Talmud Tips

For the week ending 1 March 2014 / 29 Adar I 5774

Succah 27 - 33

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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“Four transgressions cause wealthy people to lose their wealth: delay in paying salaries, not paying wages, placing the burdens on others, and for being arrogant — and arrogance is ‘equal’ to all the other transgressions. But regarding the humble it is written, ‘The humble will inherit the world with great peace’.”

The Sage Rav teaches this on our daf at the conclusion the second chapter of our mesechta. What is meant by arrogance being equal (lit. “kneged”) to all the others? The Maharsha explains that the trait of arrogance leads to all of the other wrongdoings, and causes a person to try to keep and grow his wealth even at the expense of hurting others. However, one who is humble will not transgress in order to preserve what he has — and he will end up on top materially as well as spiritually, as the verse concludes.

  • Succah 29b

“Because it’s a mitzvah that comes through transgression.”

Rabbi Yochanan states this as the reason our mishna disqualifies a stolen lulav for the mitzvah. He bases this rule on a verse in the Book of the Prophet Malachi.

The Rishonim ask why a different reason is taught above in our mesechta as reason to disqualify a stolen succah and stolen tzitzit (9a and 27a). Various answers are offered, one of which is that the problem of “a mitzvah that comes with transgression” is not learned from a verse in the Torah. Rather, it is based on a verse in the Prophets. Therefore, it is not a reason to disqualify a stolen item for mitzvah use according to Torah law, and thus a Torah verse is cited by the gemara above to exlude a stolen succah and tzitzit (Tosefot 9a, Ramban).

  • Succah 30a

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