Wrap it Up (On Tallit, Succah, and Yishuv HaAretz)

What do the following three mitzvot have in common?

  1. Tallit
  2. Succah
  3. Yishuv HaAretz (settling in Eretz Yisroel)

1) These commandments physically surround the person who fulfills them.

The blessing recited upon donning a tallit (and commanded us to enwrap ourselves with tzitzit) is followed by wrapping the head and most of the body in the tallit, basically surrounding the wearer with the mitzvah.

Likewise, one who sits in the succah is physically encompassed by its walls. The mishna (Succah 2:7) stipulates that one’s head and most of his body must be inside the succah. (A difference of opinion between Hillel and Shamai is recorded, regarding whether his table must be inside, as well.)

And in the same vein, one who fulfills the mitzvah of actually living in the Land of Israel (not only mostly in the head) is physically surrounded by the very mitzvah itself.

2) These commandments share the principle of (make it, and not from what was already made)

As it applies to the tallit, this principle dictates that the fringes be made by looping strings through the corners and tying them. Previously tied strings may not be reattached as-is to a new garment, as this would go against the principle of making the fringes, by using what was already made.

Regarding the succah, the s’chach (leaves/branches/bamboo) must be placed on top after the succah is built. Walls cannot be attached to a succah-ceiling that is already in place, without rearranging the s’chach, because what makes the succah is the s’chach.

And lastly, when it comes to Yishuv HaAretz, one must help rebuild Eretz Yisroel, and cannot expect to come when it is already-made. Chag Sa’meach!