Rava rejects Rav’s statement because a hadas with berries in several places would look striped and would not look good at all. Below the Talmud will rephrase Rav’s statement.
In this version of R. Hisda/Rav’s statement, he limits the mishnah to a case of black berries. Such black berries disqualify the hadas, if they are more numerous than the leaves. However, if the berries are green than that is just a normal hadas and it is valid. We should also note that such a hadas won’t look “striped”—thereby averting the difficulty raised by Rava.
R. Hanina said that with regard to identifying menstrual blood, black counts as red. The same, according to R. Papa, is true for the berries on the hadas. Red berries disqualify the hadas the same way that black berries do.
The mishnah stated that if he reduced the numbers of the berries, the hadas is valid. The question is—when did he reduce them? Before or on the festival? This sugya, as well as the following one, again discusses the issue of “set aside.”
The question is—when did he reduce the number of berries on the hadas? If he did so before he bound the hadas together with the lulav and the aravah then it is obviously not disqualified. Why should it be?
Therefore, it must be a case where he first bound the disqualified hadas with the other two species and then reduced the number of berries. Such a lulav (the three species together) was “set aside” at the outset but then became valid. So why not use this mishnah as proof for the general principle—that just because something is “set aside” at the outset it doesn’t mean it is permanently “set aside”?
The answer is that binding the three species together is not of significance. It’s just a designation. The lulav doesn’t really come into fruition at that point such that it could even be considered “set aside.” Therefore, we can’t derive any general principles with regard to “set aside” from this mishnah.
The mishnah states that one is not allowed to reduce the invalid berries on Yom Tov (the festival). The sugya continues to discuss the issue of “set aside” in light of this mishnah.
The mishnah teaches that one shouldn’t reduce the number of berries on Yom Tov. The reason why will be explained below. However, the mishnah doesn’t say that if he reduces the number of berries on Yom Tov it is invalid. The implication is that this is something one shouldn’t do, but that if one does it, it is valid
So now the question becomes—when did the berries turn black (only black berries are invalid)? If they turned black before the festival began then this is a case of “set aside from the outset.” The hadas was invalid when the festival began. So why then didn’t we use this mishnah to derive the question about this that we asked earlier?
But if it became black on the festival outside, then we have a slightly different case. The hadas was fit when Yom Tov began, then it became unfit when the berries turned black, and then it became fit again when he removed the berries. Based on this assumption we could deduce that in all such cases, when something is fit and then set aside, it can become fit again. But evidently the Talmud does not want to make such an assumption.
The Talmud returns to option one from above. The hadas’s berries were black before Yom Tov began. It was “set aside” from the outset but then became valid when he picked them off. From here we can deduce that indeed, in general, if something is “set aside” from the outset it can still become valid at a later point. But we still don’t know what the rule is if something is at first fit and then become set aside (the berries were green and then became black). Can it become fit again? This question is not answered in our sugya. Sometimes the Talmud just prefers to leave matters unanswered.
In this baraita we see a dispute over whether one can reduce the berries on the hadas on Yom Tov. The majority opinion holds that one cannot, for this is considered “fixing an object” which is forbidden on Shabbat and on a festival. However, R. Eliezer son of R. Shimon does allow one to do so.
The Talmud is perplexed by R. Eliezer son of R. Shimon’s opinion—it seems to be a blatant violation of Shabbat.
R. Ashi answers that R. Eliezer son of R. Shimon allows ond to pick the berries off of the hadas only if he does so to eat them. In such a case his intent was not to “fix the object” but to get food, which one is allowed to do on Yom Tov. Therefore, this tanna holds like his father, R. Shimon, that if one intends to do something that is permitted and he at the same time does something forbidden, the action is allowed.
However, a problem remains—Abaye and Rava both hold that if you intend to do X action which is permitted but Y will certainly happen, then the action is still prohibited, even though performing Y wasn’t his intention. The case they refer to is where one wants to cut the head off a bird so his kid can play with it (thank God for Legos!). One can argue that his intention is not to kill the bird, an action that is forbidden on Shabbat, but to get a toy for his kid, which is not inherently prohibited. However, since we know the bird will die when he takes off its head to be a toy the action is still prohibited. So too, picking the berries for food is prohibited because he knows that by doing so will validate the hadas.
The Talmud answers that this is the case where he has another “hoshanna”—the Aramaic word for hadas. It is clear that he is picking the berries for food because he doesn’t need this hadas to perform his mitzvah. Therefore, the hadas is valid if he or someone else should subsequently decide to use it.
This sugya contains a short baraita and discussion about what to do if the lulav’s binding falls off on Yom Tov.
The baraita teaches that if the binding that ties the three species together comes undone on Yom Tov he may bind it up together, but only loosely as one does with a bundle of vegetables.
The Talmud then asks why not make a proper loop. After all, while tying a knot is prohibited on Shabbat, making a loop is not. So why does the baraita allow him to make only a loose knot.
The answer is that the baraita follows the opinion of R. Judah who holds that making a loop on Yom Tov (or Shabbat) is forbidden, just as it is forbidden to make a knot.
The problem is that once we have identified R. Judah as the author of the baraita, then a loose loop such as one makes around vegetables would not to be sufficient for the lulav. After all, R. Judah is the very tanna who holds that the lulav must be bound.
The Talmud answers that this baraita agrees with R. Judah on one matter—making a proper loop on Yom Tov is prohibited. However, it disagrees with him on another matter—the lulav need not have a proper binding. Evidently this tanna holds that the lulav must be bound as part of “hiddur mitzvah,” the beautification of mitzvoth. However, the mitzvah of lulav can be fulfilled without a proper binding.
This week’s daf begins with a new mishnah, one very similar to the previous ones but this time about the aravah (willow). Parts of this mishnah that were explained in earlier mishnayot will not be dealt with again here.
The first three clauses of the mishnah are the same or nearly the same as those with regard to the lulav and hadas. The Talmud will later explain what a tzaftzefah is.
The Torah calls the willow “willows of the brook.” The mishnah teaches that one that grows in rain watered soil is also valid.
This baraita gives several interpretations of the phrase “willows of the brook” from Leviticus 23:40. The first interpretation is pretty straightforward—one should use willows that grow on a brook.
The second interpretation understands “brook” to be a description of the leaves of the willow—they should be shaped like a brook.
The third interpretation focuses on the plural form “willows,” interpreting the form as allowing any willow to be used, not just one that grows by a brook.
Finally, Abba Shaul offers a different interpretation for the plural. The verse alludes to two uses of the willow. One as part of the lulav and the other was used in the Temple. We will learn more about this Temple ritual in chapter four.