Halachos and Minhagim as practiced in Vitri, based upon the teachings and rulings of Rashi. 

We spoke about the fact that despite the knowledge that this מחזור existed, due to its often quoted Halochos and Minhogim from this ספר, it was first printed less than 100 years ago! 


Other editions have followed. 

4- Tosfos and many other ראשונים quote this important work in numerous places.

A famous quote, relevant to our Gemara, is right at the beginning of Shas, (3a) where Tosfos quotes the מחזור ויטרי’s explanation of the words in Kaddish 

יהא שמיה רבא מברך לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא

According the מחזור ויטרי, this is split into two separate תפילות. The words mean:

1-  יהא שמיה – רבא

May the name of Hashem – be great. יהא שמיה – should be  רבא.

We pray for a time when His Name will be greater than it is today. Greater, because we will read it with the YHVH pronunciation and the full 4 letters. 

[שמ of י-ה, will be רבא]. 

מברך לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא   – 2, is the beginning of another prayer. His Name should be blessed forever. 

Tosfos, however, argues and brings proof from our Gemore (Rovo says not to pause) that the words 

 יהא שמיה רבא מברך לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא is one continuous prayer. 

May His name, that is great, be blessed. 

הרב רונן חזיזה בשיר מרטיט מחזק ומרגש שלא תשאיר עין יבשה "אמן יהא שמיה רבא" - YouTube

5- Speaking of the מחזור ויטרי we mentioned that some say (based upon various manuscripts) that the source of wearing a גרטל during Davning is the מחזור ויטרי. See ב”ח OC 91. 

See here from the Rebbe about the impotence of the Gartel. Note what he says about the ישמעאלים that wear their gartels on their heads….

Arab Man And Camel On The Farm Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 47235189.

6- We suggested a reason as to why the Gemara says Shabbos (119, b) that one that says אמן יהא שמיה רבא מברך לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא with great כוונה can wipe away 70 years of דין. 

Why these few words in particular? Does it carry more weight than, say, קריאת שמע or שמונה עשרה?

Why Is a Minyan Needed for Kaddish? - Mourner's Kaddish

Perhaps the reason is that, unlike any other תפילה that can be said ביחידות, you can only say אמן יהא שמיה רבא מברך לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא after listening to the Chazan say the Kaddish. 

Listening first is the greatest virtue…….



Shiur Sukkah 38b 7/7/22


Sukkah 38b

Sivan 8, 5782. June 7, 2022

1- In regards to שומע כעונה, we mentioned a few point of the previous shiur. 

A listener, the שומע, is considered as if he actually said it. He verbalized it. How to be a Good Listener. Hint: It's not about you | by John Ciprian | The Startup | Medium

But what if in addition to the listening there is another factor? 


A – Listening to the עשרת בני המן. The חזן that reads these ten names needs to say it in one breath. Now the listener also needs to say them in one breath. 

megillat esther - Keter Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Crown) tanach on the ten sons of Haman - Mi Yodeya

Does שומע כעונה cause the listener to be considered that not only did he ‘say it’ but he also ‘said it in one breath’. The Rogatchover says no. His reasoning is that only words that are heard can be considered as if he is כעונה.

Cranky? Feeling better may be as simple as breathing right. | Mindpath Health

The חזן’s holding his breath is an action. Not speech. Therefore it cannot be transmitted to others.

B – The Minhsg of a Shul in Rome. At ברכת כהנים, only one כהן would say the ברכות! The other כהנים would listen and used שומע כעונה as if they themselves uttered the ברכות. 

N12 - צפו: רבבות בברכת הכהנים בכותל המערבי

We spoke about the בית הלוי that took issue with this מנהג since ברכת כהנים needs to be said loudly בקול רם and that is outside the parameter of שומע כעונה. 

Someone mentioned that perhaps there is also an issue with לברך את עמו ישראל באהבה. One cannot just hear and be יוצא with the speaker’s אהבה…..

2- Discussed that שומע כעונה means that the listener is literally considered as if he is himself is uttering the words. The listener therefore needs to be in a position to say the words or ברכה himself. Like being fully dressed. 

See here from the Alter Rebbe הלכות שחיטה that if the reader is dressed and the שומע is undressed, than is it not proper to do so. 

3- This Shiur, coming right after שבועות, we mentioned the language used by the Previous Rebbe קבלת התורה בשמחה ובפנימיות. 

בס"ד חג השבועות לומדים שיחה מאת הרבי מליובאוויטש על שבועות, לקבלת התורה בשמחה ובפנימיות | זריקת יהדות וחסידות הפודקאסט | Podcasts on Audible |


At first glance it needs clarification since we know that לימוד התרה needs to be with fear, awe and trepidation just as the תורה was given under such serious circumstances. 

See here the Rebbe’s letter to JB discussing this issue. 

The Rebbe and the Rav - Life & Times



We read the Tosfos on Daf 28a that explains why the birds flying over Yonason ben Uziel were scorched. They quote a Yerushalmi that seems to say that מתו תורה  was indeed an occurrence that had elements of שמחה! 

Shiur Sukkah 28a

ירושלמי חגיגה (ב, א) וקהלת רבה (ז, יח)    ….. אלא יושבין היינו וחוזרין בדברי תורה מן התורה לנביאים ומן הנביאים לכתובים והיו הדברים שמחים כנתינתן מסיני והיתה האש מלחכת אותן כלחיכתן מסיני ועיקר נתינתן מסיני לא ניתנו אלא באש וההר בוער באש עד לב השמים….

Burning Bird stock photo. Image of fire, abstract, glow - 18153832


4- We learnt the Gemara about the 3 historical stages of saying הלל and Rava’s explanation of the parts of הלל in stage 2 that were a זכר to stage one.  

5- We discussed the מחלוקת  of the גאונים, Rashi, Tosfos and others about what to do in middle of שמונה עשרה when one hears the חזן saying נקדישך or קדיש – is it a הפסק or not.

Orthodox Congregations Plan Outdoor Minyans - Atlanta Jewish Times

According to some, pausing to listen (in order to be יוצא saying נקדישך ) using שומע כעונה is very problematic since by listening one is ‘saying’ it and that constitutes a הפסק. 

Others differ and say that it’s fine. Why? See AR OC 104, 5.

Hallelujah! Prophetic Scripture of Considerable Significance

6- We read the Yerushalmi concerning the word  הללויה

Is it one word or two words הללו י-ה ? If two then the י-ה is קודש.  



Shiur ~ Celebrating 20 Years ~ Sukkah 38a. 05/25/22


Suka 38a

Iyar 15, 5782. May 25, 2022

Many topics discussed. 

1- The Mishnah says that ‘all day is Kosher for the Mitzvah of Lulav’. 

The question (Pnei Yehoshua)  is that it’s obvious as it says ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון. 

lulav | GRACE in TORAH

יום means all day.  Why would we think any different?  

Here is the answer of the Chasam Soifer. But first:

Rabbeinu Tam - Wikidata

2- We discussed briefly the opinions of Rabbeinu Tam and the Geonim as to when בין השמשות  and צאת הכוכבים begin. 

The basics are as follows: First comes Shkia, followed by 18 minutes of  בין השמשות, (which is ספק יום ספק לילה) followed by night צאת הכוכבים, לילה. 

Jerusalem Painting: Sunset over Migdal David in Jerusalem - Alex Levin

The question is when exactly is Shkia? 

Briefly, say the sun dips below the horizon at 6:00 PM. That would be zero degrees. 

After sunset, the sun is below the horizon and its rays illuminate the sky overhead. The sky between the ground and the sun’s rays is in the Earth’s shadow. A twilight photometer measures the reduction in sunlight at the top of the Earth’s shadow as the sun continues to sink below the horizon. (The 

According to the Geonim 6:00 PM is the beginning of בין השמשות. That is when the sun dips further, from  zero to 6.5°.  

18 minutes later, when the sun is at about 6.5°  is  צאת הכוכבים and the beginning of night. 

So for people that follow the Geonim, at 6:18 PM is night for all practical purposes. מלאכה on Friday is strictly forbidden.  Etc.

However, according to Rabbeinu Tam, 6:00 PM, when the sun disappears below the horizon,  is only the beginning of Shkia. The ‘real’ Shkia begins only at 6:54 PM.

Until then it is still day time. יום ממש.

Best Astronomy Apps | Star Finder App | Star Map | Night Sky | Vito Technology

בין השמשות  only begins then, and continues for 18 minutes until 7:12 PM, or about 16.5°.

For people that follow Rabbeinu Tam, night only begins at 7:12 for all Miztvos such as Krias Shma and the start and ending of Shabbos or a fast day. 

See here for le’havdil secular definitions.

3 – We discussed that the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch rules like Rabbeinu Tam!

It is only when the Siddur was published that the letter of the Alter Rebbe’s final ruling was publicized where he reverses himself and very clearly rules like the Geonim which is why we follow their ruling. 

[we touched briefly on the expressions used by the Alter Rebbe in this letter] 

3- We mentioned the Gemara in Zevachim that states (according to Rabeinnu Tam) that in the Beis Hamikdash ‘night’ began early. At the beginning of Shkia. Not at צאת הכוכבים. 

Temple of Solomon | Beit Hamikdash | Templo de Salomão - YouTube

Meaning that for example, in the Beis Hamikdash, all Mitzvos needed to be done before 6:00 PM even though nightfall begins 72 minutes later. Thus,  the time for the Mitzvah of Lulav in the בית המקדש ends at 6:00 PM, whereas outside the Beis Hamikdash, it only ends at 7:12. 

The Mitzva of Lulav applies in the בית המקדש (all seven days of Sukkos) and the rest of the world (just on the first day).  Both Mitzvos are derived from the same פסוק. 

Lulav And Etrog: Sukkot's Strange, Awesome Ritual (PHOTOS) | HuffPost Communities

Therefore, concludes the Chasam Sofer the Mishna must tell you that you the Lulav can be taken ‘all day’ meaning, until 6:54 and not as in the Beis Hamikdash. We should not err that we need to follow the time structure of the Beis Hamikdosh.  

4- The Mishna says that if an adult that cannot read הלל (or any other תפילה) and asks his wife, servant or son to read הלל for him, in order to be יוצא Hallel, he must repeat the words on his own. The reason is that since they are not מחוייב, listening to them despite שומע כעונה, is insufficient to be יוצא . 

A Rosh Chodesh Prayer | Jewish Community Watch

The Mishna concludes with a ‘curse’ – woe on to the person that does not know how to read!  Wow. 

We mentioned the interesting twist on this curse by Reb Pinchos of Frankfurt a תלמיד of the Maggid of Mezritch. 

He proposes in the  פנים יפות בחוקתי, that it’s actually a ברכה as the term used is תבוא מארה

We find that מארה means eating and not being satisfied. See Rashi בחקותי כו ,כו.

When a person is not satisfied after a meal his Bentching is only מדרבנן. Thus, if the father eats and will not reach כדי שביעה then his wife or son can indeed be מוציא him as they are both at the דרבנן level. 

So the ברכה is for the father never to eat כדי שביעה and his wife and son can Bentch for him.

5- We spoke about the powerful and general concept of ערבות. 

If, for example, the entire כלל ישראל was מקיים the Mitzvah of Lulav except for one single person, the result is that every individual of  כלל ישראל is Halachically still considered מחויב in the Mitzvah of Lulav. 


When we approach this single Jew, this חיוב which is on us on us all, even allows us to make the ברכה for this single person. We can say וצונו even though we were already מקיים מצוות לולב!  

This amazing rule however, applies only if this person does not know how to say the ברכה himself. 

lulav-chabad-japan - Chabad Tokyo Japan

Why is that? What does the literacy of a person have to do with our Arvus? 

If he does not know how to make the ברכה are we not obligated, as above, in his Mitzvah of Lulav. 

The Avnei Nezer (OC 40, 4. CM 26) suggest that just like in a monetary case of ערבות the lender cannot approach the guarantor for payment of the loan prior to attempting to collect the debt from the borrower. Similarly, true, there is ערבות in מצוות, but first the one that is actually obligated needs to try on his own. Therefore if he can make the ברכה he must do it himself and not rely on another person to do it for him thru ערבות. 

We mentioned that the Alter Rebbe writes an interesting expression about this and perhaps that is what he meant. OC 272 KA 2

דבשלמא מי שיצא כבר ידי חובתו, שאינו מחוייב בדבר אלא מדין ערבות, לכן כיון שהחייב בעצמו יכול לפטור חובו בעצמו אין להערב לפוטרו,

6- הלל. We began to discuss (and will continue bl”n next week) the three stages in the method to say הלל. 

The original stage was for one person to say the entire הלל and the crowd would say הללויה . How many times did they repeat הללויה? 

‘123 times equal to the number of the years of Aharon HaKohen’. 

Mentioned briefly the Sicha of the Rebbe on this. LS 23. Mase 2. 

To be continued. 

Shiur Sukkah 37b-38a 05/17/22


Sukkah 37b – 38a

Iyar 16, 5782. May 17, 2022

1 – Mishna with instructions on נענועים. 

shaking a Lulav during the Festival of Sukkot. - Catholic Digest

2 – מנענע בהודו בתחילה ובסוף.  What is the meaning at the ׳beginning and the end of הודו׳?

It can mean the beginning and the end of chapter 118 in Tehillim that begins and ends with the same פסוק- 

 הודו לה׳ כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו. Rashi. 

Or it can mean at the and beginning of the first פסוק. Tosafos in the name of יש מפרשים.

Mentioned in passing the תהלים is the only Sefer in תנ”ך that its chapters – פרקים are mentioned in Sha”s.

The פרקים of the rest or Tanac”h were created by a non Jewish printer.

3- We discussed what the  נענועים actually are. The movement to four sides and up and down or the just the shaking/wiggling of the לולב. Or perhaps both. 

Close-up of hands of a worshiper performing the ritual of shaking the lulav and etrog, traditionally performed during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Lafayette, California, October 20, 2019. Courtesy TH Productions Stock

4- Spoke about the ‘pointing the Lulav in 6 directions’. What does one do with the מוריד, which means downward? 

See here in the Ramo 651, 9 that it means literally turning the Lulav upside down pointing down! And he adds, that despite the opinion of others not to do it, וכן עיקר! 

If the Ramo says that that is the way to do it ….. picture his entire shul in Cracow pointing their Lulovim towards the ground. Would make a great photo.

Remah Synagogue - Wikipedia

Ramo shul

No. I'm not trading my etrog & luvav for an apple & maple leaves | by Gedalyah Reback | Medium

The accepted מנהג is stretch out our hands with the Lulav facing up  towards the floor. The Alter Rebbe in his Siddur writes ולא שיהפך ח”ו ראש הלולב למטה.  


From the Siddur

5 – Discussed in how many directions we move the Lulav to. Our Minhog is to four direction (SNEW) and up and down for a total of six. 

An Introduction to Positional Tracking and Degrees of Freedom (DOF)

The Tur 651, quotes others that only do only four – 2 towards front and back and up and down. Their reason in that the moving it in four directions (SWEW) looks like a cross!!! 

The Tur however says that on the contrary, doing only front, back, up and down looks like a cross. By doing four direction (SWEW) and then adding up and down does not seems like a cross. 

6 – We moved on to the next Mishna about the time frame for ד׳ מינים. 

7 – The Gemara compares Davening Minchah with the shaking of the Lulav. Whereas the first in מדרבנן the latter one is מדאורייתא.

Bethany S. Mandel on Twitter: "Davening mincha on the White House lawn. What a shot. What a day." / Twitter


We discussed the famous Machlokes of the Rambam and the Ramban if תפילה is מן התורה. 

The Rambam writes  explicitly that Davning once a day in surely מן התורה. 


The  Ramban argues and says that we find places in Sha”s that clearly say that Davening is מדרבנן. One place is our Gemore in Suka 38, a. 

We discussed the answer of the Kesef Mishneh that Mincha is in indeed מדרבנן even according to the Rambam …since one has already davened שחרית!

8- Spoke about the Gemara’s expression about Chol Hamoed –  יום טוב שני דרבנן. Is Chol Hamoed is יום טוב טוב? 

Shabbat Chol Hamoed - Jewish Holidays

More next week בל”נ. 


Shiur Sukkah 37b 05/11/22


Sukkah 37b

Iyar 9, 5782. May 11, 2022

1- We continued with the topic having direct contact to the Lulav with out any חציצה. 

Mentioned the רמ”א that says it’s preferable that one remove his Tefillin (and ring) before shaking the lulav since the רצועות on his palm or finger  will be a חציצה. OC 651, 7. In regards to Tefillin, he was referring to the  מנהג אשכנז to don them on חול המועד.  

אם עשה בית יד ונתן בו הלולב ונטלו, שפיר דמי, דלקיחה ע”י דבר אחר שמה לקיחה, ובלבד שיהא דרך כבוד; אבל אם אינו דרך כבוד, כגון שנתן הלולב בכלי, ונטלו, לא יצא; ואם כרך עליו סודר, ונטלו או שכרך סודר על ידו, ונטלו, י”א דלא יצא:

הגה – ונהגו להחמיר להסיר התפילין (מהרי”ל) וטבעות מידם, אבל מדינא אין לחוש הואיל ואין כל היד מכוסה בהן (אגודה פ’ מקום שנהגו):

[Note: The full Chapter # 651 in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch did not reach us]. 

Jewish Orthodox Boy Tefillin Hadas Myrtle Stock Photo 1416161933 | Shutterstock

2- Loose leaves inside the ‘bouquet’ of the Lulav. Whether from the הדסים or ערבות or loose branches of the Lulav itself. The Halacha is that it is not a problem since מין במינו אינו חוצץ.

Lulav Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

3 –  A lefty, switches and holds the Lulav in his left hand according to Ashkenazim as the Ramo writes. Sephardim follow the Shulchan Aruch and a lefty does  not switch hands.  OC 651, 3.

Should You Become a Switch Hitter? | SportRx

4- What about an ambidextrous person? See above that he takes the Lulav in his right hand. 

What Are Tefillin? - Tefillin


We mentioned the Machlokes about a Kohen who is ambidextrous. A lefty Kohen cannot do the עבודה. But what if he has equal use of both hands? 

Blessings from Heaven Through the Priestly Blessing | Hoshana Rabbah BlogHoshana Rabbah Blog

Mishna בכורות ז, ו.

וְהַשּׁוֹלֵט בִּשְׁתֵּי יָדָיו – רְבִּי פּוֹסֵל, וַחֲכָמִים מַכְשִׁירִין. 

The Gemore explains the reasoning for these two opinions. 

Rebi says that such a Kohen has a weak right hand. Meaning he is a double lefty.
The Chachamim say on the contrary, an ambidextrous person has a strong left hand. 

5- The Gemara discusses the smelling of the הדס or the Esrog on Yom Tov. 

See here that both are prohibited. The TA”Z adds that ‘those that smell the Esrog when holding it are practicing a מנהג שטות!’

Lulav Stock Photos, Royalty Free Lulav Images | Depositphotos

6- We spoke about the smelling of items that are אסור בהנאה. Mentioned the ראשונים that make a distinction between items that are made for scenting, such as בשמים versus items that are made primarily for eating such a bread. 

Read the text of the Shach (YD 108, 13) that does not accept this distinction and prohibits the smelling of all איסורים. 

PETER LUGER STEAK HOUSE, Brooklyn - Williamsburg - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

The Alter Rebbe accepts his opinion and writes that on Pesach one should not inhale the scent of Chometz from a non Jew

A man sweeps outside a bakery, New York, NY, USA, 1996 by Steve McCurry | Ocula

7- The Gemore discusses smelling an Esrog or הדס on Shabbos while it is still attached to the tree. 

Corsican Citron - Oscar Tintori - Nurseries Worldwide - Citrus Plants

Rashi says that biting into a fruit when it is still on the tree is ‘the epitome of תולש ‘. We discussed if this is מדאורייתא or מדרבנן since is not the usual way one picks fruit off a tree.

604 Bite Apple Tree Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

See מגן אברהם   


Alter Rebbe:

The Gemore in Shabbos says that writing with one’s mouth is שלא כדרך and not considered writing. We mentioned the query of Reb Zvi Pesach Frank who discusses ‘speaking into a phonograph if that is considered writing’. 

Edison Speaks Into a Phonograph, 1888 | PBS LearningMedia

See here

8- We began the next Mishna concerning נענועים. 

More on this next week. 

9 – Story of the פריץ telling his Yid friend who was allowed by his קהילה to blow the Shofer only after נעילה

  !!אז דו האלסט שוין דעם שופר –  בלאז’. 

Yom Kippur 2018: How is Yom Kippur celebrated? When does the day end? - Mirror Online

10 Story of the Rebbe’s painting and it’s aftermath, from an Indian’s office to 15th floor in Rockefeller Center. There has been a sighting. 

Shiur Sukkah 37a 05/03/22


Suka 37a

1- We finished discussing the opinion of Reb Yehudah that one must use the ד’ מינים for the Schach. So evergreen and bamboo cannot be used. 


The Difference Between Evergreens and Conifers

But how can one use an Esrog for סכך? An Esrog is a fruit and is מקבל טומאה? Answers of the כפות תמרים (it refers to the wood of the tree) and  ערוך לנר   (using an Esrog that was not  מוכשר לקבל טומאה).

These 7 citrus tree varieties will make a great addition to your yard | HappySprout

2- The next piece of Gemore touches upon two big topics of חציצה and נטילה על ידי דבר אחר. The opinions of Rabah and Rava. 

3 – חציצה. 

Are the rings that bind the Lulav considered a חציצה? Meaning that the hand of the Lulav holder is not actually touching the Lulav. Just as a חציצה in regards to טבילה that does not allow the water to touch the skin under a band aid. 

How to tie your Lulav - YouTube

Rabbah says one must hold the Lulav directly. The rings must be placed a bit higher to allow the hand to touch the actual Lulav. Even though the rings are made from the Lulav leaves, and it is מין במינו, Raba does not allow it. 

Rava says that since rings add beauty the Lulav, it is בטל to the Lulav and therefore not considered a חציצה. 

4 – נטילה על ידי דבר אחר. 

Gloves - Torah Musings

Holding the Lulav with a towel or scarf. 

Rabbah says one must hold the Lulav directly. Rava says that it is OK. 

Is that the same concept as חציצה ? Or perhaps since the scarf is on one’s hand it is to be viewed as a glove – an extension of the hand and perhaps not considered a חציצה. The only issue is that one is holding the Lulav על ידי דבר אחר.

We discussed the ראשונים on this topic. 

5- In general, the idea of doing a Mitzvah על ידי דבר אחר , is a wide topic. 

Some examples discussed:

  • A Dayan needs to hear a יבמה say that the יבם does not want to marry her. What if this Dayan is hard of hearing and can only hear with a horn that amplifies the sound? Is that שמיעה על ידי דבר אחר?

The History of Hearing Aid Technology

We mentioned the Tzemach Tzedek that discusses this. Here

  • One must be able to hear the מלך speak at the הקהל gathering. If not, he is פטור. Will a horn work? A hearing aid?
  • Mitzvos that need to be seen – like the עדים witnessing the קידושין. Can they wear glasses to see the חתן כלה? Through a glass window? A telescope from a mile away? 

Unrecognizable female hiker with trekking stick looking through binocular telescope while standing on green meadow near

6- Rava’s words (something that adds beauty cannot be considered a חציצה) was the basis of the huge מחלוקת of previous generations regarding the parchment of a Sefer Torah that was ‘shmeared’, coated with a thin white film to make the surface smooth and uniform. 

Sefer Torah Shmeared with log

See here Ben Ish Chai, Torah Leshma, 243:

[Mentioned that if you ever pick up an old Sefer Torah and it seems very heavy it probably has the coat that was applied to it, adding many pounds]. 

The logic to allow it is, based on the Rovo above, that since this film adds beauty to the קלף is is בטל to it. 

פנים מאירות ג, לב. 

The Rabbonim that prohibited it claimed that this glazed film applied to the parchment was not בטל to the Sefer Torah and the letters written are on the film and not ‘on’ the Torah. 


Shiur Sukkah 36b -37a 04/26/22


Sukkah 36b -37A

Nisan 25 5782. April 26, 2022

1- We concluded the last piece of Gemara before starting the next Mishna where it relates the story of Reb Akiva walking into shul ‘with a large esrog on his shoulder’. 

20 Etrog Fresh RARE Seeds Giant Yemenit Citron Citrus Medica Israel Kosher for sale online | eBay | Rare seeds, Etrog, Kosher

As the Alter Rebbe writes: ‘There is no upper limit to the size of an esrog, even if it needs to be carried on your shoulders it is kosher”

Alter Rebbe 648: 29 

2- Having concluded the Halachos of the ד’ מינים the next Mishna discusses the binding of the Lulav, Hadasim and Arovos. 

There are two general issues:

A – The type material to bind it with. If it’s not from the ד’ מינים, is it בל תוסיף? 

B –  Is the binding material considred a חציצה. 

What to do about naked palm tree roots and the mysterious nightlife of the opossum – Press Enterprise

As we learnt previously, Reb Yehuda says that it is a חיוב to bind the Lulav together with the הדסים and ערבות. The reason for this is חיוב, is that  otherwise it lacks a proper , לקיחה as it says ולקחתם לכם. 

Since Reb Yehuda designates this binding as a חיוב then the material used to bind is ‘important’ it cannot be anything else other than from the ד’ מינים itself. Using a string or twine would constitute בל תוסיף. 

How to Bind the Lulav Bundle - Sukkot & Simchat Torah

According to the Rabbanan that binding is only a Mitzvah to adorn and beautify the Lulav bundle, the material used has no importance in itself. The binding is only לנוי. Thus, any material can be used. 

Sukkot Charm: Lulav, 4 colors, click to view

3- The Gemara introduces another opinion of Reb Yehuda that the סכך must be of the ד’ מינים as well. 

Discussed the logic of this ruling. 

When comparing סוכה to the ד’ מינים, which is ‘weightier’? Which one carries more importance? 

We spoke in the past about a scenario of one having to choose to either earring in a Suka or shaking the Lulav. 

Here we are talking about the actual מצוה. Which is more important? Reb Yehuda claims it is the Suka since its obligation starts right at the onset of Sukkos. The  ד’ מינים begin only after sunrise on the first day. 

5 sukkahs to visit in Israel this Sukkot-including Reuven Rivlin's

Additionally, say the Rashash, Suka is a חיוב 24/7 versus the Lulav that picking it up for a fleeting moment is all one needs. 

See previous Shiur, question of the Pri Megadim, choosing Sukkah or Lulav.

Jewish Sunrise Prayers At The Western Wall, Israel 10 Photograph by Jeffrey Worthington

4 – Reb Yehuda brings proof that the סכך needs to be of the species of the ד’  מינים from a Pasuk in Ezra. But this verse is actually in Nechemia! 

See previous shiur.

Nach Metzudos - Daniel / Ezra / Nechemia | Eichlers

Discussed (again) the fact that the Gemore quotes a פסוק  from נחמיה but states that it is in ספר עזרא. This is due to a ‘fault’ by  נחמיה. As the Gemara relates in Sanhedrin נחמיה was punished that his Sefer is not named after him. 

We added that the חיד”א  says that since nowadays נחמיה is indeed,  not attached to עזרא, but labeled printed as a stand alone ספר [albeit, some say it was split from עזרא by a non-Jewish printer], it perhaps shows that נחמיה was forgiven and merited to have his own ספר. 


See here


For more on this topic, see what we found on line here

Shiur Sukkah 36a-b, 03/29/22


Sukkah 36a-b 

2nd Adar 27, 5782. March 29, 2022

1- We find in a ברייתא various types of unusual Esrogim with issues. 

The first one we discussed is כבוש. Meaning the Esrog was soaked in a liquid for a 24 hour period. The rule is כבוש כמבושל. Soaking or pickling is considered as if it was cooked, which in our case would cause the Esrog to be פסול.

Adventures in etrog jam

We mentioned the חתם סופר that derives from this that placing the Lulav in a vase filled with water for 24 hours would cause it to be כמבושל and invalid. Others disagree and say that only a food item can be considered כמבושל. The Lulav, Hadasim and Aravos are merely branches and twigs and this rule would not apply to them.

אתרוג מנומר פסול – 2

Spotted like a leopard. 

Leopard Spots Photograph by Wes and Dotty Weber

We read another interesting חתם סופר that brings up the issue of spots that appear on an Esrog as a result of many people touching it. Is this considered הדר ? 

Esrog High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamy

His expression is interesting: ונ”ל דאכתי הוי הדר, כיון שבאו ע”י מצותו, וזהו הודו והדרו.

Despite the discoloration it is still considered a  הדר since this has been caused by many Mitzvos. That is a true הדר.


Here are two interesting links submitted by Mendel Nemanov. Thanks.

From the Rebbe. Others

3 – Esrog that while developing on the tree was placed in a form and produced a non Esrog- like shape. פסול. 

Zev Sero pointed out the funny looking Esrogim that were used in India. See here, and here .

4 – Our Gemara relates the Minhag of Reb Chanina on the last days of Sukkos he would cut a piece of  the Esrog and eat it. We discussed the issue of חסר and הדר. 

Save the etrog! Keep the joy of Sukkot alive! | The Jewish Star |

5 – The Gemara then brings in the case of an Esrog that mice bit into. Again, a lack of  חסר and הדר. 

6- We spoke a bit about Reb Avrohom Abele Gombiner who is know for his monumental work on the Shulchan Aruch, the מגן אברהם. 

We repeated a fascinating idea from him.

ערבי נחל מג”א לא עברתי ממצותיך ולא שכחתי

In short, one of the 613 Mitzvos is for all to come to the Beis Hamikdosh in years 4 and 7 of the Shmira to declare that all his Trumos and Ma’aser were given. 

B He then says: לא עברתי ממצותיך ולא שכחתי. 

What does not forgetting have to do with giving away the Trumos and Ma’aser? 

Says the Mogen Avrohom that the Yerushalmi relates an interesting story with Reb Pinchos ben Yair:

רִבִּי פִינְחָס בֶּן יָאִיר אֲזַל לְחַד אֲתַר אֲתוּן לְגַבֵּיהּ אָֽמְרוּן לֵיהּ עַכְבָּרָיָא אֲכַל עִיבּוּרָן. גָּזַר עֲלֵיהֹן וְצַמְתּוּן שָׁרוּן מְצַפְצְפִין אֲמַר לוֹן יָֽדְעִין אַתּוּן מַה אִינּוּן אָֽמְרִין אָֽמְרוּ לֵיהּ לָא. אֲמַר לוֹן אָֽמְרוּ דְּלָא מְתַקְּנָא. אָֽמְרוּ לֵיהּ עוֹרְבָן וְעָֽרְבוֹן וְלָא אַנְכּוּן.

Rebbi Phineas ben Yaïr went to a place where they139The farmers of that place. came to him and said, rats are eating our grain. He commanded them140The rats.; they assembled and started to whistle. He asked them, do you understand what they are saying? They said, no. He said to them, they say that it is not put in order. They said to him, be our guarantor. He promised141That the rats would leave if all tithes were taken. It is implied that the townspeople complied and correctly gave all heave and tithes. and they had no further losses.

So not giving Maa’ser properly causes mice to attack the produce.

How to Store Food to Avoid Attracting Rodents · ExtermPRO

Now the Gemara in Horios 13b says that one who eats food that mice have bitten into forgets his learning.

ת”ר חמשה דברים משכחים את הלימוד האוכל ממה שאוכל עכבר וממה שאוכל חתול והאוכל לב של בהמה והרגיל בזיתים והשותה מים של שיורי רחיצה והרוחץ רגליו זו על גבי זו ויש אומרים אף המניח כליו תחת מראשותיו חמשה דברים משיבים את הלימוד פת פחמין וכל שכן פחמין עצמן והאוכל ביצה מגולגלת בלא מלח והרגיל בשמן זית והרגיל ביין ובשמים והשותה מים של שיורי עיסה ויש אומרים אף הטובל אצבעו במלח ואוכל

§ The Sages taught in a baraita: There are five factors that cause one to forget his Torah study: One who eats from that which a mouse eats and from that which a cat eats, and one who eats the heart of an animal, and one who is accustomed to eating olives, and one who drinks water that remains from washing, and one who washes his feet with this foot atop that foot. And some say: Also one who places his garments under his head. Correspondingly, there are five factors that restore forgotten Torah study: Eating bread baked on coals and all the more so one who warms himself with the heat of the coals themselves, and one who eats a hard-boiled egg [beitza megulgelet] without salt, and one who is accustomed to eating olive oil, and one who is accustomed to drinking wine and smelling spices, and one who drinks water that remains from kneading dough. And some say: Also one who dips his finger in salt and eats it.

Is there any medical treatment through which a person can forget a bad memory? - Quora

So concludes the Mogen Avrohom, that is the meaning of the Posuk- I gave all my Ma’aser, therefore I do not have mice problems and my food does not cause me to forget!!!


ערבי נחל מג״א  לא עברתי ממצותיך ולא שכחתי




Shiur Sukkah 35b (2) 03/23/22


Suka 35b (2)

2nd Adar 19, 5782. March 23, 2022

1- In continuation of last week’s discussion concerning  an Esrog from דמאי,  (#s 3 & 4)  and about being מפקיר ones assets we brought up the topic of הפסד מרובה; Great monetary loss. 

European court ruling brings kosher slaughterhouse new business amid old fears | The Times of Israel

We find numerous times in Halacha the allowing of a leniency in order to avoid a great monetary loss. 

This is a wide ranging topic and we mentioned that some say that the entire Halacha of מוקצה can be overridden when there is a הפסד מרובה. Note: That is not the practical Halocho as the Alter Rebbe writes. 334, 2. 

2- We discussed that הפסד מרובה. In  general it  is relative to the financial level of the owner of the object(s) in question. A person that is well to do has a higher bar to reach before the הפסד מרובה leniency kicks in. 

File:A 95 year old woman with her pet rooster, Havana, Cuba.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

We spoke about the question posed to the שואל ומשיב Rabbi of Lvov /  Lemberg.  (today being bombarded and called Lviv). Sefer Detail: הגדה של פסח דברי שאול -- נתנזון, יוסף שאול ב"ר אריה ליבוש הלוי

Can a wealthy person, who cannot use this היתר simply because he indeed has no ‘great loss’, gift it to a poorer person? Interesting question. See here that his question begins with the קטניות on Pesach issue.


3 – Discussed the הדר  of the Esrog. 

Rashi writes that the area of the Esrog that is of prime importance to be הדר  is from the widest diameter to it’s ‘nose’ – where the פיטום is.  He adds ‘that is the area where the eyes of a person land more than the rest of the Esrog’ 

What can also be derived from this Rashi is that any blemish on the Esrog that cannot be seen with the naked eye is not a פסול. So no magnifying glass is needed…….

An Ultra-Orthodox Jew uses a magnifying glass to examine an etrog, a citron, one of the four species used during the festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, in Jerusalem, October 5,

4- Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Dried etrog citron with the pitam still attached | Basically… | Flickr

And also of the circumstances. So if a year produces unsightly Esrogim, which under normal circumstances would be close to being פסול, one must use the nicest one of that year. And that is הדר!!!

Conversely, using such an Esrog in years of beautiful אתרוגים , is not הדר at all and should not be used. 

This concept is expounded by the אור שמח. Lulav 8, 7. 

ולדעתי נראה דלא מיבעי פסולי הדר שכתב רבינו אשר דהתורה מסרה אותן לחכמים ואם אין כאן אחר איהו הוי הדר ובאמת ענין הידור ויופי הוא מן המוסכמות ולכן באתרוג הכושי אמר הא לן הא להו ודאי דכשר אם אין באפשר להשיג אחר ההדר

5 – In jest we spoke about the שליח בית דין  walking around with a frying pan and three eggs. Attend the shiur for an explanation…..