Succah 34 - 40
- What disqualifies an aravah for use on Succot
- The aravah of the lulav and of the Beit Hamikdash
- Kosher and non-kosher varieties of aravah
- The names that changed
- How many hadassim are needed and must they be beautiful
- What can disqualify an etrog as one of the four species
- Where does it mention etrog in the Torah
- The requirements of edibility and monetary value for a kosher etrog
- The blemished or disfigured etrog and the problems of color and size
- Binding the lulav, taking it and shaking it
- Buying an etrog in the shmitah year
- The tithing of the etrog
- The transfer of shmitah status from one item to another
A Jew Must Pray!
- Succah 38a
While no one has any doubt about this obligation, there is difference of opinion as to whether this is a Torah command or a rabbinic requirement. Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon) in Sefer Hamitzvot, Positive Command #5, writes that prayer is a Torah command. His position is challenged by Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman) from a number of Talmudic sources.
One of these is the gemara which distinguishes between the mitzvot of lulav and prayer. The mishna states that one who did not have a lulav available while traveling must fulfill his obligation upon arrival at home, and if he forgot to do so before eating, he must interrupt his meal to do so. In regard to the mincha service, however, the mishna (Mesechta Shabbat 9b) rules that one is not required to interrupt his meal in order to pray. The Sage Rava reconciles the two rulings by distinguishing between lulav which is a Torah obligation (on the first day of Succot), and prayer which is of rabbinic origin.
While this would seem to be a powerful challenge to the Rambam’s position, it is the Ramban himself who provides a resolution. He cites the Rambam’s words in his Laws of Prayer (1:1) that although prayer is commanded by the Torah, the time, frequency and text of the prayers are only of rabbinic origin. Rava’s statement regarding the rabbinic nature of prayer referred to the need to pray three times a day, which is of rabbinic origin.
What the Sages Say
“The lulav and the other species must also be shaken in all four directions towards the One to whom all four directions belong and up and down to the One to whom heaven and earth belong.”
- The Sage Rava in extension of Rabbi Yochanan - Succah 38a