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Sukah 34


QUESTION: The Gemara records a number of Beraisos regarding Aravos. The first Beraisa says that one must use Aravos that grow next to a river (implying that Aravos from anywhere else may not be used). The Gemara then cites another Beraisa which says that one may use Aravos from an irrigated field or from the mountains (where there are no rivers). How do we reconcile the two Beraisos?


(a) RASHI (33b, DH Arvei Nachal) explains that l'Chatchilah a person should use an Aravah which grows next to a river, and b'Di'eved one may use any Aravah. The Torah is only teaching which Aravah is preferable l'Chatchilah.

The TUR (end of OC 647) writes that this is the opinion of most Rishonim, and l'Chatchilah a person should use an Aravah that grew next to a river or stream.

(b) TOSFOS (DH v'Rabanan) points out that the second Beraisa permits using Aravos from the mountains, only because of the plural form of the word "Arvei" in the verse. However, we rule like Rebbi Yishmael who uses the word "Arvei" to teach something else -- the number of Aravos that must be used (that is, two). Since the verse is being used to teach the number of Aravos, we have no source to permit Aravos from the mountains. Therefore, says Tosfos, Aravos that do not grow next to a river or stream should be Pasul, l'Halachah, even b'Di'eved.

(c) The ROSH and RITVA explain that the first Beraisa does not mean to say that one must use only Aravos that grow next to a river. Rather, it means that the *species* that one should use is the species of Aravos that normally grows next to rivers. This part of the Beraisa is saying the same thing as the second half of the Beraisa ("Davar Acher") which states that a person should use an Aravah that has long leaves that resemble a river, and not a Tzaftzefah that has round leaves. The Beraisa is describing the species of Aravah which must be used, and not the location from which it must come. The Rosh says that this is consistent with common practice, as we see that people are not stringent to use only Aravos that grow next to a river.

This appears to be the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Sukah 7:3) who does not mention that the Aravos must grow next to a river, but says only that it must be the *type* that grows near a river.

HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH (647:3) rules that it is not necessary to search for an Aravah that grows near a river.


OPINIONS: The Mishnah states how many of each of the Arba'as ha'Minim must be used for the Mitzvah. The Halachah follows Rebbi Yishmael who says that we must use one Lulav, one Esrog, two Aravos, and three Hadasim.

Is it permissible to use more than the prescribed number of each of each Min (e.g. ten Hadasim)?

(a) Many Rishonim rule that one is allowed to add as many of each Min as one wants. They reason as follows. First, the Gemara earlier (31a) explains that according to the Rabanan, who maintain that the Lulav does not have to be bound with the other Minim ("Lulav Ein Tzarich Eged"), the Minim all stand alone, and by adding an extra one of any Min, it is considered to be standing alone and there is no problem of "Bal Tosif."

Even though a Beraisa there says that one is not allowed to add to the Arba'as ha'Minim, and the Beraisa seems to be according to the Rabanan, that Beraisa is referring to non-Minim, and the Isur of adding such an item to the Arba'as ha'Minim is mid'Rabanan. That Isur d'Rabanan does not apply to adding an extra one of the Arba'as ha'Minim themselves. The Isur d'Rabanan was enacted in order to prevent one from thinking that the extra Min that one added (such as a eucalyptus branch) is one of the Arba'as ha'Minim required by the Torah. Obviously, this Gezeirah does not apply when one adds a Min which *is* one of the Arba'as ha'Minim. (RITVA 31b)

Since we rule that a Lulav does not need to be bound with the other Minim, it should be permitted to add more of the Arba'as ha'Minim. (According to the opinion that a Lulav must be bound with the other Minim, adding another type of Min is Asur mid'Oraisa, and adding another one of the Arba'as ha'Minim is Asur mid'Rabanan. The only reason one may use a Lulav leaf to tie together the Lulav, Aravos, and Hadasim is because it is not standing upright like a Lulav, and thus there is no "Bal Tosif.")

Second, even if the reason for the Isur d'Rabanan to add a different type of Min is because of "Bal Tosif" (that is, it is an Isur of "Bal Tosif" mid'Rabanan, and not because of the fear that one will mistakenly think that this Min is one of the four which the Torah requires), it is still permitted to add one of the same Minim because some Rishonim rule that "Bal Tosif" does not apply when one performs a single Mitzvah twice, but only when one adds a different item (which is not an item of the Mitzvah at all) to the Mitzvah. (TOSFOS)

A third reason the Rishonim permit adding extras of the Arba'as ha'Minim is because the Torah does not specify the number of Esrogim, Lulavim, Aravos, and Hadasim that one must use. Rather, the Torah merely gives the minimum number that one must use (that is, one must use at least one Esrog, one Lulav, two Aravos, and three Hadasim). One may use more, if he wants, for the Mitzvah. Therefore, there is no problem of "Bal Tosif" if one adds more than the prescribed number. (RITVA 31b)

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Lulav 8:7) rules that one may add only to the number of Hadasim, because Hadasim add to the beauty of the Lulav. When one adds to a Mitzvah in order to beautify it, there is no problem of "Bal Tosif." This is also the opinion of the RASHBA (Teshuvos 1:75). However, there are different Girsa'os in the Rambam. According to some texts (see the RAN here) the Rambam says that an Aravah may also be added because it, too, adds to the beauty of the Mitzvah.

(c) The SHIBOLEI HA'LEKET (#358) rules that one may add to the Hadas and Aravah but not to the Lulav and Esrog. When the Torah mentions the Hadas and Aravah, it mentions them in the plural, while it only mentions the Esrog and Lulav in the singular form (Gemara, 32a and 35a). This teaches that using more than one Esrog or more than one Lulav is not permitted. Therefore, a person may not add to those Minim.

(d) According to all of the above-cited opinions, it is permissible to add more Hadasim to the Lulav. However, the ROSH cites some GE'ONIM who permit adding Hadasim only if they are Meshulashim. A Hadas which is not Meshulash (such as a "Hadas Shoteh") is a different species and therefore one may not add it to the Hadasim.

The RITVA (31a) gives another reason why one should not add a "Hadas Shoteh." As the Ritva explains (see (a) above), the reason one may not add a non-Min to the Arba'as ha'Minim is because one might think that the non-Min is the Min required by the Torah for the Mitzvah. Therefore, one may not add a "Hadas Shoteh" which may not be used for the Mitzvah, lest one think that it may be used for the Mitzvah.

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 651:15) first cites the opinion of the Shibolei ha'Leket (d) and the Rambam (according to the alternate Girsa), who permit adding to the number of Hadasim and Aravos, but not adding a Lulav or Esrog. The Shulchan Aruch then cites the opinion of the Ge'onim (c) who do not permit adding a "Hadas Shoteh."

The Shulchan Aruch concludes that those who are scrupulous in their observance of the Mitzvos do not add to any Minim, even the Hadasim and Aravos. The MISHNAH BERURAH (651:60) adds that one who wishes to add to the Minim should have in mind specifically that he is adding for the sake of beautifying the Mitzvah.

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