Rabban Gamaliel said to the sages, “Do you see my servant Tabbi? He is a scholar (Talmud Hakham), and knows that servants are exempt from the duty of Sukkah: therefore he sleeps under a bed.” From this we learn that he who sleeps under a bed has not fulfilled his duty.

R. Simeon said, “From R. Gamaliel’s remarks we have learned two things, that servants are free from the duty of a Sukkah, and that one who sleeps under a bed has not fulfilled the duty of Sukkah.”

Why did R. Simeon say, “from R. Gamaliel’s decree.” [R. Simeon should have said from R. Gamaliel’s comment?] R. Simeon comes to teach us by the way that R. A’ha bar Adda, according to others the same in the name of R. Hamnuna, quoting Rabh, who said, “From where do we know that even a remark of a scholar must be studied? Since it is written [Ps. i.] “And the leaf does not wither,” even the extemporaneous comments (the non-fruits) need to be studied.”

Sukkah Chapter 2


27 September in History

In 1540, the Society of Jesus known as The Jesuits was founded by Ignatius Loyola The first Jesuits were Spanish Christians who began their work at a time when the reconquest of Spain from the Moslems was but recently accomplished, and persons with Moorish or Jewish ancestry were under suspicion. It is accordingly much to their credit that the Jesuits were firmly opposed (particularly under Ignatius and his first three successors as Superior General of the Jesuits) to ecclesiastical anti-Semitism and to the Inquisition’s persecution of suspected Jews. When Ignatius was accused of having partly Jewish ancestry, he replied, “If only I did! What could be more glorious than to be of the same blood as the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin, and our Lord Himself?”

19 Tishrei in History

Rav Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797). At the age of seven he gave his first public discourse and displayed a fully developed intellect. By the time he was ten he had advanced to the point where he no longer needed a teacher. At the age of 35 he was approached by one of the leading sages of that time, Rabbi Yonason Eybschutz, to act as an intermediary in the conflict between him and another great sage, Rabbi Yakov Emden.

The Gaon’s son testified that for fifty years his father did not sleep for more than two hours in a twenty-four hour period. His breadth of knowledge was amazing. He was capable of stating from memory the number of times any sage was mentioned in any particular book of the Talmud. His knowledge of both the revealed and the hidden parts of the Torah was beyond compare. The Gaon considered secular knowledge to be a vital adjunct to Torah study. He was knowledgeable in almost all secular fields and authored books on grammar and mathematics.

Among his many writings is Aderes Eliyahu, a commentary on Chumash.