א׳ בניסן ה׳תשע״א (April 5, 2011)

Menahot 27a-b – Must the four species brought on Sukkot be taken together?

As often happens in the Gemara, which records actual conversations, discussion of a given topic may segue in a different direction. The first Mishnah on today’s daf (=page) continues discussing the laws of meal-offerings, teaching that the different parts of the minhah require each other, such that the flour cannot be brought without the oil, nor the oil without the flour; the kometz (the fistful of flour taken by the kohen for sacrifice on the altar) cannot be brought without the frankincense, nor can the frankincense be brought without the kometz.

 

This leads to the laws that appear in the second Mishnah that are not at all related to the laws of meal-offerings, rather they are a list of other religious rituals whose different parts make up a greater whole and cannot be divided. It is in this context that we learn that the four different species taken on Sukkot – the lulav, etrog, hadasim and aravot (see SeferVayikra 23:40) – require one-another and that from a halakhic standpoint, bringing one without the other serves no purpose.

 

In the Gemara, Rav Hanan bar Rava comments that the Mishnah’s ruling is limited to a situation where the person does not have all four species. If, however, the person has all four in his possession, then they do not need to be together. TheBa’al Halakhot Gedolot understands this to mean that he would be able to pick them up one-by-one and fulfill his obligation. Rabbenu Tam objects to this ruling, arguing that since they are a single mitzvah it is not possible that they can be taken separately. He argues that Rav Hanan bar Rava’s intention must be to allow them to be taken together, even if they are not tied together.

 

The Gemara concludes that there is a difference of opinion among the tannai’m regarding this issue. The do not require that the four species be tied together, while Rabbi Yehudah requires them to actually be tied together.