For the week ending 15 March 2014 / 13 Adar II 5774

Succah 41 - 47

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Lulav- taking in time of Beit Hamikdash and afterwards
  • When the new grain – chadash – may be consumed
  • Lulav-taking and aravah on Shabbat
  • The Jerusalem Jews who held on to the lulav
  • Training the child in lulav-taking and other mitzvot
  • Time frame for lulav, aravah and other mitzvot of Succot
  • The Torah source for aravah in Beit amikHHamikdash and the rabbinical source for outside of it and for today
  • The requirements for the aravah of the Beit Hamikdash
  • Procedure of aravah-taking in the Beit Hamiddash
  • The concept of issru chag and the source for 36 tzadikim
  • The blessings said upon making and using lulav and succah
  • The blessing on Chanukah lights and on a group of mitzvot
  • The etrogim of the children
  • Status of the etrog and the succah when they are no longer needed
  • Blessing of shecheyanu on Shmini Atzeret everywhere
  • Staying in Yerushalayim overnight after offering sacrifice
  • Waving of the bikkurim

The Magic Cure

  • Succah 46b

Once upon a time there was a Jew who was so generous in his charitable giving that he even sold his home and possessions in order to give tzedaka. One Hoshana Rabba – the seventh day of Succot and the last one when the lulav and etrog are taken – his wife gave him ten coins to purchase something for the family. On his way to the market he met some tzedaka trustees who implored him to take part in the fund they had established to purchase some wedding needs for an orphan bride. He gave them all his money but was afraid to face his wife after giving away their last resource.

What did he do? He went to the synagogue where the children had discarded the etrogim they had used throughout the Festival and collected these exotic fruits into a sack. He then set out with these etrogim on a sea journey to the capital where the king’s palace was located. Just at that time the king was suffering from severe abdominal pains and he had a dream that his only cure would be the eating of etrogim which Jews had used for the fulfillment of their mitzvah. A thorough search for such etrogim yielded no results until the king’s agents came upon our hero and his sack. When they examined its contents they found what they were looking for so intently.

The etrogim did indeed heal the king, and the Jew who had no idea what he could do for funds to please his wife suddenly found himself generously rewarded.

This incident in Midrash Rabbah (Vayikra 37:2) is cited by Rashi to explain what is meant in the mishna (45a) about the etrogim of children on Hoshana Rabba being eaten. One approach is that as soon as they finished their use of the four species they put away their lulavim and ate their etrogim. Rashi rejects this approach on the basis of the above-mentioned midrash and explains that it was the adults who took the etrogim from the children, a custom which was practiced as a form of celebration.

What the Sages Say

“One should never promise a child a gift and fail to keep his promise, for he thus teaches him to be dishonest.”

  • Rabbi Zeira - Succah 46b

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