For the week ending 15 February 2014 / 15 Adar I 5774

Succah 13 - 19

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Schach that causes one to leave the succah
  • What’s in a name and what qualifies as eizov
  • The status of vegetable stems re ritual impurity and schach
  • How wide a board can be to qualify as schach
  • Roof planks and bed parts converted into a kosher succah
  • A succah in a heap
  • Hanging walls in regard to succah and Shabbat
  • When kosher schach fails to reach the walls
  • How much non-kosher schach or air disqualifies a succah
  • The concepts of a “slanted wall” and of lavud
  • Combinations in regard to schach and ritual impurity
  • When a roof edge can serve as a virtual wall
  • Schach that extends beyond succah walls
  • Problem of the roofless succah
  • Using mats for schach

What’s in a Name?

  • Succah 13a
Mararita d’agma – bitter herb of the lake.

Does it qualify for use on Pesach as the bitter herb required by the Torah despite the fact that it has a different name?

Yes, ruled Rabbi Chisda in the name of the Sage Ravina bar Shela.

His ruling was challenged from a mishna which states that the eizov (hyssop) mentioned by the Torah as an ingredient in achieving ritual purity only qualifies for this purpose if it has no other name (such as Greek”, Roman”, “Desert” or “Bluish”) attached to it. One of the resolutions offered is that of the Sage Rava who points out that whereas in the case of the eizov the surname indicates that it is a different species than the hyssop designated by the Torah, the d’agma surname is merely a geographical description of a place where the Torah designated bitter herb can be found.

Rashi defines mararita as the chazeret which is commonly used on Pesach and which is known to us as chassa or Romaine lettuce. Tosefot rejects this definition on the basis of what the Sage Ravina said to another Sage when he saw him searching for mararita to fulfill the mitzvah of maror (Pesachim 39a). Why search for mararita, he asked, when we know that chazeret is the preferable species for this mitzvah?

The conclusion of Tosefot is that mararita is a particular species of bitter herb that grows in lakes but is not chazeret.

What the Sages Say

“Why are the prayers of the righteous compared to a pitchfork? To teach us that just as a pitchfork turns the grain from place to place, so do the prayers of the righteous turn the attitude of G-d from justice to mercy.”

  • Rabbi Eliezer - Succah 14a

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