1

[These are the rules governing] the four species: the lulav, the myrtle, the willow, and the etrog. If one of them was:

a) dried out,

b) taken by force or stolen, even after [the owner had] despaired of its recovery,

c) came from an ashera that has been worshiped, even though the worship of the ashera has already been nullified,

d) or it came from an apostate city

it is not acceptable.

If one of them belonged to an idolater: at the outset, it should not be taken. If it was taken, the person has fulfilled his obligation.

If [one of the species] was wilting, but had not dried out entirely, it is kosher. In extreme situations or in a time of danger, a dried out lulav is kosher. However, [this does not apply] to the other species.

א

ארבעת מינין האלו שהן לולב והדס וערבה ואתרוג שהיה אחד מהן יבש או גזול או גנוב אפילו לאחר יאוש או שיהיה מאשרה הנעבדת אף על פי שבטלו האשרה מלעבדה. או שהיה של עיר הנדחת הרי זה פסול. היה אחד מהן של עבודת כוכבים לא יטול לכתחלה ואם נטל יצא. היה כמוש ולא גמר ליבש כשר. ובשעת הדחק או בשעת הסכנה לולב היבש כשר אבל לא שאר המינין:

[These are the rules governing] the four species: the lulav, the myrtle, the willow, and the etrog. If one of them was: a) dried out - The etrog is described as פרי עץ הדר (the fruit of the beautiful tree). Sukkah 31a explains that an analogy is established among the various species, and all of them must be "beautiful." Fruit or branches that are dried out do not fit the latter description.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 645:5, 646:7) defines "drying out" as losing all its green and fading to a whitish color. The Ramah mentions an even more lenient opinion.

b) taken by force - גזל - armed robbery or the like

or stolen - גנבה - petty theft and the like. Though in other areas there are differences between these two categories of theft, in this context the same laws apply.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:1), the Rambam explains that any of the species which are stolen may not be used for the mitzvah, because a sin may not serve as the medium with which a mitzvah will be performed (מצוה הבאה בעבירה). (See also Hilchot Chametz U'matzah 6:7; Hilchot Issurei Mizbe'ach 5:7, 5:9.)

Sukkah 29b-30a mentions this reason, but also a second explanation: because, as stated in Halachah 10, on the first day of the festival a person must own the four species he uses for the mitzvah. (See the commentary on Halachah 9 for a further discussion of this matter.)

even after [the owner had] despaired of its recovery - According to the first reason, the owner's despair over the recovery of his article has no effect on the thief's potential to use it for a mitzvah. Even according to the second opinion, the despair over recovering the article is not sufficient to allow the thief to use it, as is obvious from Hilchot Gezeilah 2:1, where the Rambam writes:

A stolen article whose form has not changed...even though its owner has despaired of its recovery...must be returned to its owner.

Thus, the article is not considered to belong to the thief, and he may not use it to fulfill the mitzvah. However, if the thief performed a deed which changed the appearance of the lulav or any of the other species, he is considered to have acquired it and may fulfill the mitzvah with it. Nevertheless, he should not recite a blessing before performing the mitzvah with such a lulav (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 649:1).

c) came from an ashera - a tree which is worshiped as a deity. It is also forbidden to be used for the mitzvah, on the basis of the principle that a sin may not serve as the medium with which a mitzvah will be performed (מצוה הבאה בעבירה) (Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, ibid.).

that has been worshiped, even though the worship of the ashera has already been nullified - The commentaries on Sukkah 31b explain that this refers to an ashera that entered a Jew's possession before it was nullified, or an ashera that was worshiped by a Jew. In these instances, the nullification of the ashera will not cause it to be permitted for use; rather, it must be totally destroyed. Hence, it is considered to have no size at all, and, therefore, may not be used for the mitzvah (Maggid Mishneh). (See also the Commentary on Chapter 1, Halachah 3.)

Alternatively, since the ashera itself was worshiped, it may no longer be used for a mitzvah. A parallel can be found in Hilchot Tzitzit 1:11, which relates that the wool of a sheep that was worshiped may not be used for tzitzit, although that wool does not become prohibited.

d) or it came from an apostate city - All the property of an apostate city must be destroyed. Therefore, any of the four species that come from such a city is considered to have no size at all, and, thus, is unacceptable for use in the mitzvah. (See also the commentary on Chapter 1, Halachah 3.)

it is not acceptable.

If one of them belonged to an idolater - but was not worshiped itself (Rabbenu Manoach); i.e., it grew in a garden of the temple of an idol. However, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 649:3) explains that it applies even when the tree itself was worshiped.

at the outset, it should not be taken. - Because of its connection with idol worship, such an article is considered to be disgusting, and it is improper to fulfill the mitzvah with it (Rabbenu Manoach). However...

If it was taken, the person has fulfilled his obligation - provided the tree had belonged to a gentile and the latter had nullified its connection with idol worship before it came into the Jew's possession. Alternatively, on any day of the festival but the first, one may take it even before its connection with idol worship was nullified. Since the possibility exists that it can be nullified, it is not considered to be a nonexistent entity. (See also the commentary on Chapter 1, Halachah 3.)

If [one of the species] was wilting, but had not dried out entirely, it is kosher. - Sukkah 31a explains that as long as the species have some moisture left to them, they are not disqualified for use.

In extreme situations or in a time of danger, a dried out lulav is kosher. - Sukkah 32b relates that the inhabitants of the large cities would bequeath their lulavim to their descendants as part of their estate. Obviously, the lulavim would have dried out during this time.

However, [this does not apply] to the other species. - for only the lulav was mentioned in that passage.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that even a dried out lulav is not acceptable. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 645:5) follows the Ra'avad's view.

2

An etrog of orlah, of impure terumah, and of tevel is unacceptable. [An etrog] of d'mai is permitted, for it is possible for a person to declare all of his property as ownerless. Thus, he will be a poor man who is permitted to eat d'mai.

An etrog of pure terumah and of ma'aser sheni in Jerusalem should not be taken, lest one cause it to become susceptible to contracting ritual impurity. However, if it was taken, it is kosher.

ב

אתרוג של ערלה ושל תרומה טמאה ושל טבל פסול. של דמאי כשר שאפשר שיפקיר נכסיו ויהיה עני שמותר לו לאכול דמאי. אתרוג של תרומה טהורה ושל מעשר שני בירושלים לא יטול שמא יכשירו לטומאה. ואם נטל כשר:

An etrog - These laws apply only to an etrog, because the agricultural prohibitions mentioned in this halachah apply only to fruit and not to mere branches (Rabbenu Manoach).

of orlah - For the first three years of a tree's growth, one is forbidden to benefit from its produce (Leviticus 19:23).

The Torah's prohibition against orlah applies only in Eretz Yisrael. In the Diaspora, there is also a prohibition against orlah, which was received as a halachah from Moses from Mount Sinai. However, much greater leniency is involved, and if there is a doubt whether a fruit is orlah or not, it may be eaten (Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 10:10). The same rules apply regarding its use for this mitzvah.

of impure terumah - Terumah refers to the portion of produce which must be separated and given to a priest (Numbers 18:12). If the terumah becomes ritually impure, it is no longer permitted to be eaten and must be destroyed (Hilchot Terumah 12:1).

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:8), the Rambam writes that etrogim of orlah and impure terumah are not acceptable because "they must be destroyed by burning. Therefore, they are unacceptable, because God requires 'a fruit,' and these are not fit to be eaten at all."

and of tevel - produce from Eretz Yisrael from which the agricultural requirements - Terumah, Ma'aser Rishon (the first tithe), and Ma'aser Sheni (the second tithe) - have not been separated. Tevel is also unfit to be eaten, and thus, it may not be used for the mitzvah.

is unacceptable.

[An etrog] of d'mai - Produce concerning which there is doubt whether or not the tithes have been separated (Hilchot Ma'aser, Chapter 9).

is permitted, for it is possible for a person to declare all of his property as ownerless. - In his Commentary on the Mishnah (ibid.), the Rambam states "he can consecrate all his property to the Temple." In practice, there is no difference between the two.

Thus, he will be a poor man who is permitted to eat d'mai. - See Hilchot Ma'aser 10:11. Since there is a possibility of his being allowed to eat the etrog, he may use it for the mitzvah (Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, ibid.).

An etrog of pure terumah and of ma'aser sheni in Jerusalem - In the first, second, fourth, and fifth years of the seven-year agricultural cycle, the second tithe had to be taken to Jerusalem and eaten there in a state of ritual purity (Deuteronomy 14:22-27).

The Rambam maintains that one can use an etrog of ma'aser sheni for the mitzvah only while in Jerusalem, since that is the only place that it is permitted to be eaten (Commentary on the Mishnah, ibid.). However, Rabbenu Nissim and others differ and allow such an etrog to be used for the mitzvah in other places as well. They maintain that though we are not allowed to benefit from ma'aser sheni outside Jerusalem, the fulfillment of mitzvot is not an act of personal benefit.

should not be taken, lest one cause it to become susceptible to contracting ritual impurity - which was undesirable. From Leviticus 11:34, our Sages learned that produce does not become subject to contracting ritual impurity until it comes into contact with water. Since the lulav was generally placed in water (see Chapter 7, Halachah 25), when it was taken together with the etrog it would probably make the etrog wet, and thus cause it to become subject to contracting ritual impurity.

However, if it was taken, it is kosher. - for there is no inherent difficulty with such an etrog.

3

A lulav whose tip becomes cut off is unacceptable. Should it become split to the extent that the two sides of the split become severed and appear to be two, it is unacceptable.

If it is bent forward so that its shidrah appears like a hunchback, it is unacceptable. If it is bent backwards, it is kosher, since that is its natural pattern of growth. If it is bent toward either side, it is unacceptable.

If its leaves have separated one from the other, but they have not begun to hang downward like the top of a date palm, it is kosher. However, if its leaves have burst open and they hang down from the shidrah as does the top of the date palm, it is unacceptable.

ג

לולב שנקטם ראשו פסול. נסדק אם נתרחקו שני סדקיו זה מזה עד שיראו כשנים פסול. היה עקום לפניו שהרי שדרו כגב בעל חטוטרת פסול. היה עקום לאחוריו כשר שזו היא ברייתו. נעקם לאחד מצדדיו פסול. נפרדו עליו זה מעל זה ולא נדלדלו כעלי החריות כשר. נפרצו עליו והוא שידלדלו משדרו של לולב כעלי החריות פסול:

A lulav whose tip - According to the Maggid Mishneh and Rabbenu Manoach, this refers to the center leaf that extends outward from the shidrah, and not the shidrah itself. Rabbenu Asher and the Ra'avad explain that this refers to the majority of the lulav's leaves, and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 645:6) quotes their opinion. However, the Ramah quotes the Maggid Mishneh's statements.

becomes cut off is unacceptable. - because such a lulav is not "beautiful" (הדר: Jerusalem Talmud, Sukkah 3:1). All the other factors mentioned in this halachah disqualify a lulav for the same reason.

Should it become split to the extent that the two sides of the split become severed and appear to be two, it is unacceptable. - Sukkah 31b, 32a states: A lulav which is split is kosher; [but] if it is like a fork, it is not. The commentaries explain that the Talmud refers to a shape like a tuning fork, where the two ends are distant from each other. The commentaries explain that such a separation can disqualify a lulav even if the majority of leaves are not split in this manner, and hence, the principles mentioned in the following halachah would not apply.

If it is bent forward - i.e., the shidrah would be bent toward a person facing it

so that its shidrah appears like a hunchback, it is unacceptable - Sukkah (ibid.) states: If it is bent like a scythe, it is unacceptable. The Kessef Mishneh emphasizes that the bend must be severe (as described by the examples given by the Talmud and the Rambam). However, a slight curve will not disqualify a lulav.

If it is bent backwards - the shidrah bending away from a person facing it

it is kosher, since that is its natural pattern of growth - and this can be considered as a "beautiful" lulav (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 645:19). The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 645:9) differentiates between when the shidrah bends gradually and when it is bent over to the extent that its tip points downward. In the latter case, even if it is bent backwards, the lulav is unacceptable.

If it is bent toward either side, it is unacceptable. - Sukkah (ibid.) questions whether such a lulav is kosher or not and leaves the matter unresolved. Hence, we follow the more stringent view (Rav Yitzchak Alfasi).

If its leaves have separated one from the other, but they have not begun to hang downward like the top of a date palm - i.e., the leaves are still firm and pointed upward (Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, Sukkah 3:1).

it is kosher. - However, the most proper way of performing the mitzvah is to use a lulav whose leaves are not separated at all (Maggid Mishneh).

However, if its leaves have burst open and they hang down from the shidrah as does the top of the date palm, it is unacceptable - even if they are bound together against the lulav. This applies only if the majority of the lulav's leaves have opened up in this fashion (Ramah, Orach Chayim 645:2).

4

The natural pattern of growth of the leaves of the lulav is that two grow in pairs, connected at their back. The back of each pair of connected leaves is called the tiyomet. If the tiyomet is split, it unacceptable. Should a lulav's leaves grow individually from the beginning of its formation without having a tiyomet, it is unacceptable.

When a lulav's leaves do not grow on top of the other like all lulavim, but rather one below the other, [the following rules apply:] If the top [of the lower leaf] reaches the base of the one above it so that the entire shidrah of the lulav is covered with leaves, it is kosher. If the top [of the lower leaf] does not reach the base of the one above it, it is unacceptable.

ד

בריית עלין של לולב כך היא. כשהם גדלין גדלין שנים שנים ודבוקין מגבן וגב כל שני עלין הדבוקין הוא הנקרא תיומת נחלקה התיומת פסול. היו עליו אחת אחת מתחלת ברייתו ולא היה להם תיומת פסול. לא היו עליו זה על גב זה כדרך כל הלולבין אלא זה תחת זה אם ראש זה מגיע לעיקר שלמעלה ממנו עד שנמצא כל שדרו של לולב מכוסה בעלין כשר. ואם אין ראשו של זה מגיע לצד עיקרו של זה פסול:

The natural pattern of growth of the leaves of the lulav is that two grow in pairs, connected at their back. The back of each pair of connected leaves is called the tiyomet. If the tiyomet is split, it is unacceptable. - The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam maintains that the lulav is not acceptable only if the majority of the leaves are split. However, others (Rashi, Tosafot) explain that this law refers to the middle leaf alone. If the majority of that leaf is split, the lulav is unacceptable. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 645:3) quotes the Rambam's opinion, while the Ramah favors that of Rashi and Tosafot.

Should a lulav's leaves grow individually from the beginning of its formation without having a tiyomet, it is unacceptable. - i.e., there is no difference if the lulav's lack of a tiyomet is a natural phenomenon or is brought about through human activity; in all cases it is unacceptable.

When a lulav's leaves do not grow on top of the other like all lulavim, but rather, one below the other, [the following rules apply:] If the top [of the lower leaf] reaches the base of the one above it so that the entire shidrah of the lulav is covered with leaves, it is kosher. - This is the tzinei har habarzel mentioned in the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:1). Sukkah 32b relates that such lulavim grow at the entrance to Gehinnom.

5

A myrtle branch whose top is cut off is acceptable. Even though most of its leaves have fallen off, it is kosher, provided three leaves remain in one row.

When there are more berries than leaves, [the following rules apply:] If they are green, it is kosher. If they are red or black, it is not acceptable. If one reduced their number, it is acceptable.

We may not reduce their number on the holiday itself, because [by doing so, one] makes [the myrtle] fit for use. If one transgressed and removed them or removed them one by one to eat them, it is kosher.

ה

הדס שנקטם ראשו כשר. נשרו רוב עליו אם נשתיירו שלשה עלין בקן אחד כשר. היו ענביו מרובות מעליו אם ירוקות כשר ואם אדומות או שחורות פסול ואם מעטן כשר. ואין ממעטין אותן ביום טוב לפי שהוא כמתקן. עבר וליקטן או שליקטן אחד אחד לאכילה הרי זה כשר:

A myrtle branch whose top is cut off is acceptable. - Since the myrtle branch is covered by its leaves, the fact that its top is cut off is not noticeable (Rabbenu Manoach).

Though the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:2) states that such a myrtle is unacceptable, the Talmud (Sukkah 34b) states that the halachah follows Rabbi Tarfon, whose opinion is quoted by the Rambam in this halachah.

In his commentary on this halachah, the Ra'avad states:

For a number of years, the spirit of prophecy has been present in our chamber of study, and we have determined that [such a myrtle] is not acceptable.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 646:10) quotes the Rambam's opinion. However, the Ramah writes that it is proper to adhere to the Ra'avad's view if possible. However, he quotes Rabbenu Nissim, who maintains that the top of a myrtle is only considered to be "cut off" when the top of the branch is broken. The leaves' falling off is not considered of significance.

Even though most of its leaves have fallen off, it is kosher, provided three leaves remain in one row. - The Maggid Mishneh explains that this refers to an Egyptian myrtle, which has seven leaves in each row. Rabbenu Manoach explains that this clause refers to the entire myrtle branch, stating that even though most of its leaves have fallen off, as long as it has one full row of leaves covering the branch (at its top, as in Chapter 7, Halachah 8), it is kosher.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 646:4) quotes the Maggid Mishneh's statements as halachah. In contrast, Rabbenu Manoach's interpretation is not accepted. Halachah 5 (ibid.) states that the majority of the length of the myrtle branch must be covered with leaves. However, if that condition is met, the myrtle is kosher even if the leaves at its top have fallen off.

When there are more berries than leaves, [the following rules apply:] If they are green, it is kosher - for their color is the same as the leaves of the myrtle.

If they are red or black - since the berries are a different color from that of the leaves...

it is not acceptable - since this is not considered to be "beautiful" (Rashi, Sukkah 33b).

If one reduced their number - so that there would be more leaves than berries,

it is acceptable.

We may not reduce their number - i.e., the number of black or red berries

on the holiday itself - i.e., on the first day of the festival, when the restrictions against work apply

because [by doing so, one] makes [the myrtle] fit for use - and this may not be done on a holiday. (See Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 4:8.) However...

If one transgressed and removed them or removed them one by one to eat them - which is permitted. Sukkah 33b states that permission is granted, provided only that one has another myrtle to use for the mitzvah. Otherwise, it is forbidden to eat the berries, because through one's activity one will definitely make the myrtle fit for use. Hence, even though one's act was motivated by another intention as well, it is forbidden. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 646:13.)

The Maggid Mishneh quotes a slightly different version of the text, substituting "or if they were removed by another person" for the phrase "removed them one by one." Authentic Yemenite manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah follow the Maggid Mishneh's text.

it is kosher - despite the fact that it was made fit for use on the holiday.

6

A willow branch whose top is cut off is kosher. If its leaves have burst open, it is not acceptable.

ו

ערבה שנקטם ראשה כשרה. נפרצו עליה פסולה:

A willow branch whose top is cut off is kosher. - The Rambam maintains that the laws pertaining to the willow parallel those governing a myrtle. However, even many of the Sages who accept the Rambam's opinion regarding the myrtle disagree with regard to the willow. They explain that such a myrtle is acceptable because its leaves cover the branch's severed top. This concept does not apply with regard to a willow. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 647:2) also states that such a willow is unacceptable.

If its leaves have burst open - i.e., they are hanging down limply from the branch (Maggid Mishneh)

it is not acceptable - for this is not beautiful. Rabbenu Aharon Halevi interprets the Hebrew נפרצו as "split." The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 647:6 quotes both of these opinions as halachah.

7

If an etrog is perforated from side to side - no matter how small the hole is - it is not acceptable. When [the hole] does not go from side to side, if it is the size of an isar or more, [the etrog] is not acceptable. If [a hole was made in an etrog which caused] even the slightest amount [of the etrog] to be missing, [the etrog] is not acceptable.

If its pitam - i.e., the small protrusion from which its flower grows - was removed, it is not acceptable. [Similarly,] if the stem from which it hangs from the tree is removed from the etrog itself and a hole is left, it is not acceptable.

If it becomes covered with bumps in two or three places, it is not acceptable. Even if it is covered with bumps in only one place, if that place covers the majority of the etrog's surface area, it is not acceptable. [Similarly,] if a bump grows on even the slightest portion of the pitam, it is not acceptable.

If its peel is removed without causing [the etrog] to lose any substance and it remains greenish yellow as in its natural state, [the following rules apply:] If the peel was entirely removed, it is not acceptable. If even the slightest portion of the original peel remains, it is kosher.

ז

אתרוג שניקב נקב מפולש כל שהוא פסול. ושאינו מפולש אם היה כאיסר או יתר פסול. חסר כל שהוא פסול. ניטל דדו והוא הראש הקטן ששושנתו בו פסול. ניטל העץ שהוא תלוי בו באילן מעיקר האתרוג ונשאר מקומו גומא פסול. עלתה חזזית עליו אם בשנים ושלשה מקומות פסול. ואם במקום אחד אם עלתה על רובו פסול. ואם על דדו ואפילו כל שהוא פסול. נקלף הקרום החיצונה שלו שאינו מחסרו אלא נשאר ירוק כמות שהיא ברייתו אם נקלף כולו פסול ואם נשאר ממנו כל שהוא כשר:

If an etrog is perforated - even though none of the etrog's substance is missing

from side to side - This is the literal translation of the term מפולש. Nevertheless, Rabbenu Asher interprets that term differently, explaining that the etrog is unacceptable if the hole reaches the etrog's seed chamber. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 648:3) quotes both opinions. Regarding halachah l'ma'aseh, the authorities recommend heeding Rabbenu Asher's opinion. However, they state that when it is difficult to find a kosher etrog, the Rambam's opinion may be relied upon.

no matter how small the hole is - i.e., even if it was perforated with a thin needle

it is not acceptable. - This and the other factors mentioned in this halachah disqualify an etrog for use because it is not "beautiful."

The Ra'avad objects to this statement and maintains that some of the etrog's substance must also be lacking for it to be deemed unacceptable. The difference between these two opinions depends on a difference in the text of the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:6). The Rambam's text reads:

If [an etrog] was perforated, peeled, cracked, or lacking even the slightest amount of its substance, it is unacceptable.

In contrast, the Ra'avad's text read:

If [an etrog] was perforated, peeled, cracked: when it lacks even the slightest amount of its substance, it is unacceptable.

The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 2) follows the Rambam's view. The Ramah writes that when it is difficult to find another kosher etrog, one may rely on the Ra'avad's view.

When [the hole] does not go from side to side, if it is the size of an isar - a silver coin from the Talmudic period, four barley corns in size (Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, Sukkah 3:6).

or more - e.g., the hole was made by plunging an awl into the etrog (Rashi, Sukkah 36a).

[the etrog] is not acceptable. - Here, too, the Ra'avad differs and maintains that as long as none of the etrog's substance is lacking, it is kosher.

If [a hole was made in an etrog which caused] even the slightest amount [of the etrog] to be missing, [the etrog] is not acceptable. - The Ra'avad differs and maintains that an isar of the etrog's substance must be missing. In this and in the previous case, the same decisions of the Shulchan Aruch and the Ramah mentioned above apply.

If its pitam - i.e., the small protrusion from which its flower grows - The Maggid Mishneh differentiates between the stem of the pitam and its tip from which its flower grew, maintaining that only the removal of the former disqualifies the etrog for use. The Ramah (ibid. 7) quotes this opinion as halachah. However, he suggests trying to use an etrog whose pitam is entirely complete.

was removed, it is not acceptable. - However, there is no difficulty in using an etrog that grows without a pitam, as many etrogim do (Rabbenu Manoach; Ramah, ibid.).

[Similarly,] if the stem from which it hangs from the tree is removed from the etrog itself and a hole is left, it is not acceptable. - However, if only part of the stem is cut off and the portion attached to the etrog remains, it is kosher (Ramah, ibid. 8).

If it becomes covered with bumps - The term חזזית is generally used to refer to human skin ailments - e.g., boils or warts. In this context, it refers to bumps which protrude above the etrog's surface. However, the commentaries disqualify an etrog only if the bumps grow naturally from the etrog itself. However, if they are caused by external factors - e.g., thorns - the etrog is not disqualified.

in two or three places - The Ra'avad asks why both the numbers two and three are mentioned. In response, the Mishneh Lamelech quotes many examples of the use of similar terminology throughout the Talmud. It must be noted that the Rambam, in his commentary on the Mishnah (ibid.), and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (648:19) mention only two places.

it is not acceptable. - because it looks spotty (Sukkah 35b).

Even if it is covered with bumps in only one place - i.e., as long as there is no place for an additional bump between the two, it is considered to be one place (Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ibid.).

if that place covers the majority of the etrog's surface area - The Magen Avraham 648:13 also disqualifies an etrog if there is a line of bumps that covers the majority of the etrog's circumference from any point on its surface.

it is not acceptable. [Similarly,] if a bump grows on even the slightest portion of the pitam - See the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, ibid.

it is not acceptable - because a blemish on the pitam is very obvious and unattractive.

Sukkah (ibid.) states: "if a bump grows on the etrog's nose, it is not acceptable." The Rambam interprets "nose" as referring to the pitam. However, Rabbenu Asher and others explain that it refers to the portion of the etrog which begins to narrow as it approaches the pitam. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 9) accepts the latter view.

If its peel is removed without causing [the etrog] to lose any substance and it remains greenish yellow as in its natural state - i.e, only the outer coating of the peel was removed and the thick, white inner peel is not yet revealed. Should this peel be revealed, the etrog is considered as though it has lost some of its substance (Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, ibid.).

[the following rules apply:] If the peel was entirely removed, it is not acceptable. - for the attractiveness of the etrog will begin to decrease without any possibility of its returning to its original state (Levush 586:6)

If even the slightest portion of the original peel remains - the peel could have regenerated itself if it had remained connected to the tree (Levush, ibid.). Therefore,...

it is kosher. - Tosafot, Sukkah 36a maintains that at least a portion of the original peel equivalent to a sela (a large silver coin) must remain. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 6) follows the Rambam's opinion.

8

An etrog which is inflated, decaying, pickled, cooked, black, white, spotted, or green like a leek is unacceptable.

If it was grown in a mold and shaped into the form of another creation, it is unacceptable. If its natural form was preserved, even though it was shaped in different layers, it is kosher. Two etrogim that grow joined together, and an unripe etrog are kosher.

In places where the etrogim grow naturally with a slight black tinge, it is kosher. However, if [the etrogim] are very black - i.e., like a Kushite - they are unacceptable everywhere.

ח

אתרוג שהוא תפוח סרוח כבוש שלוק שחור לבן מנומר ירוק ככרתי פסול. גדלו בדפוס ועשהו כמין בריה אחרת פסול. עשהו כמין ברייתו אף על פי שעשהו דפין דפין כשר. התיום והבוסר כשר. מקום שהאתרוגין שלהם כעין שחרות מעוטה כשרין. ואם היו שחורים ביותר כאדם כושי הרי זה פסול בכל מקום:

An etrog which is inflated - i.e., water fell on it after being detached from the tree and it became inflated (Rabbenu Manoach, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 648:15).

decaying - i.e., it produces a foul odor because it is infested with worms (Rabbenu Manoach).

Based on Sukkah 36b, the Ba'al Halachot Gedolot writes that "inflated" and "decaying" etrogim are disqualified only when the blemish is externally visible. However, if the blemish is only internal, they are kosher. (See Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 4) and commentaries.)

pickled - The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 15) defines "pickled" as "placed in vinegar." However, the Magen Avraham (648:22) maintains that "pickled" should be interpreted according to its definition in the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah (105:1-2). Thus, if an etrog has been soaked in water or in any other liquid for more than 24 hours straight, it is considered to be "pickled" and disqualified for use. One should take care regarding this matter when soaking etrogim to preserve their freshness.

cooked - thoroughly on a fire or in boiling water (Rabbenu Manoach).

black, white, spotted - i.e., a mixture of any two or more colors. When the different color is concentrated in only one place, the etrog is not disqualified unless that color covers more than half the etrog's surface area. However, if there is more than one spot of different colors, it is disqualified regardless of their size (Shulchan Aruch, ibid. 16).

or green like a leek is unacceptable. - The Hebrew word ירוק refers to two different colors: dark green and yellow. Initially, the etrog, like most citrus fruit, is dark green. As it matures, it turns yellowish.

If it was grown in a mold and shaped into the form of another creation, it is unacceptable - It is not considered "beautiful" because its natural form was changed (Rabbenu Manoach).

If its natural form was preserved, even though it was shaped in different layers, it is kosher. Two etrogim that grow joined together - This is kosher because the etrogim grew naturally in this way. In this instance, when performing the mitzvah, a person should hold both etrogim in his hands. Though the Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 20) accepts this decision, there are other authorities who differ. Hence, it is preferable to use another etrog (Mishnah Berurah 648:63).

and an unripe etrog are kosher. - Sukkah 31b mentions etrogim which are small and green as being not fully ripe. However, since the Rambam mentioned those factors previously, it appears that here the intent is different and refers to a fruit that is not yet ready to be eaten, even though it is as large as an egg and has begun to turn yellow. (See also Sukkah 36a.)

In places where the etrogim grow naturally with a slight black tinge, it is kosher. - Rashi (Sukkah 36a) states that if such an etrog is brought to a place where etrogim of a normal color grow, it may not be used.

However, if [the etrogim] are very black - i.e., like a Kushite - they are unacceptable everywhere - even in Africa, where etrogim of this color grow naturally (Rashi, Sukkah 34b).

9

All the species which we categorized as unacceptable because of the blemishes we described or because they were stolen or taken by force are [disqualified for use] only on the first day of the festival. On the second day of the festival and on the other days, they are all kosher.

Those which are disqualified because of the association with idol worship or because the etrog is forbidden to be eaten are unacceptable both on the first day and on the later days.

ט

כל אלו שאמרנו שהם פסולין מפני מומין שבארנו או מפני גזל וגניבה ביום טוב ראשון בלבד אבל ביום טוב שני עם שאר הימים הכל כשר. והפסלנות שהוא משום עבודת כוכבים או מפני שאותו אתרוג אסור באכילה בין ביום טוב ראשון בין בשאר ימים פסול:

649) explains that these requirements apply only "on the first day." According to this explanation, these leniencies would also apply on the later days even in Jerusalem, where it is a Torah commandment to take the lulav on the later days (Chapter 7, Halachah 13).

Others explain that, as mentioned in Chapter 7, Halachot 13 and 15, at present, taking the lulav is a commandment from the Torah only on the first day of the Sukkot. On the subsequent days, the commandment is Rabbinic in origin, instituted to recall the Temple practice. Hence, greater leniency can be taken, because only a Rabbinic ordinance is involved.

All the species which we categorized as unacceptable because of the blemishes we described - Sukkah 36b relates that Rabbi Chanina would eat from an etrog and then use it for the mitzvah. Though an etrog which is lacking even the slightest amount of its substance may not be used (Halachah 7), he still fulfilled his obligation with it. From this incident, our Sages concluded that, on the later days, even such an etrog is kosher.

According to the Rambam's opinion, the same applies to all other physical blemishes on the species. Since there is no greater blemish than an etrog which is bitten into, none of the requirements for "beauty" must be observed on the later days.

Nevertheless, Tosafot, Sukkah 29b and Rabbenu Asher maintain that this leniency applies only to etrogim which are lacking in substance. All the species which were disqualified because they are not "beautiful" may not be used on the later days as well. Though the Shulchan Aruch 649:5 quotes the Rambam, the Magen Avraham (649:17) and the Taz (649:9) quote the other view.

or because they were stolen or taken by force - The Pri Megadim explains that even according to the Rambam, a blessing should not be recited when performing the mitzvah in this fashion.

are [disqualified for use] only on the first day of the festival. - As mentioned in the commentary on Halachah 1, there are two explanations why a stolen lulav may not be used on the first day:

a) a sin may not serve as the medium with which a mitzvah will be performed (מצוה הבאה בעבירה);

b) as stated in Halachah 10, on the first day of the festival a person must own the four species he uses for the mitzvah.

The commentaries explain that the Rambam follows the latter rationale. However, those who follow the first opinion (the Ra'avad, the Ramban, Rabbenu Asher) forbid the use of stolen species on the later days as well. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) quotes the Rambam, while the Ramah follows the other view.

[Though the above explanation is frequently used, it is difficult to accept. First, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Sukkah 3:1), the Rambam mentions the reason of מצוה הבאה בעבירה. Also, in Hilchot Chametz U'matzah 6:7 and in Hilchot Issurei Mizbe'ach 5:7 and 5:9, he forbids the use of stolen articles for the performance of a commandment. In addition, he has not yet mentioned the halachah requiring one to own the lulav used on the first day.

The Taz (649:15) clarifies the matter slightly further by explaining that since taking the lulav on the second day is only a Rabbinic commandment, using a stolen lulav is allowed even though it is a מצוה הבאה בעבירה.]

On the second day of the festival - The literal translation of the Rambam's words are "from the second holiday," implying that these leniencies are granted even in the Diaspora, where the second day is celebrated as a holiday. Though all the laws of the holiday apply on the second day as well as the first, this applies only to the laws of the holiday itself. In contrast, in other contexts, since we follow a fixed calendar and know that the holidays fall on their appropriate dates, the restrictions applying to the first day do not apply on the subsequent days (Maggid Mishneh).

Rabbenu Asher differs and maintains that all the restrictions that apply to the lulav on the first day must also be observed on the second day as well. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 649:5) writes that all the species disqualified on the first day may be taken on the second day, but a blessing should not be recited.

and on the other days - Chol Hamo'ed, when all opinions agree that...

they are all kosher.

Those which are disqualified because of the association with idol worship - mentioned in Halachah 1

or because the etrog is forbidden to be eaten - as mentioned in Halachah 2

10

On the first day of the festival, a person cannot fulfill his obligation by using a lulav that belongs to a colleague and was borrowed from him, unless the latter gives it to him as a present.

If [the owner of the lulav] gives it to him as a present on the condition that he return it, he may fulfill his obligation with it and return it, because a present given on condition that it be returned is considered a present. If he does not return it, he does not fulfill his obligation, because it is as though it were stolen.

[On the first day,] a lulav should not be given to a minor, since, according to Torah law, a minor can acquire articles but cannot transfer them to others. Thus, [the minor's] return of the article is not considered to be a return [from a legal perspective].

The above applies to the lulav and to each of the other species of the four taken with it. If one of them was borrowed, the person does not fulfill his obligation on the first day of the festival.

י

אין אדם יוצא ביום טוב ראשון של חג בלולבו של חבירו שישאלנו ממנו עד שיתננו לו במתנה. נתנו לו על מנת להחזירו הרי זה יוצא בו ידי חובתו ומחזירו. שמתנה על מנת להחזיר שמה מתנה. ואם לא החזירו לא יצא שנמצא כגזול. ואין נותנין אותו לקטן שהקטן קונה ואינו מקנה לאחרים מן התורה ונמצא שאם החזירו לו אינו חוזר. ואחד הלולב ואחד כל מין ומין מארבע מינין שבו אם היה אחד מהן שאול אין יוצאין בו ביום טוב ראשון:

On the first day of the festival - It appears from the Rambam's statements that even in Jerusalem, where Torah law requires that the mitzvah be fulfilled for all seven days of the festival, the obligation to own the lulav applies only on the first day.

a person cannot fulfill his obligation by using a lulav that belongs to a colleague and was borrowed from him - As explained in the commentary on the previous halachah, the Biblical source for the mitzvah of taking the four species, Leviticus 23:40, states: "On the first day, take for yourself the fruit of a beautiful tree..." The phrase "for yourself" implies that a person must own the species he uses for the mitzvah (Sukkah 41b).

As mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachah 25, a borrowed sukkah may be used on the holiday. Though Deuteronomy 16:13 states "Celebrate the Sukkot holiday for yourself for seven days." In this context, only a stolen sukkah is disqualified and a borrowed sukkah is permitted (Sukkah 27b).

Since in both cases, the source for the exclusion is the same phrase, one might ask why the laws pertaining to each are different. Many explain that since, as explained in the commentary to that halachah, the Torah includes a special verse to teach us that a borrowed sukkah is permitted, the scope of the exclusion implied by "for yourself" is limited.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 637:3 explains that since the person owning the sukkah grants his colleague the use of it, the borrowed sukkah can be considered "as his own." Since a person has to treat a sukkah as his permanent dwelling for the seven days of the holiday, it follows that the sukkah was lent for that purpose. Thus, while a person is using it, he may consider it "as his own," i.e., just like his own dwelling. See Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 19.

unless the latter gives it to him as a present. - Though there are certain restrictions against the transfer of property on a holiday, it is permitted to give a colleague a present (Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, Sukkah 3:11).

If [the owner of the lulav] gives it to him as a present on the condition - The use of the Hebrew term על מנת frees one from certain obligations in phrasing the terms of the conditional agreement. (See Hilchot Zechiyah Umatanah 3:8.)

that he return it, he may fulfill his obligation with it and return it - There are authorities who require that the owner specifically state that he is giving the lulav to his colleague on the condition that the latter return it. However, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 658:5) states that even if the owner gives a colleague a lulav without making such a statement, it is assumed that the lulav was given subject to this condition.

for a present given on condition that it be returned is considered a present. - See Hilchot Zechiyah Umatanah 3:9.

If he does not return it, he does not fulfill his obligation, because it is as though it were stolen. - i.e., by failing to fulfill the condition under which the present was given, the recipient nullifies the legal transfer of ownership. Thus, although he was in physical possession of the article, it did not belong to him. Hence, it is considered to be stolen and, thus, not eligible to be used for the mitzvah (Sukkah, ibid.).

[On the first day,] - before all the adults who desire to use it have fulfilled the mitzvah (Shulchan Aruch, ibid. 6)

a lulav should not be given to a minor - The definition of the term "minor" in this context has been the subject of debate among the Rabbis. From the Rambam's phraseology, it appears that he includes all minors in this category. However, Rabbenu Nissim writes that a child of six or seven can transfer property and, hence, his return of the lulav is valid.

Support for Rabbenu Nissim's position is brought from the Jerusalem Talmud (Sukkah 3:10), which relates that Rav Nachman bar Ya'akov gave his etrog as a present to his son and told him: "When you take possession of it and fulfill the mitzvah, return it to me." Nevertheless, the passage does not serve as conclusive proof, because the possibility exists that his son had already reached majority. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 6) follows the Rambam's view.

since, according to Torah law, a minor can acquire articles - which are given to him by others who consciously desire that the minor acquire the property, in contrast to ownerless articles, which he cannot acquire according to Torah law (Maggid Mishneh, Hilchot Zechiyah Umatanah 4:7).

but cannot transfer them to others. - The transfer of the ownership of an article requires a conscious decision. Torah law maintains that a child lacks intellectual maturity (דעת), and thus is incapable of making such a decision.

Thus, [the minor's] return of the article is not considered to be a return [from a legal perspective]. - i.e., although he has physically returned the article, the child still remains the legal owner.

The Machaneh Ephraim (Hilchot Meshichah 2) notes that according to Rabbinic law, a child can transfer property that he owns to another. Thus, the Rambam's statements seem to imply that any of the four species that are acquired only according to Rabbinic law may not be used for this mitzvah.

A very practical point can be derived from this concept. According to Torah law, property that is purchased changes ownership only after it has been paid for. The completion of a transaction when the property are taken by the purchaser (meshichah) is a Rabbinic institution. Accordingly, if a person purchased a lulav and etrog on the condition that he pay for it after the holiday - even though the seller willingly consented - the purchaser has only acquired the lulav and etrog according to Rabbinic law. Thus, based on this halachah, he would not be able to use it for the mitzvah.

The above applies to the lulav and to each of the other species of the four taken with it. - The verse quoted above includes all the four species, and not only the lulav. Therefore...

If one of them was borrowed, the person does not fulfill his obligation on the first day of the festival.

11

When partners purchase a lulav or etrog together, neither is able to fulfill his obligation with it on the first [day of the festival] unless his colleague gives him his portion as a present.

Should brothers purchase etrogim from the funds [of their father's] estate, which they have not divided yet: If one of them takes an etrog with the intent of fulfilling his obligation, [the following rules apply:] If he could eat it without the other brothers objecting, he has fulfilled his obligation. If they would object, he does not fulfill his obligation until they give him their share [in the etrog] as a present.

If one brother bought an etrog and another a quince, or together they bought an etrog, a pomegranate, and a quince from the funds [of their father's] estate, which they have not divided yet, one cannot fulfill one's obligation with the etrog until the others give him their share [in it] as a present, even though they would not object to his [use of it].

יא

שותפין שקנו לולב או אתרוג בשותפות אין אחד מהן יוצא בו ידי חובתו בראשון עד שיתן לו חלקו במתנה. האחין שקנו אתרוגין מתפיסת הבית ונטל אחד מהן אתרוג ויצא בו. אם יכול לאכלו ואין האחין מקפידין בכך יצא. ואם היו מקפידין לא יצא עד שיתנו לו חלקם במתנה. ואם קנה זה אתרוג וזה פריש או שקנו כאחד אתרוג ורמון ופריש מתפיסת הבית אינו יוצא באתרוג עד שיתן לו חלקו במתנה ואף על פי שאם אכלו אין מקפידין עליו:

When partners purchase a lulav or etrog together, neither is - considered to be the owner of the species in its entirety. Therefore, neither is...

able to fulfill his obligation with it on the first [day of the festival] - Bava Batra 137b relates that the requirement of owning a lulav includes not only having a share in it, but rather owning it entirely.

unless his colleague gives him his portion as a present. - The principles mentioned in the previous halachah regarding giving a lulav as a present also apply to giving a share of it as a present.

The Maggid Mishneh mentions a very frequent application of this concept: a lulav and etrog purchased by a synagogue for the use of all of its members. He quotes the Rashba, who explains that since the etrog was purchased with the intent that it be used by each member of that community, implicit in their agreement is that, on the first day, it will belong to each individual entirely at the time he uses it to fulfill the mitzvah.

The Ramah (Orach Chayim 648:7) quotes this statement as halachah. However, the Magen Avraham 648:10 raises questions concerning it and suggests that each member of the community should grant his colleague his share as a present.

Should brothers purchased etrogim from the funds [of their father's] estate, which they have not divided yet: - This is the case mentioned in Bava Batra (ibid.), from which the above principle is derived. In such an instance, the estate is considered to be the mutual property of all the brothers concerned.

If one of them takes an etrog with the intent of fulfilling his obligation, [the following rules apply:] If he could eat it without the other brothers objecting - it is considered to be his own. Hence,...

he has fulfilled his obligation. If they would object - and require that an equal division of the property be made before it was used, he cannot be considered to be the full owner of the etrog. Hence,...

he does not fulfill his obligation until they give him their share [in the etrog] as a present.

The above principles apply only when the funds of the estate were used to purchase a number of etrogim. Since many fruits of the same species were purchased with the money from the estate, it is possible that the other brothers will not object to one brother's taking an etrog for his own use. However, if the money of the estate was used to buy a number of different species of fruit - e.g.,...

If one brother bought an etrog and another a quince, or together they bought an etrog, a pomegranate, and a quince from the funds [of their father's] estate, which they have not divided yet - we assume that the brothers would desire to have the property formally divided before using it. Hence, they are all considered to be mutual owners of the fruit. Thus,...

one cannot fulfill one's obligation with the etrog until the others give him their share [in it] as a present, even though they would not object to his [use of it].

12

Even though it is a mitzvah to rejoice on all the festivals, there was an additional celebration in the Temple on the festival of Sukkot, as [Leviticus 23:40] commands: "And you shall rejoice before God, your Lord, for seven days."

What was done? On the eve of the first day of the festival, they would set up a place in the Temple where women [could watch] from above, and men from below, so they would not intermingle with each other.

The celebration would begin on the night after the first day of the festival. Similarly, on each day of Chol Hamo'ed, after offering the daily afternoon sacrifice, they would begin to celebrate for the rest of the day and throughout the night.

יב

אף על פי שכל המועדות מצוה לשמוח בהן. בחג הסוכות היתה במקדש יום שמחה יתירה שנאמר ושמחתם לפני ה' אלהיכם שבעת ימים. וכיצד היו עושין ערב יום טוב הראשון היו מתקנין במקדש מקום לנשים מלמעלה ולאנשים מלמטה כדי שלא יתערבו אלו עם אלו. ומתחילין לשמוח ממוצאי יום טוב הראשון וכן בכל יום ויום מימי חולו של מועד מתחילין מאחר שיקריבו תמיד של בין הערבים לשמוח לשאר היום עם כל הלילה:

Even though it is a mitzvah to rejoice on all the festivals - as Deuteronomy 16:14 teaches: "And you shall rejoice on your festivals." Though that verse is mentioned with regard to Sukkot, Deuteronomy 16:11 states with regard to Shavuot: "and you shall rejoice before God," and Rosh Hashanah 4b explains that an analogy is established to include Pesach as well.

there was an additional celebration in the Temple on the festival of Sukkot - The Rambam's words present a question: The Mishnah (Sukkah 5:1) refers to this celebration as Simchat Beit Hasho'evah, connecting it with the drawing of water for the water libation. (See Hilchot T'midim Umusafim 10:6-10.) Indeed, the Talmud (Sukkah 50b; see also the Rambam's commentary on the above-mentioned Mishnah) emphasizes that connection, quoting Isaiah 12:3: "And you shall draw water with happiness." However, here, the Rambam makes no mention of that water at all!

We are forced to say that the Rambam views the verse from Isaiah as a mere asmachtah (an allusion from the Bible with which our Sages connected a verse to an independent concept) and that the celebration came about because of the unique nature of the Sukkot festival. Though this celebration was associated with the water libation, the latter is not the source for the practice. Indeed, the choice of the name Simchat Beit HaSho'evah (the celebration of the house of drawing the water), and not Simchat Hasho'evah (the celebration of the drawing of the water) allows for such an interpretation. (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XVII).

as [Leviticus 23:40] commands: "And you shall rejoice

before God, your Lord - i.e., in the Temple

for seven days." - Although this verse is used to derive the requirement of taking the lulav in Jerusalem for each of the seven days of the festival (Chapter 7, Halachah 13), its simple meaning remains.

Nevertheless, this charge is not considered to be an independent commandment, but rather an extension (and an intensification) of the mitzvah of celebrating on the festivals. Thus, in Sefer Hamitzvot (Positive Commandment 54), the Rambam describes that mitzvah and explains that it includes "to celebrate with musical instruments and to dance in the Temple....This is Simchat Beit Hasho'evah."

This explanation resolves another question: Mo'ed Kattan 8b teaches that one celebration should not be interposed upon another. For this reason, weddings are not held during the festivals so that the wedding celebrations should not clash with those of the festival.

Thus, were one to consider the celebration of Simchat Beit Hasho'evah as associated with the water offering, one might ask why the Sages instituted such a celebration which might appear to overshadow the celebration of the festival itself. However, the above explanation resolves this difficulty as well, for as stated above, the Simchat Beit Hasho'evah celebration is an extension of the festival celebrations and not an independent matter. (See Likkutei Sichot, ibid.)

What was done? On the eve of the first day of the festival - Two reasons are given why the courtyard was not set up during the festival itself:

a) It involved construction, which is forbidden on Chol Hamo'ed (Knesset Hagedolah)

b) Preparing the courtyard before the festival would allow the celebrations to begin immediately after the departure of the festival (Kinat Eliyahu).

they would set up a place in the Temple - in the open courtyard before the entrance to the Temple courtyard proper. This was called Ezrat Nashim - the women's courtyard - because in contrast to the Temple courtyard, women were allowed to enter the Ezrat Nashim even when they were not offering sacrifices. The Rambam describes the Ezrat Nashim in Hilchot Beit Habechirah 5:7.

where women [could watch] from above, and men from below, so they would not intermingle with each other. - Originally, the men and the women would stand in separate sections on the same level. However, the Sages feared that, particularly during a time of celebration, such closeness might lead to frivolous interaction between the sexes, and decided to have a balcony constructed for the women (Sukkah 51b).

The celebration would begin on the night after the first day of the festival. - Since, as explained in the following halachah, the celebration was not held on the first night of the festival.

Similarly, on each day of Chol Hamo'ed, after offering the daily afternoon sacrifice, they would begin to celebrate for the rest of the day and throughout the night. - Sukkah 53a quotes Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah as saying: "While we were celebrating at Simchat Beit Hasho'evah, our eyes saw no sleep."

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What was the nature of this celebration? The flute would be sounded and songs played on the harp, lute, and cymbals. [In addition,] each person would play on the instrument which he knew. Those who could sing, would sing. They would dance and clap their hands, letting loose and whistling, each individual in the manner which he knew. Words of song and praise were recited.

This celebration does not supersede either the Sabbath or the festival [prohibitions].

יג

והיאך היתה שמחה זו. החליל מכה ומנגנין בכנור ובנבלים ובמצלתים וכל אחד ואחד בכלי שיר שהוא יודע לנגן בו. ומי שיודע בפה בפה. ורוקדין ומספקין ומטפחין ומפזזין ומכרכרין כל אחד ואחד כמו שיודע ואומרים דברי שירות ותושבחות. ושמחה זו אינה דוחה לא את השבת ולא את יום טוב:

What was the nature of this celebration? - The Mishnah (Sukkah 5:1-2) states:

Whoever has not seen Simchat Beit Hasho'evah has never seen rejoicing in his life!...

There were golden candelabras....There was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that was not illuminated with the light of Beit Hasho'evah.

The pious and men of stature would dance before them with torches of fire in their hands and recite songs of praise. The Levites would play the harps, lutes, cymbals, and all other types of instruments on the steps...leading down from the Israelites' courtyard.

The flute would be sounded - Indeed, from the Mishnah (Sukkah 5:1), which states: "The flute, for five or six days; this was the flute of Beit Hasho'evah," it appears that this was the major element of the celebration.

and songs played on the harp, lute, and cymbals. [In addition,] each person would play on the instrument which he knew. Those who could sing, would sing. - See the quote from the Mishnah above.

They would dance and clap their hands, letting loose and whistling, each individual in the manner which he knew. Words of song and praise were recited. - Note the following halachah and commentary.

This celebration does not supersede either the Sabbath or the festival [prohibitions]. - Since, as explained above, the celebration involved musical instruments, it would not be held on the first night of the festival (or on the Sabbath), when playing such instruments is forbidden (Hilchot Shabbat 23:4).

The celebration is an extension of a Torah commandment, while the above prohibition is only Rabbinic in nature. Furthermore, it was held in the Temple, where Rabbinic prohibitions of this nature were usually suspended (אין שבות במקדש, Pesachim 65a). Nevertheless, since there is no specific Torah obligation to celebrate in this manner, the celebrations were suspended because of the Rabbinic prohibition (Likkutei Sichot, ibid.).

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It is a great mitzvah to maximize this celebration. The common people and anyone who desired would not perform [in these celebrations]; only the greatest of Israel's wise men: the Rashei Yeshivot, the members of the high court, the pious, the elders, and the men of stature. They were those who would dance, clap their hands, sing, and rejoice in the Temple on the days of the festival of Sukkot. However, the entire people - the men and the women - would come to see and hear.

יד

מצוה להרבות בשמחה זו. ולא היו עושין אותה עמי הארץ וכל מי שירצה. אלא גדולי חכמי ישראל וראשי הישיבות והסנהדרין והחסידים והזקנים ואנשי מעשה הם שהיו מרקדין ומספקין ומנגנין ומשמחין במקדש בימי חג הסוכות. אבל כל העם האנשים והנשים כולן באין לראות ולשמוע:

It is a great mitzvah to maximize this celebration - for the experience of genuine Torah happiness is a fundamental and necessary element of our service of God, as explained in the following halachah.

The common people and anyone who desired would not perform [in these celebrations] - Though they would attend, as mentioned in the final clause of the halachah

only the greatest of Israel's wise men: the Rashei Yeshivot, the members of the high court, the pious, the elders, and the men of stature. - for it was only their celebration that could inspire the people with spiritual feeling.

They were those who would dance, clap their hands, sing, and rejoice in the Temple on the days of the festival of Sukkot. - Sukkah 53a relates how Hillel the Elder would rejoice at Simchat Beit Hasho'evah. Other Sages would also participate. For example, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel would juggle eight torches of fire and bow down so low he could kiss the ground. The Jerusalem Talmud (Sukkah 5:3) relates how Rabbi Shimon ben Yehotzedek would perform unique feats of jumping.

However, the entire people - the men and the women - would come to see and hear - deriving joy from this passive participation.

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The happiness with which a person should rejoice in the fulfillment of the mitzvot and the love of God who commanded them is a great service. Whoever holds himself back from this rejoicing is worthy of retribution, as [Deuteronomy 28:47] states: "...because you did not serve God, your Lord, with happiness and a glad heart."

Whoever holds himself proud, giving himself honor, and acts haughtily in such situations is a sinner and a fool. Concerning this, Solomon warned [Proverbs 28:10]: "Do not seek glory before the King."

[In contrast,] anyone who lowers himself and thinks lightly of his person in these situations is [truly] a great person, worthy of honor, who serves God out of love. Thus, David, King of Israel, declared [II Samuel 6:22]: "I will hold myself even more lightly esteemed than this and be humble in my eyes," because there is no greatness or honor other than celebrating before God, as [II Samuel 6:16] states: "King David was dancing wildly and whistling before God."

טו

השמחה שישמח אדם בעשיית המצוה ובאהבת האל שצוה בהן. עבודה גדולה היא. וכל המונע עצמו משמחה זו ראוי להפרע ממנו שנאמר תחת אשר לא עבדת את ה' אלהיך בשמחה ובטוב לבב. וכל המגיס דעתו וחולק כבוד לעצמו ומתכבד בעיניו במקומות אלו חוטא ושוטה. ועל זה הזהיר שלמה ואמר אל תתהדר לפני מלך. וכל המשפיל עצמו ומקל גופו במקומות אלו הוא הגדול המכובד העובד מאהבה. וכן דוד מלך ישראל אמר ונקלותי עוד מזאת והייתי שפל בעיני. ואין הגדולה והכבוד אלא לשמוח לפני ה' שנאמר והמלך דוד מפזז ומכרכר לפני ה' וגו': סליקו להו הלכות לולב, שבח לבוחן כליות ולב

, the Rambam derives a fundamental principle in the service of God.

The happiness with which a person should rejoice in the fulfillment of the mitzvot and the love of God who commanded them is a great service. - By mentioning this concept at the conclusion - but as part - of the these halachot, the Rambam emphasizes how the celebration of the festivals is not just an isolated experience, but rather is intended to influence the totality of our service of God. The rejoicing of the festival of Sukkot enables us to appreciate true happiness in all aspects of our Torah service.

Whoever holds himself back from this rejoicing is worthy of retribution, as [Deuteronomy 28:47] states: "...because you did not serve God, your Lord, with happiness and a glad heart." - This verse comes after the full description of the curses and retribution which God will visit upon the Jewish people for their sins. From the Rambam's statements, it appears that it is the lack of happiness in the service of God, and not the sins themselves, which brought about this punishment.

The Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, explains that even though the punishment comes for the sins, had the Jewish people served God with true joy and happiness, that happiness would have caused Him to overlook those transgressions, regardless of how serious they were. In contrast, a lack of happiness in the performance of the mitzvot demonstrates a deficiency in the person's awareness of the connection to God established thereby.

Whoever holds himself proud, giving himself honor, and acts haughtily in such situations is a sinner and a fool - for he is concerned with himself, rather than with God.

Concerning this, Solomon warned [Proverbs 28:10]: "Do not seek glory before the King." - i.e., God, in whose presence we are at every moment.

[In contrast,] anyone who lowers himself and thinks lightly of his person in these situations - transcending his self-consciousness and committing himself to God totally, without any restrictions

is [truly] a great person, worthy of honor - his ability to open himself up to God allows him to serve as a medium for the expression of His greatness, and thus, his own personal prestige rises, because, as our Sages commented: "A king's servant is like a king."

who serves God out of love. - See Hilchot Teshuvah, Chapter 10.

Thus, David, King of Israel - The mention of David's position further emphasizes the concept explained. Alternatively, a king has a connection to each of his subjects. Thus, mentioning the example of the king of Israel emphasizes how each Jew has a potential to achieve this rung of service.

declared [II Samuel 6:22]: "I will hold myself even more lightly esteemed than this and be humble in my eyes," because there is no greatness or honor other than celebrating before God, as [II Samuel 6:16] states: "King David was dancing wildly and whistling before God." - When Michal, Saul's daughter, witnessed David's recklessness and total lack of inhibitions, she reproved him for conduct unbefitting a king. David answered her sharply, explaining that it is precisely this ability to give oneself totally over to Godliness which characterizes a Jewish monarch and makes him fit to lead the people in the service of God.

Though the Rambam stresses how an approach of humility and happiness befits people of honor - as is obvious from the nature of the Sages' celebration of Simchat Beit Hasho'evah - these ideas also apply to every Jew. When an individual is conscious of God's constant presence, he will naturally be infused with these two emotions. He will feel his own smallness in God's presence, yet he will also feel real joy at the knowledge that God is with him at every moment, and that through his service of Torah and mitzvot, he can develop a greater connection with Him.

May our service of God with joy hasten the time when "crowned with eternal joy" (Isaiah 35:10), we will be able to "rejoice before God, your Lord, for seven days," in the Messianic Temple. May we merit it, speedily, in our days.