Sunday, October 22, 2006

Daf Yomi - Sukkah 48 - Throw the book at him!

The Mishna relates that a Sadducee, who was from a group of Jews who denied the authenticity of the Oral Law, poured the water on his feet instead of pouring the water into the bowl, and all the people threw their esrogim at him. Why did they choose to throw their esrogim at him? Were they attempting to kill him? If he was truly liable the death penalty, throwing esrogim was definitely not the prescribed method for stoning a sinner. Perhaps the reason that they pelted him with esrogim is because the Sadducees denied the validity of the Oral Law and they only subscribed to the terse meaning of the Written Law. Regarding the esrog, the Torah only states that one is required to take a pri eitz hadar, which is literally translated as a beautiful looking fruit. The Gemara teaches us from various expositions that the fruit that the Torah refers to is the esrog, and this is a Sinaitic tradition. Thus, the people pelted the Sadducee with esrogim to demonstrate that he had denied the validity of the Oral Law and they upheld the belief in the Oral Law.

2 comments:

Chaim B. said...

The Midrash writes that the lulav is like a sword which we parade with to show our victory in the y'mei hadin, so you have an allusion to the idea of weapons in the 4 minim (I think R' Menachem Genack makes this observation in his sefer Gan Shoshanim).

ben said...

thanks. the Medrash appears to be saying that we are victorious and we are awarded a spear from the King. It seems more ceremonial than assuming that it's the lulav that we use to do battle with. It's an interesting take on it and I will bli neder research it.