Suka 5b 02/25/20




Suka 5b. Shvat 30, 5780. Feb 25, 2020

1- The Gemara  continues on the topic of the thickness of the כפורת:

Earlier it discussed the source of  the thickness of the כפורת by comparing it to the smallest measurement we find in the כלים of the משכן. And that is the מסגרת of the שולחן which was a טפח thick. 

Then Gemara asked that we find that ציץ the Kohen Gadol wore on his forehead was even smaller- 2 fingers wide. So perhaps the כפורת was only as thick as two fingers? 

2- Next Gemara attempts to establish the thickness of the כפורת by comparing it to: 

a- The gold crown/molding that was on the ארון and the Shulchan. 

b- The face of a human. (Not less than a tefach)

c- The face of the Yochni bird. See here.

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D- The face of an angel. 

e- The face of a child. 

3- We spoke about the case in the mid 70’s when a “ scholar “ convinced many that the entire משכן  was a means with which Jews communicated with extraterrestrial beings and aliens!!!
His book was on many best seller lists and sold 70 million copies to date!

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Read this link and see the power of a theory that is ridiculous. 

4- Concerning the ארון we discussed two topics that the Rebbe spoke and wrote about:

A- Why does the Rambam not write that building the ארון is a Mitzvah. Additionally, he does not articulate on how to build it, the measurements, material etc. This omission is blatant as he does describes in great detail the שלחן , מנורה etc. 

In short, the Rebbe explains that the ארון  was in a sense not an end unto itself. It was primarily to bring about the שכינה. Once built, the שכינה rested in the משכן and that is eternal. There was no other עבודה associated with the ארון as opposed to say the מזבח. 

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Thus the Rambam does not count constructing the ארון as one of the 613 Mitzvos since it is not for perpetuity as there was never a need to construct another ארון  and therefore there is no need to explain the process of building an ארון. See here (end of footnote 26), and here (footnote 24). 

B- The location of the ארון. 

Rambam בית הבחירה פרק ה.

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There was a stone at the western side of the Holy of Holies, on which the Ark was placed, and in front of it there was the jar of manna as well as the staff of Aaron. 

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When Solomon built the Temple, knowing that it would at the end be destroyed, he constructed underneath a place where to hide the Ark in deep and winding secret tunnels. At the command of King Josiah, it was concealed in the place which Solomon had built.— — Along with it were concealed the staff of Aaron, the jar of manna, and the anointing oil. None of these reappeared in the Second Temple. Even the Urim and Tummim, which were available in the Second Temple, no longer responded prophetically, nor were they consulted.— —

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The Rebbe’s point, very briefly, is that the lengthy explanation, by the Rambam as a הלכה , of the tunnels dug by Shlomo HaMelech under the בית המקדש points to a very interesting phenomenon:

The ארון had from its inception two locations. One during the time of the existence of the בית המקדש, and that would be in the קודש הקדשים. 

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Additionally, during the years of גלות, in the times in between the destruction of the first and the rebuilding of  the third בב”א בית המקדש, its place is in the tunnels beneath the קודש הקדשים. 

There is much more on this topic. See here for the interesting Sicha on this topic. 

To be continued IY”H. 


Suka 5a. 23 Shvat 5780 02/18/20


Sukkah 5a. Shvat 23, 5780. Feb.18, 2020

1- We continued the Sugya concerning the minimum interior height of a Sukkah which is 10 Tefachim. 

The Gemara derives this from the fact that the Shechina never fully descended upon this world. 

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“It has never rested on this world. It stopped at 10 Tefachim above the ground”. 

This implies that the height of 10 Tefachim is a ‘domain’. Thus a Sukkah that is only 10 Tefachim is nevertheless considered a ‘domain’ or house. 

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(Indeed. It’s a difficult esoteric concept to understand). 

We mentioned the idea from the  מהר”ץ חיות that the symbolism behind this concept is that although G-D permeates this world, He nevertheless grants humans free will. Thus “His Shechina never descend to this world” to control man’s deeds. 

2- The above idea that “The Shechina has never rested on this world, meaning that it stopped at 10 Tefachim above the ground” we know from the Posuk that states “I will talk to you from above the ארון”. Being that the ארון was 10 Tefachim tall it implies that the שכינה always stays above the 10 Tefachim mark.  

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וְנוֹעַדְתִּי לְךָ שָׁם וְדִבַּרְתִּי אִתְּךָ מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים אֲשֶׁר עַל אֲרוֹן הָעֵדֻת אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּה אוֹתְךָ אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.

3- That the ארון  was tall 10 Tefachim in total we calculate as follows: From the Posuk we see that the box itself was 9 T.

On top of the ארון  was the  כפורת. It was one Tefach tall, as below,  for a total of ten. 

4- The Gemara now discusses the source for the thickness of the כפורת since the Torah does not specify it. The Gemara compares it to the smallest measurement we find in the כלים of the משכן. And that is the מסגרת of the שולחן which was a 1 Tefach tall.  מסגרת  is the rim or trim above or below the table. 

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We came across the concept of “If you have seized a lot, you have not seized”

תפסתה מרובה לא תפסתה. תפסתה מועט תפסתה

Image result for biting more than you can chew

5- The Gemara then asks that we find that ציץ the Kohen Gadol wore on his forehead was even smaller- 2 fingers tall. So perhaps the כפורת was only as thick as two fingers. 

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6- Next topic:  The very interesting Gemara about how the words קודש להשם were engraved on the ציץ – On one line or on two lines. 

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From Sefaria

The Chachomim say: And written upon it are two lines: The letters yod, heh, vav, heh, the name of God, above; and the word kodesh, spelled kuf, dalet, shin, followed by the letter lamed, below. Together it spelled kodesh laHashem, meaning: Sacred to the Lord, with yod, heh, vav, heh written on the upper line in deference to the name of God. 

Rabbi Eliezer, son of Rabbi Yosei, said: I saw the ציץ in the emperor’s treasury in Rome, where it was taken together with the other Temple vessels when the Temple was destroyed, and upon it was written: Sacred to the Lord, on one line.

We mentioned the Rebbe’s explanation on this Gemara. L”S 26. P201.

In Short- 

Although Reb Eliezer saw the actual plate that had the words engraved on one line, the חכמים held their ground and maintained that was/is written on two lines!

How is that possible? 

This is because, as with the Menorah on the Arch of Titus, although it seemingly depicts the Menorah of the Beis Hamikdash, the numerous discrepancies [such as the 6 rounded bars, an engraved dragon!] show that it was just modeled and based on another contemporary Menorah. Not the actual Menorah that was in the בית המקדש. 

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Similarly, we can assume as to the origin of the ציץ that was seen in the Roman archives. 

Since the חכמים had a קבלה that it was two lines, despite the fact that Reb Eliezer testified seeing the (actual) plate engraved on one line, the חכמים were convinced that the one he saw in Rome was not the ציץ that was worn by the כהן גדול. It was a prototype or piece of jewelry that was similar to the actual ציץ.

On the other hand, Reb Eliezer had no such קבלה. Thus his seeing the ציץ was proof for him that it was indeed a one line engraving. 

We continued with the Rebbe’s explanation on the ruling of the Rambam that it should be engraved on two lines but if it was done on one line it is kosher ‘and sometimes it was engraved on one line’. 

כֵּיצַד מַעֲשֵׂה הַצִּיץ. עוֹשֶׂה טַס שֶׁל זָהָב רֹחַב שְׁתֵּי אֶצְבָּעוֹת וּמַקִּיף מֵאֹזֶן לְאֹזֶן וְכוֹתֵב עָלָיו שֵׁנִי שִׁיטִין קֹדֶשׁ לַה’ קֹדֶשׁ מִלְּמַטָּה לַה’ מִלְמַעְלָה. וְאִם כְּתָבוֹ בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת כָּשֵׁר. וּפְעָמִים כְּתָבוּהוּ בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת:

7- We concluded with the Chasam Sofer concerning  אליהו הנביא.    

   חתם סופר – חלק ו 97

The question concerns travelling on a train on Shabbos (assuming one got on before Shabbos). Is there an issue with leaving the תחום שבת? 

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There is an unresolved question (Eiruvin 43a-b) if the prohibition of traveling further than the תחום  applies if one is above 10 Tefochim. Such as in a boat or…a flying angel.

As per the Gemara this query concerns אליהו הנביא and how he reappears on Shabbos etc since he ‘travels’ from heaven which is more than a תחום from earth! 


הנה אנכי שולח לכם את אליה הנביא לפני בוא יום ה’

The Gemara discusses if אליהו הנביא can come on Shabbos to announce the coming of Moshiach since he will need to travel out of his תחום. 

The Chasam Sofer says that אליהו הנביא does not come from Heaven. Rather, his body is physically present in the גן עדן  that exists on our planet.

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His soul, however,  is in the spiritual heaven like all other angels. 

Now,  אליהו הנביא can make an appearance in two ways:

 1- Only his soul descends. When that occurs he is not a ‘human’. Thus the laws of תחום do not apply to him. Therefore his attending a Bris on Shabbos and Yom Tov is not an issue. 

2- When his soul re-attaches to his physical body and he appears as such. We find numerous places in Sha”S that he makes a physical appearance. He is then considered human and מחוייב במצוות.

When announcing the coming of Moshiach he will need to arrive physically and thus there is an issue with his appearing on Shabbos.

There were more discussions on other topics. 

To be continued bl”n.  

Sukkah 4b 2/11/20

Sukkah 4b.

Shvat 16, 5780 –  February 11, 2020

Some topics discussed. 

1- The concept of ‘Gud Asik’.  גוד אסיק

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Gud Asik – גוד אסיק  (Lit: the wall goes up) is a הלכה למשה מסיני.

The concept of גוד אסיק considers a “wall” to continue upwards infinitely. The wall must be a minimum of 10 tefachim from the ground and within 3 tefachim from the ground for this halacha to apply.

Example: On Sukkos, the mechitza of a sukkah needs to reach the סכך. 

Most practically, people put the סכך  within 3 tephachim of the top of the wall and use a different halacha called lavud to halachically eliminate the space. 

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Sukkah walls employing לבוד

With גוד אסיק you can use, say, gazebo walls that are only 10 tefachim high and place the סכך  on a frame 15 feet high. Now, if the imaginary line drawn upward from the walls hits the edge of the sechach (or within 3 טפחים), your walls halachically reach your סכך. (O.C. 630:9)

2-  The concept of “dyumadim”. Or a double wall. 

The Gemara:

The Sages taught: If one inserted four posts into the ground and placed a roof over them, Rabbi Ya’akov says: One considers whether the posts are wide enough that if they were grooved and split, forming a piece of wood with two segments at a right angle, and they have a handbreadth to here, in this direction, and a handbreadth to there, in that direction, then they are considered a double post [deyumad]. With regard to certain halakhot, the status of a double post positioned at a corner is that of two full-fledged partitions. And if not, if after splitting them they are narrower than that, they are not considered a double post, as Rabbi Ya’akov would say: The minimum measure of double posts of a sukka to be considered full-fledged partitions is one handbreadth. 

And the Rabbis say: The sukka is fit only if it has two full-fledged partitions in the standard sense, completely closing each of those two sides, and a third wall, which, based on a halakha transmitted to Moses from Sinai, measures even a handbreadth.

2-  We began to learn the Sugya concerning the minimum height of the Sukkah which is 10 טפחים

The esoteric idea of למטה מעשרה טפחים. 


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3- The height of the ארון  and the כפורת. 


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To be continued. 


Sukkah 4a Yud Shvat, 5780. February 4, 2020


Suka 4a. Yud Shvat, 5780. February 4, 2020

Some topics discussed:

1- Continued from last week: 

 Reducing the height of a Sukkah that is more than 20 amos high.  

By placing pillows and blankets on the floor. The issue here is the fact that these items are not to be on the floor permanently. 

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We mentioned the Meiri  (top line) that writes about expensive carpets that although a wealthy man would not care if they get ruined, nevertheless ‘his mindset is not in the majority’ and we follow what most people think. 

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But see here

Speaking of the Meiri, we mentioned that the existence of  his manuscripts were unknown for many years. Many of the great פוסקים were unaware of his writings. 

We spoke about Reb Avrohom Soifer who published many of the מאירי manuscripts and was a frequent visitor by the Rebbe. 

2- Speaking of carpets….   we mentioned the prohibition of kneeling on a stone floor. From there we moved onto the ‘falling on our face’ נפילת אפים  while saying תחנון, and if one is permitted to do so on a stone floor that is covered with carpets. 


Having mentioned תחנון  we related the fascinating story quoted in the ארוחות חיים  Orchos Chaim. By ר’ אהרן מלוניל 

ארחות חיים

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After שמונה עשרה  one says והוא רחום be said in a loud voice while standing…….and the גאונים write that ‘we have accepted upon us and our children to eternity’……

..and this is the Minhag to say והוא רחום  and why it was enacted. The story is with a boat of Jews….that were exiled from Yerusholayim to a foreign nation. When asked by the king of this land what nation they belonged to they responded ‘from the Jewish nation’. 

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The king then tells them that ‘if you are indeed Jewish then I want to test you just as חנני׳ מישאל ועזרי׳  were tested by being thrown into a burning furnace’. 

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They responded to the king ‘give us 30 days’. The king granted their wish and they fasted the entire time. In the interim whatever they saw in their dreams they discussed with their colleagues.

 At the end of the 30 days, one of them, ‘an older G-D fearing man, who was not well versed tells them that ‘In my dream a Posuk was read to me. It contained twice the word כי and three times the word לא, but I have no clue what Posuk it is’. 

So another elder sage tells him that surely the following is the verse they showed you from heaven: 

כִּי תַעֲבֹר בַּמַּיִם אִתְּךָ אָנִי וּבַנְּהָרוֹת לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּךָ כִּי תֵלֵךְ בְּמוֹ אֵשׁ לֹא תִכָּוֶה וְלֶהָבָה לֹא תִבְעַר בָּךְ.

ישעי׳ מג, ב. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

And, concluded the elder, ‘you should go into the furnace and you will surely be saved’!

At the order of the king a large new fire pit was built at a crossroad. The old G-D fearing man that had the dream entered the fire pit, he was unharmed and the fire split into three paths. He then saw three צדיקים  that came to greet him. They then recited והוא רחום. The first one said until אנא מלך. The second one said until אין כמוך. The third from there until the end. 

Based on this story the  חכמים established that והוא רחום should be said every Monday and Thursday.


3- We began the Sugya of Dofen Akuma. דופן עקומה 

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To be continued. 

4- Speaking of long and short walls we related the humorous saying of Red Yochanan Gordon. ‘If one has a short foot the other is a little longer’.