באסא מצראה דקיימי שבעה שבעה בחד קינא דכי נתרי ארבעה פשו להו תלתא אמר אביי ש"מ האי אסא מצראה כשר להושענא
in an Egyptian myrtle branch, which has seven leaves emerging from each and every base, as even when four leaves, the majority, fall, three remain, and its dense-leaved nature remains intact. Abaye said: Learn from it that the Sages hold that this Egyptian myrtle branch is fit for use as a hoshana in the mitzva of the four species.
פשיטא מהו דתימא הואיל ואית ליה שם לווי לא מתכשר קא משמע לן ואימא הכי נמי עץ עבות אמר רחמנא מכל מקום
The Gemara asks: This is obvious. It is a myrtle branch. Why would it be unfit? The Gemara answers: Lest you say that since its name is accompanied by a modifier, i.e., it is not called simply a myrtle branch but an Egyptian myrtle branch, it is unfit. Therefore, Abaye teaches us that it is fit for use. The Gemara asks: And say it is indeed so, that since its name is accompanied by a modifier it is unfit. The Gemara answers: It is fit, as “dense-leaved tree” is stated by the Merciful One. As the Torah did not mandate the use of a specific species but rather listed an identifying characteristic, a tree with that characteristic is fit in any case, and the modifier is irrelevant.
ת"ר יבשו רוב עליו ונשארו בו שלשה בדי עלין לחין כשר ואמר רב חסדא ובראש כל אחד ואחד:
The Sages taught: If most of its leaves dried and three branches of moist leaves remained on it, it is fit. Rav Ḥisda said: And that is the ruling only if the moist leaves are at the top of each and every one of the branches. However, if the moist leaves are elsewhere on the branch, it is unfit.
נקטם ראשו: תני עולא בר חיננא נקטם ראשו ועלתה בו תמרה כשר
§ The mishna continues: If the top of the myrtle branch was severed, it is unfit. Ulla bar Ḥinnana taught: If the top of the myrtle branch was severed, but a gallnut-like berry grew in that place, it is fit, as the berry fills the void and the top of the branch no longer appears severed.
בעי רבי ירמיה נקטם ראשו מערב יום טוב ועלתה בו תמרה ביו"ט מהו יש דחוי אצל מצות או לא
Rabbi Yirmeya raised a dilemma: If the top was severed on the Festival eve, and the berry grew in that place on the Festival, what is the halakha? This dilemma is tied to a more fundamental, wide-ranging dilemma: Is there disqualification with regard to mitzvot or not? Because this myrtle branch was unfit when the Festival began, is the halakha that it is permanently disqualified and cannot be rendered fit? Or perhaps the halakha is that there is no disqualification with regard to mitzvot. Once the growth of the berry neutralizes the cause for the disqualification, the myrtle branch is again fit for use.
ותפשוט ליה מהא דתנן כסהו ונתגלה פטור מלכסות כסהו הרוח חייב לכסות ואמר רבה בר בר חנה א"ר יוחנן לא שנו אלא שחזר ונתגלה אבל לא חזר ונתגלה פטור מלכסות
The Gemara asks: And resolve this dilemma from that which we learned in a mishna: With regard to one who slaughtered a non-domesticated animal or a bird and is obligated to cover the blood, if he covered the blood and it was then uncovered, he is exempt from the obligation to cover it a second time. However, if the wind blew dust and covered the blood and no person was involved, he is obligated to cover it. Rabba bar bar Ḥana said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: They taught that he is obligated to cover the blood after the wind covered it only if the blood was then exposed. However, if it was not then exposed, he is exempt from the obligation to cover it.
והוינן בה כי חזר ונתגלה אמאי חייב לכסות הואיל ואידחי אידחי
And we discussed this issue and asked: When it was then exposed, why is he obligated to cover it a second time? Since it was disqualified, it should remain disqualified. When the wind covered the blood, he was exempt from covering the blood. If so, even if the blood is subsequently uncovered, he should remain exempt. Why then, is he obligated to cover the blood in that case?
ואמר רב פפא זאת אומרת אין דחוי אצל מצות
And Rav Pappa said: That is to say that there is no disqualification with regard to mitzvot. Once the cause of the exemption from the obligation is neutralized, one is once again obligated to fulfill the mitzva. Although there is disqualification with regard to offerings, that is not the case with regard to mitzvot. If so, Rabbi Yirmeya’s dilemma is resolved.
דרב פפא גופא מיבעיא ליה מיפשיט פשיט ליה דאין דחוי אצל מצות לא שנא לקולא ולא שנא לחומרא או דלמא ספוקי מספקא ליה לחומרא אמרינן לקולא לא אמרינן תיקו
The Gemara answers: It is with regard to Rav Pappa’s resolution itself that Rabbi Yirmeya raised the dilemma. Is it obvious to Rav Pappa, based on the discussion with regard to the blood, that there is no disqualification with regard to mitzvot; and there is no difference whether that ruling leads to leniency, as in the case of a myrtle branch whose top was severed and a berry grew in its place, rendering it fit, and there is no difference whether that ruling leads to stringency, as in the case of the blood, where one is obligated to cover it anew? Or, perhaps the tanna was uncertain, and therefore, when that ruling leads to stringency, we say that there is no disqualification with regard to mitzvot, and one must perform the mitzva. However, when that ruling leads to leniency, we do not say that there is no disqualification with regard to mitzvot. The Gemara concludes: The dilemma stands unresolved.
לימא כתנאי עבר ולקטן פסול דברי רבי אלעזר (בן) צדוק וחכמים מכשירין סברוה דכ"ע לולב אין צריך אגד ואת"ל צריך אגד לא ילפינן לולב מסוכה דכתיב בה תעשה ולא מן העשוי
The Gemara suggests: Let us say that this matter of disqualification with regard to mitzvot is dependent upon a dispute of tanna’im, as a similar topic was taught in a baraita: If one transgressed and picked the berries that render the myrtle branch unfit on the Festival, it remains unfit; this is the statement of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Tzadok. The Sages deem it fit. The Gemara explains: Everyone, both tanna’im, agree that a lulav does not require binding. And even if you say that a lulav requires binding, nevertheless, we do not derive the halakhot of lulav from the halakhot of sukka. With regard to sukka it is written: Prepare it, from which it is derived, and not from that which is already prepared. The sukka must be established by means of an action, not one that was established by itself.
מאי לאו בהא קמיפלגי דמאן דפסיל סבר אמרינן יש דחוי אצל מצות ומאן דמכשיר סבר לא אמרינן יש דחוי אצל מצות
What, is it not that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Tzadok, and the Rabbis are disagreeing about the following? The one who deems the myrtle branch unfit, Rabbi Elazar, holds: We say there is disqualification with regard to mitzvot. Since this myrtle branch was unfit when the Festival began because the berries outnumbered the leaves, reducing the number of berries will not render it fit. And the one who deems the myrtle branch fit, the Rabbis, holds: We do not say there is disqualification with regard to mitzvot. Even though this myrtle branch was unfit when the Festival began, once the cause of the disqualification is neutralized, the myrtle branch is rendered fit for use in the performance of the mitzva.
לא דכ"ע לא אמרינן יש דחוי אצל מצות והכא במילף לולב מסוכה קא מיפלגי מר סבר ילפינן לולב מסוכה ומר סבר לא ילפינן לולב מסוכה
The Gemara rejects this suggestion. No, one could say that everyone agrees that we do not say there is disqualification with regard to mitzvot. And here, it is with regard to deriving lulav from sukka that they disagree. One Sage, Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Tzadok, holds: We derive lulav from sukka. Just as a sukka must be rendered fit through building and not by means of an action taken after it was built, so too, a lulav must be rendered fit through binding and not by an action taken after it was bound. Since this myrtle branch was not rendered fit through binding but rather through the removal of the berries after it was bound, it is unfit. And one Sage, i.e., the Rabbis, holds: We do not derive lulav from sukka. Therefore, even if the lulav was rendered fit from that which is already prepared, it is fit.
ואיבעית אימא אי סבירא לן לולב צריך אגד דכ"ע ילפינן לולב מסוכה והכא בלולב צריך אגד קא מיפלגי ובפלוגתא דהני תנאי דתניא לולב בין אגוד בין שאינו אגוד כשר ר' יהודה אומר אגוד כשר שאינו אגוד פסול
And if you wish, say instead: If we hold that lulav requires binding, everyone agrees that we derive the halakhot of lulav from the halakhot of sukka. And here, it is with regard to whether or not a lulav requires binding that they disagree, and they disagree in the dispute of these tanna’im, as it was taught in a baraita: A lulav, whether it is bound with the myrtle and willow and whether it is not bound, is fit. Rabbi Yehuda says: If it is bound it is fit; if it is not bound it is unfit.
מאי טעמא דר' יהודה יליף לקיחה לקיחה מאגודת אזוב כתיב הכא (ויקרא כג, מ) ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון וכתיב התם (שמות יב, כב) ולקחתם אגודת אזוב מה להלן אגודה אף כאן אגודה ורבנן לית להו לקיחה לקיחה
The Gemara asks: What is the rationale for the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda? From where does he derive this requirement by Torah law? The Gemara answers: He derives the term taking written with regard to the four species from the term taking written with regard to the bundle of hyssop by means of a verbal analogy. It is written there, in the context of the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb in Egypt: “Take a bundle of hyssop” (Exodus 12:22), and it is written here, in the context of the four species: “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of a beautiful tree, branches of a date palm and boughs of a dense-leaved tree, and willows of the brook” (Leviticus 23:40). Just as there, with regard to the Paschal lamb, the mitzva to take the hyssop is specifically in a bundle, so too here, the mitzva to take the four species is specifically in a bundle. And the Rabbis hold: We do not derive the term taking from the term taking by means of the verbal analogy.
מאן תנא להא דת"ר לולב מצוה לאוגדו ואם לא אגדו כשר מני אי רבי יהודה כי לא אגדו אמאי כשר אי רבנן מאי מצוה קא עביד לעולם רבנן ומצוה משום (שמות טו, ב) זה אלי ואנוהו:
On a related note, the Gemara asks: Who is the tanna who taught in the baraita: There is a mitzva to bind the myrtle and the willow with the lulav, and if he did not bind it, it is fit? Whose opinion is it? If the baraita is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, when he did not bind it, why is it fit? If it is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, what mitzva did he perform? The Gemara answers: Actually, it is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis. And the reason that there is a mitzva to bind them is due to the fact that it is stated: “This is my God and I will glorify Him [ve’anvehu]” (Exodus 15:2), which they interpreted to mean: Beautify yourself [hitna’e] before Him in the performance of the mitzvot. The Rabbis agree that although failure to bind the three species does not render the lulav unfit for the mitzva, the performance of the mitzva is more beautiful when the lulav is bound.
או שהיו ענביו מרובין: אמר רב חסדא דבר זה רבינו הגדול אמרו והמקום יהיה בעזרו לא שנו אלא במקום אחד אבל בשנים או שלשה מקומות כשר
§ The mishna continues: Or if its berries were more numerous than its leaves, it is unfit. Rav Ḥisda said: This statement was stated by our great rabbi, Rav, and may the Omnipresent come to his assistance. The Sages taught this halakha only if the berries were concentrated in one place. However, if they were distributed in two or three places throughout the branch, it is fit.
Rava said to Rav Ḥisda: