Talmud Tips

For the week ending 8 February 2014 / 8 Adar I 5774

Succah 6 - 12

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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“Act beautifully before G-d in fulfilling mitzvot.”

This statement is how the Rabbis explain the verse from “Shirat Hayam” (the song the Jewish People sang after crossing the Sea at the time of the Exodus from Egypt): “This is my G-d and I will glorify (beautify) Him” (Ex. 15:2). We are commanded by this verse to fulfill mitzvot in a beautiful manner. Some examples are to have a beautiful succcah, a beautiful lulav and beautiful tzitzit (Rashi).

  • Succah 11b

“Dwell in succot for seven days… in order that your generations will know that I placed the Jewish People in succot when I took them out from Egypt…. ” (Lev. 23:43-44)

On our daf we learn in a beraita what these “succot” actually were. Rabbi Eliezer says they were the “ananei kavod” – “the clouds of glory”. Rabbi Akiva, however, states that they were actual succah booths to live in whenever they made camp in the desert.

Rabbi S. R. Hirsch explains that the verses instruct us to dwell in succot nowadays (as throughout history) to remind us how G-d “placed us in succot” and protected us in the desert with clouds of glory or in succah dwellings. The Shulchan Aruch rules like Rabbi Eliezer, and the Mishna Berura adds that while dwelling in the succah we should have in mind that G-d took us out from Egypt and protected us from the desert sun and heat with the miracle of the ananei kavod that surrounded the Jewish People in the desert (Orach Chaim 625:1:1).

  • Succah 11b

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