Suka 27b (2) 28a.
Cheshvan 20, 5782. October 26, 2021
1- Some notes from last week:
Mentioned the פנים יפות who says that the 2 opinions if a Sukkah is supposed to be לכם, (meaning that one needs to own his own Sukkah or not), correspond to the 2 opinions/reasons why we actually sit in a Sukkah.
We find that Reb Eliezer and Reb Akiva (suka 11b) argue as to the meaning of the commandment “you shall sit in Sukkah because I placed the Bnei Isroel in Sukkos when I took them out of Egypt”.
What ‘Sukkos’ is the Pasuk referring to? Reb Eliezer says it refers to the clouds that hovered above them. Reb Akiva says these Sukkos were actual huts.
Says the פנים יפות, that according to opinion that they were clouds, it would make sense that a Sukkah does not require ‘ownership’; clouds belong to all. However according to the opinion that it was actual huts, then one would say that the Sukka needs to be owned by its user.
2- Speaking of לכם, we also spoke about חליצה. The shoe used needs to be ‘owned’ by the brother who will wear it on his left (weaker) foot.
In general, the Beis Din needs to ascertain prior to the חליצה process if he is ‘right footed’.
This is accomplished by inviting the חולץ to Beis Din prior to the procedure. They ask him to sit and then ask him to come forward.
If he places his right foot first, then he is ‘right footed’.
If he places his left foot first, then he is ‘left footed’.
What if one is ‘left footed’?
Dons it on his right foot (his left),
Dons it on his left foot (like everyone else),
Dons it on both his feet, together or simultaneously, ( we are unsure what to do) or…..
He can’t do חליצה at all!!
3- There are discussions about soldiers that are trained to march left right, left right. Instinctively, they will always put their left foot first. Does that make the above test on them irrelevant?
We also mentioned the interesting opinion of the חתם סופר that uses a novel idea from one of the פוסקים that in reality there is no such a thing as a ‘left footed’ person. This unique opinion is that when the גמרא discusses the issue of איטר רגל, left footedness, it was referring to a case when one is handicapped ר”ל with his right foot dragging after his left.
See here. AH, 91 paragraph אמנם.
3 – This week, 28a, we continued with the מנהגים and fascinating stories of the the great Reb Eliezer of Lud.
He used to say: ‘I never said anything that I didn’t hear from my Rebbe’ (Reb Yochanon ben Zakai).
We spoke at length about this statement.
Question 1- There are numerous statement in all of Sha”s where Reb Eliezer states an opinion that seems to be his own, since he doesn’t mention that he heard it from his Rebbe.
- This custom was only while his Rebbe was still alive.
- He heard everything from his Rebbe. However, after dwelling on his master’s ideas, he internalized some of these sayings to the point that it became ‘his’. Thus he would not say them in the name of his Rebbe. Likutei Sichos 36. 181.
- He heard and only repeated the כללים from his Rebbe. Based on these general rules,he expanded and created new ideas. LK”S 19, 266, 29.
Question 2- If this מנהג is to be lauded and followed by all, how could Torah flourish? All we would have are repetitions from the רב to his תלמיד. Nothing new or creative.
Answer: Reb Eliezer didn’t mean to limit creativity.
His only refrain from not saying things he didn’t hear from his Rebbe applied only to Halochos that he heard from others saying that they heard it from their respective Rebbes going back to Moshe Rabeinu.
Novel ideas and new interpretation from others, not his own Rebbe, are not in this category.
This also answers question 1 above. Aruch Laner.
4- Here is the next fascinating piece of Gemara. From Sefaria
The Sages taught: Hillel the Elder had eighty students.
Thirty of them were sufficiently worthy that the Divine Presence should rest upon them as it did upon Moses our teacher.
Thirty of them were sufficiently worthy that the sun should stand still for them as it did for Joshua bin Nun.
Twenty were on an intermediate level between the other two. The greatest of all the students was Yonatan ben Uzziel, and the youngest of them was Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai.
Now about Ren Yochanon Ben Zakkai:
The Sages said about Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai that he did not neglect Bible; Mishna; Gemara; halakhot and aggadot; minutiae of the Torah and minutiae of the scribes; the hermeneutical principles of the Torah with regard to a fortiori inferences and verbal analogies; the calculation of the calendrical seasons; and numerology [gimmatreyaot]. In addition, he did not neglect esoteric matters, including the conversation of ministering angels; the conversation of demons, and the conversation of palm trees; parables of launderers, which are folk tales that can be used to explain the Torah; parables of foxes; and more generally, a great matter and a small matter.
The Gemara elaborates: A great matter is referring to the secrets of the Design of the Divine Chariot, the conduct of the transcendent universe.
A small matter is, for example, halakhot that were ultimately formulated in the framework of the disputes of Abaye and Rava.
5- What is this ‘conversation of trees’?
We mentioned the Rashba Bava Basra 134a who quotes Reb Hai Gaon who writes that in his days there was a certain Reb Avrohom Kabasi who had the ability to hear the conversation of palm trees.
שיחת דקלים. כתב רבינו האי גאון ז”ל כי מר אברהם קבסי היה מכיר בשיחת דקלים ומה הם אומרים כאשר מתנודדין ברוח.
see קורא הדורות on page 5
As to what science has to say about this phenomenon, see here about trees when sensing stress, transmit messages to other adjoining trees alerting them to fungus and disease.
6 – We next spoke about the meaning of the A small matter is, for example, halakhot that were ultimately formulated in the framework of the disputes of Abaye and Rava.
How can we term these as ‘small matter’ when the entire Sha”s is filled with the discussion of Abbaya and Rava?
See the בן יהוידע on our Gemore:
וראיתי בשער הגלגולים לרבינו האר”י ז”ל (בהקדמה ל”ו דף מ.) שכתב דאביי היה גלגול שלישי לנשמה שהיתה בריב”ז ולכך אמרו רז”ל על רבן יוחנן בן זכאי שֶׁלֹּא הִנִּיחַ מִקְרָא וּמִשְׁנָה וכו’ וְהֲוָיוֹת דְּאַבַּיֵי וְרָבָא יעוין שם. והשתא לפי דברי רבינו האר”י ז”ל הנזכר מובן הטעם דקרי להוויות דאביי ורבא בשם ‘דָּבָר קָטָן’ כי הם של גלגול שלישי שהוא קטן לגבי רבן יוחנן בן זכאי ודו”ק.
See here from צוואת הריב”ש.
ורבן זכאי בן יוחנן עשה גם מהויות דאביי ורבא מעשה מרכבה
7- We concluded with final item in the Gemore:
The Gemore relates that the Sages said of Yonatan ben Uzziel, the greatest of Hillel’s students, that when he sat and was engaged in Torah study, the sanctity that he generated was so intense that any bird that flew over him was immediately incinerated.
Popular Jewish joke:
3 student sitting in front of their Rebbe, a Chosid, a Yekke and a Litvisher and they get to Sukka 28a. They all hear this fascinating story of the greatness of Reb Yonatan ben Uzziel.
Their Rebbe asks each one of the three what their take is on this story – any bird that flew over him was immediately incinerated.
The Chosid: Wow! I’m amazed at the great level of קדושה his learning must have created to generate a fire that incinerated birds hovering above him.
The Yekke: One needs to be careful when learning, least one go overboard and create a fire hazard that can cause damage to flying birds overhead . Additionally, what about צער בעלי חיים…..
The Litvisher: I’m thinking as to who is ultimately responsible to pay for the damaged birds. Was it Reb Yonasson’s direct cause and he would need to pay, or was it indirect, גרמא….and he is פטור .