Beitza 27 - 33
Three Dimensions of Sanctity
Three categories of muktzeh connected with items designated as "mitzvah-items" are discussed in this section of Mesechta Beitza.
- The schach roofing used to cover a succah and the wood serving as its walls may not be used for any other purpose throughout the holiday of Succot. Even if a person made a condition before the holiday began that he should be allowed to use these materials for another purpose, he is still prohibited from doing so.
- The fruits and other items suspended from the schach as decorations are also forbidden to use for any other purpose throughout Succot because they are considered part of the schach and are sanctified for the purpose of the mitzvah. However, if he made a condition before the holiday began he may then make use of them.
- If one set aside a number of etrogim for use on Succot, a separate one for each day, he may consume on the morrow the etrog used today for the mitzvah.
These distinctions raise a couple of questions:
- Why does a condition help in the case of the schach decoration but not in regard to the schach itself?
- Why does the sanctity which attaches itself to the succah with the onset of Succot affect it for all the days of the holiday, whereas the sanctity attached to the etrog evaporates at the end of the day?
The sanctity which attaches itself to the succah at twilight of the first eve of the holiday affects it for the entire day. If he makes a condition, however, that he reserves the right to use the decorations at any point of this twilight period, this restrictive sanctity does not take effect. This is true, however, only in regard to the decorations which can be removed during that twilight period without violating the holiday. In regard to the succah itself, however, it is impossible to make such a condition since he is compelled to relinquish his right to remove the schach or the walls, as this would constitute a violation of the holiday.
(Note: For the condition regarding even the decorations to be valid, one must state that he does not relinquish his right of usage during any of the twilights of the days of Succot. Otherwise the sanctity which prohibits such usage will take effect at the next twilight and last throughout the holiday. The complexity of making such a condition prompted Rema in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 638:2 to note that it is customary not to invoke such condition, except regarding the decorations on the succah walls, which the halacha treats with greater leniency.)
Regarding the difference between succah sanctity extending to all the days of the holiday (even if he leaves his original succah for another one in the middle of the holiday) and the etrog, which may be eaten the next day if he has set aside another etrog for that day, the gemara offers a simple explanation: The mitzvah of etrog can be performed only during the day. The night therefore separates the days from one another and limits the of the etrog to that day. One is obligated to dwell in the succah at night as well as the day. Therefore, regarding succah dwelling, we view the entire holiday as one long day of unbroken sanctity.
Six Sad Cases
Three people, declare our Sages, have such difficult situations that it may be said of them that their life is not really a life.
- A person with no means of his own and looks to the table of another for his subsistence
- A person dominated by ones spouse
- A person whose body is dominated by suffering
The gemara in Mesechta Pesachim (113b) lists three different categories of people whose life is not a life.
- A person who is extravagantly merciful
- One who is overly excitable
- One who is too sensitive
All three of these, explains Rashbam, face situations regularly which allow them no peace because of their overreaction, and therefore their life is not a life. But why, asks Tosefot in Pesachim, are these six types of sufferers separated into two categories of three each, rather than combined into one statement?
The explanation, Tosefot offers, is that the three mentioned in Pesachim are the result of a persons own character traits, while the ones mentioned in Mesechta Beitza are the result of circumstances beyond his control such as poverty, illness or a mismatched marriage.