Daf Yomi

For the week ending 22 February 2014 / 22 Adar I 5774

Succah 20 - 26

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Big mats, little ones and those of various materials
  • Under a bed in the succah
  • Status of an ohel not made intentionally by man
  • Children raised and transported for a special mission
  • The incidental statement of a Torah Sage
  • When schach is supported by material unfit for schach
  • Thick schach covering and schach in layers
  • Virtual closing of horizontal and vertical gaps
  • Succah on a wagon, a ship, a camel or a tree
  • How serious to consider the probability of sudden death or breakage
  • Writing a get divorce document on a live animal
  • Trees as walls of a succah
  • Exemptions from succah and other mitzvot
  • Eating or sleeping outside the succah
  • Removing tefillin when going to sleep
  • How some Sages related to eating outside succah

Mystery of Those Left Out

  • Succah 25 a-b

One of the most intriguing mysteries dealt with in the Talmud centers around the identify of the Jews who complained that they were left out from participating in the offering of a Korban Pesach in the wilderness.

“They (the Israelites) offered the Pesach in the Wilderness of Sinai… And there were some men who were ritually impure from contact with the dead who could not offer the Pesach.” (Bamidbar 9:56)

Who were these men and how did they become ritually impure?
Three different opinions are put forth.

Rabbi Yossi Hagalili said that these were the men who carried the casket of Yosef out of Egypt for burial in Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Akiva identifies them as Mishael and Eltzafan, the cousins of Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon who died when they offered a “strange fire” on the altar the day the Mishkan Sanctuary was established. They were instructed by Moshe to “come near and carry your relatives out of the Sanctuary” (Vayikra 10:4).

Rabbi Yitzchak rejects both of these explanations. If they were carriers of Yosef’s casket, they had paused for ten months in their travels, from the time they camped at Mount Sinai, so that they certainly had sufficient time to purify themselves. Mishael and Eltzafan, too, became ritually impure on the first day of the Month of Nissan so that they could easily have availed themselves of the purifying ashes of the Red Heifer that were produced the very next day.

Rabbi Yitzchak’s own conclusion was that the mysterious men in question were simply Jews that had conducted a funeral less than a week before the day the Korban Pesach was to be offered and could not complete their seven-day-long purification process in time.

The question remains, however, as to why they were permitted to perform this mitzvah of burying the dead at a time when this would preclude their performing the much more important mitzvah of Korban Pesach a week later. The fact that they did so is offered as a proof that once a person must be involved in one mitzvah, he is exempt from the responsibility of another mitzvah even if it is a more important one.

What the Sages Say

“The unguarded opening to a field beckons to the thief.”
  • The Sage Rava quoting a folk-saying to explain why those guarding an orchard on Succot are not required to leave it unguarded in order to sleep in the succah. - Succah 26a

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