Rashi comments (25:16): יעקב אבינו נטע ארזים במצרים, וכשמת ציוה את בניו להעלותן עמהן כשיצאו ממצרים, שעתיד הקב״ה לצוות אתכם לעשות משכן במדבר מעצי שטים, ראו שיהו מזומנין בידכם.
Where did the wood to build the mishkan come from? Yaakov planted cedar trees in Egypt and instructed his children that when they leave, they should take the wood with them, as it would be needed to build a mishkan.
R' Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi asks: Just like Hashem made a miracle and the winds blew the precious stones needed for avnei shoham and avnei miluim into the camp of Bnei Yisrael, so too, Hashem could make a miracle and somehow Bnei Yisrael would find the wood needed for the mishkan. Why did Yaakov go out of his way to plant trees?
There is a big difference between precious stones and wood for beams. You can't make a diamond or a ruby or an emerald. You can just discover them. A tree, however, can be planted, nourished, tended to, cared for. Yaakov was not concerned that some raw material would be lacking for the creation of the mishkan. His concern was that the human effort to procure those materials would be lacking. It is the toil and effort, the preparation that goes into making something from the earliest stages, which is what sanctifies the outcome. The gemara (B"M 85) tells us that R' Chiya trapped animals, made parchment, and wrote the scrolls that he then used for teaching Torah. He could have bought the parchment in a stationary store, but R' Chiya knew that preparation done b'kedusha ensures an outcome of kedusha. Therefore, he made the parchment himself. Yaakov planted trees to allow his children to invest their efforts in their growth, to take a hand in the earliest preparations and toil to make the mishkan.
The Torah describes the wood for the beams of the mishkan as "atzei shitim omdim." Chazal learn from the word "omdim" that the beams had to be stood upright in the same way as they grew, "derech g'deilasan." Achronim debate what the scope of this din is. Some apply it very broadly to any cheftza shel mitzvah. Some go far as to say that if you hold a branch of a hadas upside down, for example, you can't say the bracha of "borei atzei besamim" on it because an eitz that is not held derech g'deilasan is not an eitz. Meshech Chochma narrows the scope. He is medayek that this requirement of "omdim" is mentioned only in connection with the beams, but not in connection with the aron or mizbeyach, which also were made of wood, and therefore writes that it does not even apply to all the kelim in the mishkan. Why the difference? He explains that the mishkan was dismantled when the camp moved; the beams had to be taken down and then put back up. The aron and mizbeyach were never broken apart and put back together. Once assembled, they remained as-is. The din of derech g'deilasan only applies to things that are constantly being re-constructed or moved, not to things in a static state.
With this he explains the view of the Tur that there is no din of derech g'deilsasan for walls of a sukkah -- you don't have to ensure each year that the sukkah wall is always stood with the same side up. Shibolei haLeket writes that it is better to do so. The Tur disagrees because derech g'deilsasan does not apply to sukkah which is set up once and you are done for the week. (The other view is interesting because the wall of a sukkah is not even a cheftza shel mitzvah. The mitzvah is yeshivas sukkah, not building a sukkah.)
R' Noson Gestetner ties together the machshava idea behind Yaakov's planting of the trees that we started with with this din of derech g'deilasan. Yaakov planted trees because trees grow and change and need our care. It is that precisely items that are not static -- beams that are taken apart, a lulav and esrog that we pick up and put down -- where the din of derech g'deilasan applies.
If "shittim" means "acacia", they can be found in oases. I don't think cedars would have lasted, as I am pretty sure you can't get the descendants of Yaaqov's trees to grow (and grow well enough to have their own offspring) in Egypt or the Sinai.ReplyDelete
But acacia don't grow straight up and tall.
Derekh gedilasan is an interesting concept. We learn from this pasuq to use all plants this way, including the 4 minim. But we don't hold lulavim horizontally. And the estrog is held uqetz down, but estrogim on the tree hang down from their uqetz. Derekh gedilasam apparently means the more connected to the ground should be downward. And not that they should be used in the same orientation they grew.
So, atzei shitim omedim does not rule out the possibility that shitim are acacia.
Meanwhile "erez" is the Lashon haQodesh word usually identified as "cedar". As in bayis rishon's use of Arzei haLvanon -- and indeed cedars were common in Lebanon until the Industrial Era. (Just look at the Lebanese flag!) Erez is also paired in many mitzvos with eizov yielding aggadita about the tall and mighty being paired with a tiny herb that grows in the cracks. Which fits the cedar.
"But acacia don't grow straight up and tall."Delete
I believe that is the case when they grow wild. But if pruned properly, they will grow that way.
Acc. one website:
Importance of Pruning an Acacia
Growing naturally with no pruning, the acacia tree tends to sprout multiple trunks and wispy branches that droop. If you don’t cut back an acacia and shape it for a single trunk, it will stay fairly small and look more like a large shrub than a tree. With pruning, however, you get a shapelier, single-trunk tree that grows to about 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 m.) tall.
That's a great citation. I, too, wondered about that, and the idea that a scraggly shrub can grow that tall- like ten amos tall, for example - is amazing.Delete
>>>And the estrog is held uqetz down, but estrogim on the tree hang down from their uqetz.ReplyDelete
Meduyak from Rashi Sukkah 45b כל המצות. כגון קרשי המשכן ועמודים ולולב והדס וערבה: that esrog is not among the items that needs derech g'deilasan. See
In addition to the source above, as I wrote in the post, could be derech gdeilasan is a din in the shem eitz (see MG"A 297:1), which would not apply to a fruit. This also explains why it does not apply to walls of sukkah, as there is no din requiring the walls to be made of wood. Lulav comes from a tree and trees grow upright -- nothing to do with whether the branches themselves stick out horizontally.
Except that the SA (OC 651:5) gives holding the esrog upside down during the berakhah as one suggestion for preserving over la'asiyasan. So the Machaber doesn't rule like your diyuq. And this is a very common minhag lemaaseh, endorsed by both the AhS and the MB (s"q 25). Whether or not your diyuq actually is shitas Rashi and/or the MA, it's not what "we hold". And in any case, the fact that anyone CAN hold that an esrog pitom up is derekh gedilasam means that one cannot assume that DG means the orientation in which that item itself grew.Delete
(I find your diyuq in the MA weak. His point there is about Borei Atzei Besamim rather than Minei Besamim for havdalah. So of course he gives an example of a tree. I am more surprised the MA picked lulav and not the more common choice for havalah - hadasim.)
I don't know the justification for your last sentence -- "Lulav comes from a tree and trees grow upright". We aren't holding the trunk of the palm tree. What we are holding is not the orientation in which it grows. You are arguing it's the orientation in which that which it comes from grows. I am arguing it seems to just be root-most part down. I find mine more intuitive, but I don't really have an argument for or against either.
BTW, while most trees do grow upright, I brought up the possibility that shitim means accacia because they tend to grow with multiple trunks, all at angles to the vertical. Which is why I went into derekh gedilasan not always being the orientation in which this item grew. Your explanation -- dismissing the example of esrog and lulavim being pointed like trees, would not allow acacia trees to be shittim, since the walls of the Mishkan were vertical and that is called DB. Mine does.
And in any case, why were we all taught in yeshiva that shitim and erez both mean cedar? Are there any true synonyms in Lashon haQodesh? Is one a family of cedars and the other a breed? In which case what breed of cedars could grow in Egypt or the Sinai? Back when this was discussed on Avodah, I found an Egyptian Ministry of Tourism site that said that Pharonic gardens boasting imported trees would have "sant tree, sycamore, lotus fruits and willow, but when they wanted to make things from cedar wood, they would have to import from Syria. They aren't just not native to Egypt or the Sinai, they apparently cannot grow there. (At least not bederekh hateva.)
>>>the fact that anyone CAN hold that an esrog pitom up is derekh gedilasam means that one cannot assume that DG means the orientation in which that item itself grew.ReplyDelete
The M"B right on that din (it's the MG"A really) explains that pitom on top is derech gdeilasan because the fruit should grow upward with the pitom on top, but its weight topples it over so on the tree the pitom ends up on the bottom.
I also see that he holds that Derekh Gedilasan only means in contrast to upside down. Which would mean that (1) lulavim aren't a problem (except for the question of downward na'anu'im); and (2) shitim could be acacia wood, even though they don't grow vertically, the way kerashim stood.Delete
So, the whole topic I was trying to deal with -- could shitim mean acacia? -- dooes not have a DG issue.
Rabbi Shlomo Cynamon on Terumah: Australia - Upside-down Mizvot?ReplyDelete