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Shabbat Parashat Haazinu| 5766
Ask the Rabbi
Question: Which of the problems with the arba’at haminim (“lulav and etrog”= 4 min) are problems after the first day and which are not?
Answer: The gemara (Sukka 29b)comments that the mishna implies that each p’sul (disqualification) it lists for a lulav applies even on “the second day of Yom Tov.” Itsays that a dry lulav is a problem on the second day because it lacks hadar (Rashi- doing the mitzva in a sufficiently aesthetic way). But, asks the gemara, why is a stolen lulav, pasul, since the Torah writes the requirement that the 4 min be owned by the one performing the mitzva only in regard to the first day? It responds that stolen 4 min are pasul because of mitzva haba’ah b’aveira (a mitzva that was facilitated by the violation of a transgression). The apparent conclusion from this gemara is that lack of hadar is a problem throughout Sukkot, whereas matters of ownership are not when it does not involve an aveira such as stealing.
A later gemara tries to reconcile one Amora’s ruling with another’s action. According to one account, Rav said that an etrog that mice nibbled on is pasul. Yet, R. Chanina (believe it or not) bit from an etrog and then used it for 4 min, which should be a problem of an etrog that is missing a piece (chaser). The gemara explains that R. Chanina did so on the second day of Sukkot. Regarding the mice, there are two contrary suggestions. One is that Rav said it was pasul because it is particularly unseemly and unfit even on the second day. The other is that the nibbled etrog is sufficiently hadar and is fit on the second day. From this gemara we see that chaser does not make 4 min unfit beyond the first day of Sukkot.
The Rambam (Lulav 8:9) seems to posit that the latter gemara supercedes the former and states broadly that any p’sul that is based on a blemish disqualifies 4 min only on the first day. The Magid Mishneh (ad loc.) comments that problems related to the identification of the species (eg. grafted etrog, hadas without tripled leaves) or its size item remain a problem. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 649:5), whose rulings are accepted by the Sephardic community, accepts the Rambam’s opinion.
The Rosh (Sukka 3:3) incorporates both gemarot and says that the only differences between the first day of Sukkot and the rest are borrowed 4 min and chaser.Lack of hadar always renders 4 min, pasul. He explains that the rabbis extended the p’sul ofmore central flaws of the species’ status even to the days when the mitzva of 4 min is only rabbinic. (Why hadar, which the Torah mentions only in reference to etrog,is more central than chaser for allspecies is a good question. However, it is a fact, according to this approach.) The Rama (649:5), who reflects Ashkenazic practice, accepts the Rosh’s opinion and disqualifies dry or blighted 4 min. The Rama says that in the famous case where the pitam (the etrog’s stem) falls off, itis an example of chaser. However, the Mishna Berura (ad loc.:35) cites an opinion that a removed pitam is a matter of hadar and is a p’sul throughout Sukkot. He suggests being stringent except where another etrog is not available. Then one can rely on the combination of the opinions of the Rambam, who permits even a non-hadar,and the Rama, who says it a fallen pitam is only a problem of chaser.
Another interesting machloket is the status of the second day of Sukkot, outside Israel. On one hand, the mitzva of 4 min is only rabbinic that day. On the other hand, in most ways we treat the second day as if it might be the first day (most classically, by treating it like Yom Tov). Once again, the Rambam is lenient regarding the p’sulim that do not apply on the rest of Sukkot and the Rosh gives it all of the first day’s requirements. The Shulchan Aruch and Rama treat it as a doubt (ibid.) and say that if that is all one has, he should take those 4 min without a beracha.
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