Shiur Sukkah 13b 11/24/20

Sukkah 13b 

8 Kislev, 5781. November 24, 2020

A few brief notes. 

1- The Gemara discusses using thin leaves or vegetables for סכך. The issue is that they become brittle and will crumble. 

We mentioned that one example the Gemara gives is מרור. If horseradish is מרור how does horseradish root become brittle?

All About Fresh Horseradish Root

2- We discussed the problem of snow or ice. It cannot be used as סכך since it does not grow from the ground. What about if snow or ice cover the סכך? 

Story of the Alter Rebbe.

 שערי תשובה ובאר היטב say it’s ok since, like the brittle leaves, the snow will melt!

Leaves,dead,brown,brittle,faded - free image from

3- The next part of our Gemara discusses a Mishna in עוקצין. We discussed the ideas of ידות and שומר. 

We began with the story at the end of הוריות with Reb Meir and Reb Noson’s attempt to replace Rabban Gamliel who was the נשיא. 

To be continued…

רבי מאיר אחרים. לקו”ש חי”ב.  הדרן בכורות. 

Here  is the Kuntres by R’ Meir (!) Elituv אליטוב on the answer of the Rebbe regarding R’ Meir/Acheirim:


Shiur Sukkah 13a(2) 11/17/2020


Suka 13a (2)

Kislev 1, 5781. November 17, 2020

1- The Gemara introduces the discussion about the definition of a ‘bunch’. 

The Torah requires in three instances to take אזוב אגודת –  hyssop,  in a ‘bunch’. 

Hyssopus officinalis or hyssop — Stock Photo © spline_x #120188050


[We mentioned in the past that the Bartenura identifies this אזוב  as the za’atar plant]. 

Zaatar - Zahatar - Zatar - Herbs & Spices -


In מצרים when applying the פסח blood on the doorpost, when purifying a טמא מת with the אפר הפרה and the purification of the  מצורע.  


What is the meaning of אגודה? One אזוב ד stem is obviously not a ‘bunch’. Is it two or three? 

Agudath Israel of America (@AgudahNews) | Twitter

2- We discussed the topic of  גרדומי – Gardumi – Stubs. 

Briefly – when the Torah instructs one to perform a Mitzvah, say מקווה, one needs to fill a מקוה with 40 סאה. 

Now this מקוה needs to always be a full 40 סאה. If it drops to 39 it’s not a valid מקוה. 

Another example – לולב. It needs to be a minimum of 4 טפחים. So if one starts with 4 and shakes it violently and it shrinks to 3, it is obviously פסול.

This is very logical and applies to all מצוות  that require a  שיעור.

Mini clay lulav | Lulav and etrog, Jewish crafts, Etrog

However, we find that two מצוות that require one to start with a particular שיעור, but interestingly enough, if this שיעור becomes smaller, less that what is originally required, it is still Kosher! 

These two Mitzvos are אזוב and ציצית. With ציצית one must start with about 9.9 inches in length. But if they tear and become shorter it is still Kosher

Ditto for the bunch of אזוב. Even is there is just a bit left, enough to be able to dip it into the מים של אפר החטאת , it is Kosher.  

See the source for this in the Gemara here

אמרי בי רב חייא: גרדומי תכלת וגרדומי אזוב כשירין. 

The children of Rav Chiya said: Stubs (remnants) of Tzitzis and the Eizov are Kosher. 

3- What is perplexing is that no reason is offered in the Gemara and not in the ראשונים, as to why these two מצוות are the exception to the rule. Amazing indeed. 

The Chasam Sofer was asked by Reb Shlomo Kluger of Brodi for an explanation. (The topic discussed there is a Sefer Torah that aged and its letters turned from black to brown/red). 

See here. YD 256 ומה שהקשה. 

He begins to explain but finishes off saying ”and whoever, whose intelligence is greater than ours, will offer a logical explanation, we will graciously accept it” !!!

It Can't Happen Here! Oh, Yes It Can! - The Jewish Voice

Reb Meir Simcha of Dvinsk

 4- We spoke about the explanation of the אור שמח, by Reb Meir Simcha of Dvinsk. See here.  – אור שמח הל’ לולב פ’ ז’ הל’ ח 

It’s a very deep and subtle idea. See below in different words. 

Daas Torah - Issues of Jewish Identity: Daas Torah vs local authority - a letter from Rav Chaim Ozer explaining when local authority is preferred

Reb Chaim Oizer Grodzinski

In the Yeshiva world there is a story about the above אור שמח. When the Rov of Vilna, Reb Chaim Oizer Grodzinski, would test Yeshiva Bochurim he would ask them to explain to him, in their own words, the meaning of this particular אור שמח!

Shabbos 58 - 64 -

Reb Pinchos Hirshprung

5- Mentioning Reb Chaim Oizer, we spoke about Reb Pinchos Hirshprung of Montreal.

  • His photographic memory. His life. 
  • His relationship with the Rebbe. 
  • The publishing house that planned to print his biography. When his family agreed but with the condition that the above relationship be mentioned, they refused. The family printed it on their own. 
  • His genuine memoirs he wrote right after the war. The unadulterated english translation. 
  • Vale of Tears. Available on Amazon
  • The Vale of Tears (The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs (42)): Hirschprung, Rabbi Pinchas: 9781988065106: Books
  • His encounter with Reb Chaim Oizer during the war. His dilemma of whether to enter Russia to get to Japan. 

  • Reb Chaim Oizer’s advice. The Chassidisher Bochur who went to hear Reb Chaim Ozer’s advice while planning to do just the opposite……
  • Who was right at the end?

See below a clear explanation on the Chasam Sofer, and Or Sameach mentioned above, from the Tolna Rebbe, R Yitzchok Menachem Weinberg: 

תירוץ עמוק על הקושיא העצומה של רבי שלמה קלוגר מופיע בספר “אור שמח” על הרמב”ם לגאון המפורסם רבי מאיר שמחה אב”ד דווינסק. האור שמח נמצא בהל’ לולב בפ’ ז’ הל’ ח’ היסוד של גרדומים נובע מכך שיש בקיום המצוה משך זמן, אזוב שכבר טיהר אדם אחד יכול לטהר גם את האחר, משום שכבר חל עליו שם של גרדום, כך גם לגבי ציצית, ואין להתפלא על כך שאדם מסוים נטהר באזוב קטן, ואילו זה שקדם לו היה עליו להיטהר באזוב גדול, אנו מוצאים הבדל בין שני האנשים. אדם זה שנטהר באזוב גדול, נטהר בבוקר, ואילו זה שנטהר באזוב הקטן נטהר אחריו מובן מדוע מספיק לטהרתו גם אזוב קצר, כך גם לגבי ציצית, הבגד שבתחילת ברייתו נקשר עם חוטי ציצית ארוכים יכול מעתה להיפטר גם עם חוטים קטנים, ואין לתמוה ע”כ כיצד יתכן שבגד שחייב בציצית יפטר בחוטים קטנים, משום שבגד זה עצמו כבר נפטר באותם חוטים, וכיון שכך אנו מבינים את ההבדל בין הבגד שהיה עליו להיפטר עם חטים גדולים לבין הבגד שנפטר עכשיו עם חוטים קטנים.

אבל לגבי לולב ושופר אין הבדל בין לולב בבוקר לבין לולב אחר הצהרים, ואין שום חלות דין המבדילה בין אדם שנטל לולב בשחרית בבוקר, לבין למי שנטל אחה”צ, שניהם יצאו את אותה מצות לולב, כך שאם נאמר שאדם שנטל לולב בבוקר ואח”כ נפחת הלולב יוכל אחריו אדם אחר לצאת בלולב קטן, יהיה בזה דבר תימה, כיצד יתכן ששיעור הלולב משתנה לפי הלוקחים, לזה צריך דווקא לולב גדול שלשה טפחים, ואילו לשני מספיק לולב קטן, והרי השני שנטל את הלולב אין בנטילתו המשך לנטילת הראשון, הוא כאילו נוטל לבדו, שהרי אין הבדל בין הנוטל בבוקר לבין הנוטל אחה”צ, שניהם התחייבו בבת אחת וכל אחד מהם יוצא ידי חיובו בשעת נטילה, מה הקשר בין זה שנטל את הלולב בבוקר, לזה שנטל אחה”צ, כדי שיפטר זה שנוטל אחה”צ בלולב שונה מזה שנפטר בבוקר, כך גם לגבי שופר, ולכן אין לדמות גרדומי אזוב ותכלת לגרדומי לולב ושופר.


Shiur Sukkah 13a – 11/11/2020


Suka 13a. 

1 – Our Gemore discusses types of סכך that have a foul odor. One is prohibited from using it, least one will not be comfortable and simply walk out of the Sukkah!

Feeding souls on a socially distant Sukkot | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

We discussed if this rule applies to the walls as well. 

2 – The next topic was using סכך that dries out and falls into the סוכה. As above, one may not use it. That is לכתחילה. However בדיעבד, it is fine. Dried Pine Needles Image & Photo (Free Trial) | Bigstock

We discussed what בדיעבד means. If one ate in such a Sukkah he is יוצא or if one built such a Sukkah he may use it. 

See here the Alter Rebbe. 629, 21. 

כא יש דברים שאסרו חכמים לסכך  בהן קמז לכתחלה קמח והם מיני עשבים שריחם רעקמט אע”פ שאינן ראויין לאכילה ואין מקבלין טומאה קנ וכן מיני סנה שעליהן נושריןקנא תמיד אע”פ שלא בשעת הרוח קנב לפי שאנו חוששין שמא מתוך שריחן רע או מתוך שעליהן נושרין יצא מן הסוכה קנג ואם עבר וסיכך בהן כשרה קנד ומותר לישב בה לכתחלה קנה:

3 – Our Gemara diverges and discusses an interesting topic regarding linguistics. 

Spicy Horseradish Tips - Tricks For Making Horseradish Hot
Horseradish – Sharp!

Briefly – The Torah obligates one to eat מרור  on Pesach. 

What is מרור? Rashi in Chumash (Shemos 12, 8) writes that ‘any bitter herb’ is considered מרור. 

Endives | Louis Bonduelle Foundation
Endive, Somewhat bitter

However, the Mishna in פסחים enumerates the exact five herbs that are classified as מרור. 

More E. coli illnesses linked to tainted romaine lettuce
Romaine Lettuce, Bitter Herb

ואלו ירקות שאדם יוצא בהן ידי חובתו בפסח: בחזרת ובעולשין ובתמכא ובחרחבינא ובמרור.

Frisee Information, Recipes and Facts
Friese Lettuce, Very bitter

Meaning that wasabi or jalapenos would not be considered מרור.

Wasabi does more than simply add heat to sushi | Office for Science and Society - McGill University
Real Wasabi ( Most of the wasabi you’ll find in restaurants in the United States are Horsradish), very sharp

Our Gemore discusses if one of the five types listed above has an added name. ‘ מרור of the lake’. Is that considered מרור or is it a different species?

Here is the Gemore from Sefaria, a bit modified. 

Rav Ḥisda said that Ravina bar Sheila said: With these מרור of a marsh, a person fulfills his obligation on Passover. [Meaning מרור, that has an added name to it.]. 

The Gemara raises an objection to this opinion. With regard to every mitzva that requires use of אזוב – hyssop, such a for the פרה אדומה, one needs to use only standard hyssop, not an אזוב that has an added name to it. Such as  Greek אזוב, nor stibium אזוב, nor desert אזוב , nor Roman אזוב, nor any other kind of אזוב whose name is accompanied by a modifier. 

Hyssop facts and health benefits

The same should hold true for the mitzvah of bitter herbs מרור; ‘מרור of the lake’, whose name is accompanied by a modifier- the lake–  are not the bitter herbs mentioned in the Torah.

Abaye said in response: There is a distinction between the cases. Every species whose name was differentiated prior to the giving of the Torah, i.e., the distinction between its different subspecies predated מתן תורה at Sinai, and the Torah then came along and was particular about one specific subspecies, it is known that the chosen species has other subspecies identified with a modifier that are unfit for use in fulfilling the mitzvah. 

On the other hand מרור, the different types of the 5 mentioned, all their sub-names were not differentiated prior to the giving of the Torah at all; all the subspecies were known simply as bitter herbs. Therefore, when the Torah requires מרור, one may fulfill the mitzvah with all subspecies of bitter herbs.

In practice, we mentioned that in Shulchan Aruch it says that only the five types are good for מרור. 

However the Rama says that if one does not have any  מרור of the five types, he should use ‘any bitter herb’. : Dualspices Japanese Wasabi Powder 3.2 Oz (90 Grams) Extra Hot - No Fillers - 100% Pure : Grocery & Gourmet Food

So wasabi or jalapenos would be OK

Hot Pepper Mix | Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co.
Hot and Spicy peppers

[Unless, as Mr. Serebryanski argued, there is a difference between bitter and sharp]

The Magen Avrohom 473,16  takes issue with this and says that one should not make a ברכה  on this. Reb Akiva Eiger, DV, questions our Gemore. Seems that his opinion is like the Ramo that any bitter herb is fine. 

4- The Gemore above mentioned Roman אזוב that was known with that name prior to מתן תורה. 

We spoke about the question of the ( תפארת ישראל  (  11,7פרה that Rome didn’t exist at that time!

Calabria Italy Illustrated Map Matted | Etsy | Calabria italy, Calabria, Reggio calabria

When did the Italian peninsula come into being? During the time of Shlomo Hamelech. Shabbos 56b

אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנָּשָׂא שְׁלֹמֹה אֶת בַּת פַּרְעֹה יָרַד גַּבְרִיאֵל וְנָעַץ קָנֶה בַּיָּם וְעָלָה בּוֹ שִׂירְטוֹן, וְעָלָיו נִבְנָה כְּרַךְ גָּדוֹל שֶׁל רוֹמִי.


כרך גדול של רומי – שהוא מיצר לישראל והוא (איטליא) של יון :

Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: When Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, the angel Gabriel descended from heaven and implanted a reed into the sea, and a sandbar grew around it, growing larger each year, and upon it the great city of Rome was built, which became God’s instrument to punish Israel.

 We, as Lubavitchers, are familiar with the reason we use יאנעווער Esrogim which grow in Calabria.

יאנעווער is the Yiddish translation of Genoa, the port from which Esrogim from Calabria were shipped.  

This is based on the Midrash concerning Esrogim  from Italy. ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון.  ויצא הראשון אדמוני. 

יבוא ראשון ויכפר על ראשון. 

See here an excellent discussion of Calabria and Italia Shel Yavan.

5- Speaking of linguistics, we mentioned the heart rending story of Reb Efraim one of the בעלי התוספות. 

We discussed his life and his disputes with Rabeinu Tam who was his Rebbe. 

His most famous dispute is concerning חתיכה נעשה נבילה. See here. And here.


Another dispute concerning יין נסך. See here from the אור זרוע. There is a very sharp rebuke to him from Rabeinu Tam concerning this argument. See Tosfos  Avoda Zoro 34a. 

Why Did God Forbid Garments Mingled of Linen and Wool?

The one concerning linguistics is in regards to canvas. 

In short – the Mishna states that canvas may be sewn together with wool. Meaning that canvas is not flax/linen and not שעטנז. 

Reb Efraim’s opinion was that what we call canvas is not the canvas mentioned in the Mishna, which, according to his opinion, was a different material from a different plant.

The threads and material we call ‘canvas’ are indeed פשתן, flax/linen which are prohibited due to שעטנז. 

He was so hurt that others argued with him that he wrote to Rebeinu Tam attempting to convince him to adopt his opinion.

See here in Tosfos. Zevachim 18b.  

He took this very  much to heart. The  שיטה מקובצת adds adds that ‘Reb Efraim inserted into his letter to Rabeinu Tam strands of his beard that he ripped out in anguish from the fact that people wear canvas with wool’!!! 

We spoke about the story related by the Rebbe concerning the Chofetz Chaim. 

‘If you were truly upset… why didn’t you faint?’ 




See phenomenal story with Rabeinu Efraim and Rabeinu Tam. סדר הדורות 930. סדר 



Shiur Sukkah 12b 11/03/2020


Suka 12b 

Mar-Cheshvan 17, 5781. November 3rd, 2020

Some brief notes. 

1- We continued the topic of the production of flax/linen and how it reflects in הלכה in using flax as סכך. 

See here from the  Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch for the bottom line. 629, 5. 

Handspun Hand Laid Artisanal Authentic Hemp Rope

2- We spoke about hemp, a plant similar to flax, from which fibers were historically extracted. The fibers were used to produce fabric and rope. The hemp’s leaves and flowers was/is used as a nutrient and the for the production of cannabis. See here. The fruit is eaten – Flax seeds. 

2017: View Of Hemp Clothing (Marijuana Plant), Made In Nepal Stock Photo - Alamy

3- The Gemara in Zevachim, 18b, says that the material mentioned in the Chumash – כתונת בד קודש ילבש means flax. 

Why? Because בד means singular, and the only plant that has a single stem growing from one seed is flax. 

Flax plant – the many uses of the flax plant in the wild | Wilderness Arena

Now, the hemp plant also produces a single stem from each seed. That would mean that hemp, or canvas, is considered flax.  Hence, it would be forbidden to be used together with wool. שעטנז.  

Satin / Canvas Fabric | Ramesh Exports

But the Mishna says that ‘canvas’ is not considered flax and can indeed be mixed with wool. 

More on this bl”n next week. 

Road to 270: Choose potential paths to victory

4- It was election day in the USA so we spoke about the phenomenon of the eternal optimism of the Jew. Perhaps due to non-stop oppression and persecution a Jew was a natural to become a believer, clinger and proponent of movements that promised freedom in general, and freedom to practice Yiddishkeit in particular. These new movement’s strongest ‘chassidim’ were Jews being duped that the paradise promised will bring peace and tranquility. 

U.S. 270

Unfortunately, these very movements, in a very short period of time from their formation, turned out to be nothing more than antisemitism redressed in a cloak of ‘social justice’ ‘equality for all’, etc.

5- We presented a copy of the אוצר דינים ומנהגים published first in 1917. 

A Ukranian election poster in Yiddish from 1917 reads “Vote for the United Jewish Socialist Workers’ Party.”


This ספר was printed right after the Russian revolution and the world believed that a new era of freedom was forming in Russia. The Jew, having suffered the open antisemitism of the czars, immediately joined the ranks of the communists. The rest is history. The guns of the communist were turned onto the Jew and of course did not spare the die hard Jewish communists as well. 

A banner of the Poale Zion Jewish Workers Party from around 1947 reads “Workers of All Nations, Unite.”

We as Lubavitcher know first hand what atrocities these liberal minded Jews brought upon their fellow brethren. The cruelty of the Yevsektzia is well documented, but in general Jews know very little about these ‘enlightened’ individuals that caused imprisonment and murder of countless Chassidim and basically obliterated Yidishkeit from the millions of Russian Jews. 

Tragically, early Zionist considered Russia as their ‘second homeland’ and mourned Stalin YMS when he died! See hereHere.

The prolific author, Rabbi Yehuda Dovid Eizenstein, dedicated his book to ‘the New Russia’.  Interesting to note that he was born in Mezritch! 

Between Two Opinions


Here are some pictures from the book:

אוצר דינים ומנהגים – Nov 3 2020 – 9-20 PM (1)

More about Rabbi Yehuda D. Eizenstein in this article

Little did he know at the time that neither freedom and liberty nor equality would be the result of this ‘New Russia’ experiment. 

When the book was reprinted in 1938 this dedication was obviously removed. 

אוצר דינים ומנהגים – Nov 3 2020 – 9-20 PM (1)

P. S. See here an interesting mention in 1930, in the Jewish Daily Bulletin: