Thursday, September 12, 2013

Timely question: Did Moshe Rabeinu have a "Deri Luluv"

Guest Post from Pinchas Shalom

I went to get ד' מינים (Luluv & Esrog) tonight. After putting a few Esrogim aside i turned to the Luluvim. The second one i picked up was a beauty. It was a tall, fresh, deep green, and fully closed "Deri". 

I said, half to myself, "Moshe Rabeinu didn't have such a Luluv!!". (I thought it not debatable).

The fellow next to me, apparently overhead. He announced a bit louder "of course Moshe Rabeini had a Lee'lev just as nice!!".

A third patron now chimed in, "you think Moshe Rabeinu had Deri  Luluvim?"

The debate ensued, with the fellow next to me making the closing statement. "Its kfirah to say Moshe Rabeinu didn't have a Deri!!".


  1. Oh course he did. Got it from the same guy who sold him his white Shabbos shtreiml.

    1. Of course, of course.

      While we're on the subject of dress...

      You know the Yerushalmi gold caftan that Avrohom Aveinu wore, did Moshe Rabeinu have the same minhag?!?

  2. MRAH predated the farming that separated off the deri family of date palm trees. Besides, he probably took a different lulav each day, and didn't need to worry about making sure the tiyomes (middle central leaf, which ideally shouldn't be split, and may not be split more than a tefach) is all that tightly closed.

    For that matter (and taking the final step away from trying to be funny), since deri lulavim tend to have a lot of qorei (that brown stuff) on them, I'm not sure they're more hadar -- the appearance isn't as green as they could be. They may be more likely to be kosher, but for someone who could simply pick another lulav right before shaking (assuming Yehoshua would let Moshe to the mitzvah himself and not leap in to do it for him), that's not a reason to stint on hiddur.

    1. "he probably took a different lulav each day"

      Your introducing an interesting question...

      בראשונה היה לולב נטל במקדש שבעה, ובמדינה יום אחד.

      משחרב בית המקדש, התקין רבן יוחנן בן זכאי שיהא לולב נטל במדינה שבעה, זכר למקדש

      What was the "Din" in the Mishkon? Was the Mishkon also considered ושימחתם לפני השם שבעת ימים?

  3. Micha-

    Isn't there a hiddur in the fact that the Deri lulavim are generally much fresher, fuller and generally nicer looking than the other types?

    re. the original post, I wonder what those people would say about all the gedolim in Europe for hundreds of years who were lucky if they could get their hands on daled minim that were 'kosher l'bracha' - obviously it's not a negative reflection on someone if the opportunity isn't available. It's the same with many mitzvos.

    1. I didn't find them fresher, fuller or generally nicer looking. Maybe our suppliers have different alternative sources.

      As for history... My point was that Moshe had access to the local palm trees, not farmed lulavim. Not like pre-air-shipping Europe nor today.

      Another hiddur people might wish to consider... Do you know anyone laid off in the past year? Maybe you'd want to buy a "good enough" 4 minim and pool the rest of the money toward their tab at the local grocer. Or buy an extra set and come to him with a story about a misunderstanding and now you're stuck with a spare...

      Since I'm on the topic of bein adam lachaveiro and 4 minim... Not a hiddur, actual iqar hadin (according to R JB Soloveitchik): If the esrog vendor offers you a better price if you pay in cash, you cannot buy it in cash. To do so would be assisting the vendor in evading his taxes, and the esrog would consequently be unusable for the mitzvah (mitzvah habaah ba'aveirah -- the aveira of mesayei'ah by helping him violate dina demalkhusa). Aside from the aveirah itself.

    2. Micha, very nice suggestion. I have just one question? What is the source of this din you attribute to RJBS? It doesnt sound very Brisker. Does not Rav Chaim hold that mitzvah haba b'aveira is where the act itself is an avaira (the use of the stolen etrog constituting, according to Rav Chaim's understanding of the Rambam, an act of gezel)?

    3. James, I don't think you have that R' Chaim correct. Doesn't he distinguish between mitzvah haba'ah ba'aveirah and asei dokheh lav (in part) because only the latter involve both the aveirah and the mitzvah at the same time? In fact, the gemara's discussion explicitly talks about making sure the geneivah happened first.

      Either way, my source is an RJJ Journal article by RHSchachter. Since I didn't expect to be asked for a citation, I didn't retain enough details to give you one. (For years I said it would be the first chumerah I would teach if I were a poseiq, and was quite happy to say "barukh shekivanti" when I saw that it's real.) According to (which is all I found looking for the JRR reference) I erred -- RJBS says it's lifnei iveir, not the lesser prohibition of mesayei'ah.

    4. Your helping him evade taxes is a result of paying him in cash, but not the payment itself. Probably doesn't count as mitzvah haba be'aveirah.

  4. Lev:23

    10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest.

    - 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are home-born in Israel shall dwell in booths
    43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

    It is entirely possible that Moses did not have a Lulav at all, since these mitzvot were commanded to be kept in Eretz Yisroel - as is clear in V.10. Thus in Sefer Yehoshua, we notice that they count the Omer upon entering the land.

    Also, the mitzvah of Sukkah is to remind us of what took place in the Midbar. So were the Arba Minim used (and available) in the Midbar?

    Finally, in the book of Nehemiah (The Tirshata), Ch 8, we see there was a different understanding of the Arba Minim that we have today:

    15 and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying: 'Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.'

    1. So were the Arba Minim used (and available) in the Midbar?
      That's what I'm wondering about. Where could they procure over a million lulavim and esrogim in the middle of the desert?

    2. I heard from a Talmud Professor at Bar Ilan University (who is frum) that the citrus species (including the Citron/Esrog) was not introduced to the Middle east until much later than the First temple period.

    3. Pictures of a fingered citron (like an esrog, but this breed has multiple migalim and pitomim, like fingers from a hand) were found in the 19th cent on the walls of the temple of Thutmusis III, at Karnak, Egypt. 15th cent BCE.

    4. According to Rabbis Zivitovsky and Greenspan, that fruit, commonly called Hand of Buddha, is an Esrog with a genetic mutation. See wikipedia

    5. Buddha and Temple of Thutmosis - hardly good Jewish sources!
      Why did Ezra/Nehemiah, who after all, were the fathers of the Knesset Gedolah, have a reading somewhat different to what we do today?

  5. Mikey:
    Presumably, Yaakov Avinu planted them, just as he planted the atzai shittim used for the mishkan...


  6. Tirshata -- Very good points. Unfortunately -- and I take this to be the author's point -- it's much easier to condemn "kefirah" than to review the relevant pesukim in the Torah, or even think about the question presented. And thank you R. Micha, for the suggestion of hiddur mitzvah by performing another mitzvah.


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