Sukkah 5b:15סוכה ה׳ ב:טו
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5bה׳ ב

דבר יוכני תפשת מרובה לא תפשת תפשת מועט תפשת ואימא כאפי דציפרתא דזוטר טובא אמר רב אחא בר יעקב רב הונא פני פני גמר כתיב הכא אל פני הכפורת וכתיב התם (בראשית כז, ל) מאת פני יצחק אביו

of a bird called bar Yokhani, whose face is significantly larger than a handbreadth? The Gemara rejects this suggestion: If you grasped many, you did not grasp anything; if you grasped few, you grasped something. The Gemara asks: If so, say that it is like the face of a bird, which is extremely small? Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: Rav Huna derives that the thickness of the Ark cover was one handbreadth not through an actual comparison to the real faces of different creatures but rather by means of a verbal analogy between the terms penei and penei written in different places in the Torah. It is written here: “Before [penei] the Ark cover” (Leviticus 16:2), and it is written there: “From the presence of [penei] Isaac his father” (Genesis 27:30). The dimension of the Ark cover is like that of the face of a person, a handbreadth.

ונילף מפנים של מעלה דכתיב (בראשית לג, י) כראות פני אלהים ותרצני תפשת מרובה לא תפשת תפשת מועט תפשת

The Gemara suggests: And let us derive a verbal analogy from the face of God, as it is written: “For I have seen your face as one sees the face of [penei] God, and you were pleased with me” (Genesis 33:10). The term penei is used with regard to the face of God as well. The Gemara rejects this suggestion: If you grasped many, you did not grasp anything; if you grasped few, you grasped something.

ונילף מכרוב דכתיב (שמות כה, כ) אל הכפורת יהיו פני הכרובים

The Gemara suggests: And let us derive a verbal analogy from the face of the cherub in the Tabernacle and the Temple, as it is written: “Toward the Ark cover shall be the faces of [penei] the cherubs” (Exodus 25:20), and their faces were presumably smaller than one handbreadth.

אמר רב אחא בר יעקב גמירי אין פני כרובים פחותין מטפח ורב הונא נמי מהכא גמיר

Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: We have learned through tradition that the faces of the cherubs were not smaller than a handbreadth, and indeed Rav Huna derived the thickness of the Ark cover from here as well, i.e., from the verbal analogy between the instances of the word penei in the verses: “Upon the face of [penei] the Ark cover on the east” and: “The faces [penei] of the cherubs,” indicating that both are the same size.

ומאי כרוב א"ר אבהו כרביא שכן בבבל קורין לינוקא רביא

Apropos the cherubs, the Gemara asks: And what is the form of the face of a cherub [keruv]? Rabbi Abbahu said: Like that of a child [keravya], as in Babylonia one calls a child ravya.

א"ל אביי אלא מעתה דכתיב (יחזקאל י, יד) פני האחד פני הכרוב ופני השני פני אדם היינו כרוב היינו אדם אפי רברבי ואפי זוטרא

Abaye said to him: But if what you say is so, what is the meaning of that which is written about the faces of the celestial beasts drawing the celestial chariot: “The face of the first was the face of the cherub, and the face of the second was the face of a man” (Ezekiel 10:14)? According to your explanation, this face of the cherub is the same as that face of a man. The Gemara answers: Although two of the celestial beasts drawing that chariot had the face of a man, the difference between them is that one was a large face and one was a small face. In other words, the face described as the face of a man was the face of an adult, and the face described as the face of a cherub was that of a child. This is the source that the Ark and the Ark cover were ten handbreadths high.

וממאי דחללה עשרה בר מסככה אימא בהדי סככה

However, with regard to the application of this measure to the halakhot of sukka, the Gemara asks: And from where is it derived that the interior space of the sukka must be ten handbreadths high without the thickness of the roofing? Say that the ten handbreadths of the sukka are with the thickness of the roofing. Just as the ten handbreadths of the Ark are measured from the bottom of the Ark to the top of the Ark cover, let the sukka be measured to the top of the roofing.

אלא מבית עולמים גמר דכתיב (מלכים א ו, ב) והבית אשר בנה המלך שלמה לה ששים אמה ארכו ועשרים רחבו ושלשים אמה קומתו וכתיב (מלכים א ו, כו) קומת הכרוב האחד עשר באמה וכן הכרוב השני ותניא מה מצינו בבית עולמים כרובים בשליש הבית הן עומדין משכן נמי כרובים בשליש הבית הן עומדין

Rather, the dimension of the sukka is not derived from the Ark; one instead derived it from the dimensions of the eternal Temple, as it is written: “And the house which King Solomon built for the Lord, its length was sixty cubits, and its breadth twenty cubits, and its height thirty cubits” (I Kings 6:2). And it is written: “The height of the first cherub was ten cubits, and likewise was the second cherub” (I Kings 6:26). And it is taught in a baraita: Just as we find in the eternal Temple that the cherubs stand reaching one-third the height of the Temple, as each cherub was ten cubits high and the Temple was thirty cubits high, in the Tabernacle as well, the cherubs stand reaching one-third the height of the Tabernacle.

משכן כמה הוי עשר אמות דכתיב (שמות כו, טז) עשר אמות אורך הקרש כמה הוי להו שיתין פושכי תלתיה כמה הוי עשרים פושכי דל עשרה דארון וכפורת פשו להו עשרה וכתיב (שמות כה, כ) והיו הכרובים פורשי כנפים למעלה סוככים בכנפיהם על הכפורת קרייה רחמנא סככה למעלה מעשרה

And to calculate: How many cubits high was the Tabernacle? It was ten cubits, as it is written: “Ten cubits shall be the length of a beam” (Exodus 26:16). How many handbreadths do these ten cubits contain? They contain sixty handbreadths. And one third of that total is how many? It is twenty handbreadths. Subtract from this figure ten handbreadths of the Ark and the Ark cover upon which the cherubs stood, and ten handbreadths remain, which was the height of each individual cherub. And it is written: “And the cherubs shall spread out their wings upward, screening [sokhekhim] the Ark cover with their wings” (Exodus 25:20). Here the Merciful One is referring to the wings using the terminology of roofing [sekhakha] specifically when they are ten handbreadths above the Ark cover. This is a source that the roofing of the sukka is placed at least ten handbreadths high.

ממאי דגדפינהו עילוי רישייהו קיימי דלמא להדי רישייהו קיימי אמר רב אחא בר יעקב למעלה כתיב ואימא דמידלי טובא מי כתיב למעלה למעלה

The Gemara asks: And from where is it known that their wings were spread above their heads, from which it is derived that roofing is ten handbreadths high? Perhaps they were spread level with their heads. In that case, the ten handbreadths derived would include the roofing, leaving the interior space of the sukka less than ten handbreadths high. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said that it is written: “Spread out their wings upward,” indicating that the wings were above their heads. The Gemara asks: If so, say that the wings were extremely high to an unspecified height. The Gemara answers: Does the verse say: Upward, upward? It says upward only once, meaning slightly over their heads. There is proof from the verses that the roofing was at least ten handbreadths off the ground.

הניחא לר' מאיר דאמר כל האמות היו בינוניות אלא לר' יהודה דאמר אמה של בנין ששה טפחים ושל כלים חמשה מאי איכא למימר

The Gemara asks: This calculation works out well according to Rabbi Meir, who said that all the cubits in the Tabernacle and the Temple were intermediate cubits, consisting of six handbreadths; however, according to Rabbi Yehuda, who said that the cubit used in the dimensions of a building in the Temple was a cubit consisting of six handbreadths, but the cubit used in the dimensions of vessels was a cubit consisting of only five handbreadths, what is there to say?

ארון וכפורת כמה הוי להו תמניא ופלגא פשו להו חד סרי ופלגא אימא סוכה עד דהויא חד סרי ופלגא

Based on that calculation, how many handbreadths was the height of the Ark and the Ark cover? They totaled eight and a half handbreadths. The height of the Ark was one and a half cubits, which, based on a five-handbreadth cubit, equals seven and a half handbreadths. Including the additional handbreadth of the Ark cover, the total height is eight and a half handbreadths. If the cherubs were one third of the height of the Tabernacle, which is twenty handbreadths, eleven and a half handbreadths remain for the height of the cherubs, over which their wings were spread. Therefore, say that for a sukka to be fit for use its interior space must be eleven and a half handbreadths high. However, there is no recorded opinion that requires a sukka with that dimension.

אלא לרבי יהודה הלכתא גמירי לה דאמר ר' חייא בר אשי אמר רב שיעורין חציצין ומחיצין הלכה למשה מסיני

Rather, according to Rabbi Yehuda, the Sages learned the minimum height of a sukka as a halakha transmitted to Moses from Sinai. As Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Ashi said that Rav said: The measures in various areas of halakha, e.g., olive-bulk, dried fig-bulk, egg-bulk, and the various halakhot of interpositions that serve as a barrier between one’s body and the water in a ritual bath and invalidate immersions, and the dimensions and nature of halakhic partitions are all halakhot transmitted to Moses from Sinai. They were not written in the Torah; rather, they were received in the framework of the Oral Law.

שיעורין דאורייתא נינהו דכתיב (דברים ח, ח) ארץ חטה ושעורה וגפן ותאנה ורמון ארץ זית שמן ודבש ואמר רב חנין כל הפסוק הזה לשיעורין נאמר

The Gemara questions this assertion: Are measures a halakha transmitted to Moses from Sinai? They are written in the Torah, as it is written: “A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:8), and Rav Ḥanin said: This entire verse is stated for the purpose of teaching measures with regard to different halakhot in the Torah.

חטה לבית המנוגע דתנן הנכנס לבית המנוגע וכליו על כתפיו וסנדליו וטבעותיו בידו הוא והן טמאין מיד

Wheat was mentioned as the basis for calculating the time required for one to become ritually impure when entering a house afflicted with leprosy, as we learned in a mishna: With regard to one who enters a house afflicted with leprosy of the house (see Leviticus, chapter 14), and his clothes are draped over his shoulders, and his sandals and his rings are in his hands, both he and they, the clothes, sandals, and rings, immediately become ritually impure.