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Please explain the following Gemmorah:

ואמר רבה א"ר יוחנן עתיד הקב"ה לעשות סוכה לצדיקים מעורו של לויתן
And Rabba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will prepare a sukka for the righteous from the skin of the Leviathan (whale or giant fish) (B"B 75a)

Why should we sit in Succah made of a giant fish skin?

  • I'd imagine its skin is strong enough not to sway in a normal wind, and can support bamboo poles. – DanF Nov 21 at 15:02
  • are you assuming that this is reference to an halachically valid sukkah for the celebration of a holiday or that this will be reminiscent of God's protection of his people? It begs questions about the question of holidays and bodily comfort in the WTC. – rosends Nov 21 at 15:09
  • Because they will eat its flesh? – Kazi bácsi Nov 21 at 15:59
  • @rosends, Is Zech 14:16-19 (gentile nations celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles) about the WTC? – Ray Butterworth Nov 22 at 13:43
  • @RayButterworth It seems to be at some future messianic time. Whether that is synonymous with the WTC is much more complex. See here judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… – rosends Nov 24 at 19:12
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This text is clearly allegorical and is not to be taken in the literal sense. Also, your translation of Leviathan as whale or giant fish is only a modern idea. It is not how traditional Judaism understands this term.

If you look in the commentary from Sefer Pri Tzaddik concerning this section of Gemmorah, it explains that these creatures and their associated skins are allegorical references to the different aspects of the Yetzer HaRa and how, in the final redemption, they will be utilized in their original, appropriate manner intended by G-d.


וזה ענין הסעודה שיעשה לצדיקים מלויתן דהיינו שיושאר המטעמים חמידו דאורייתא שע"ז התכלית נברא יצר של התאוה שיהי' חשק לד"ת. וכן א' בגמ' (ב"ב עה.) עתיד הקב"ה לעשות סוכה לצדיקים מעורו של לויתן כו' ומשור הבר לא מצינו שיושאר מה. והוא שמחשק התאוה יושאר בקדושה להיות חמידו דאורייתא וז"ש והשאר פורסו הקב"ה על חומות ירושלים וזיוו מבהיק כו'.

  • How is Leviatan connected to Succah? I don't see anything related to Succah - why sit in it? DOn't we hold that all mItzvos will be cancelled, incl Succos? – Al Berko Nov 21 at 16:29
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    @AlBerko Concerning your last comment, the meal being referenced is part of the 'Days of Moshiach'. The concept of the performance of mitzvot being nullified in the "World to Come" is at a later stage, after the 'Days of Moshiach'. Your additional question of "How is Leviathan connected to a sukkah?" is a separate idea. – Yaacov Deane Nov 21 at 16:38
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The Maharsha there says that just like the meat is eaten specificly in Yerushalaim, which he interprets to be as food bought with money of maser shaeni which is a mitzvah, also the skin will be used for a mitzvah. See the explanation inside, I am summarizing.

Why for a succa and not, say, for writing sifrei torah? It probably has to do with the end of the Gemara there, that the skin will be used to cover the walls of Yerushalaim.

(BTW, according to this it is clear that the walls will be from Livyoson skin but there roof will be kosher schach.)

  • Great, what's the big deal? Why not all-loved cows? – Al Berko Nov 21 at 21:40
  • Huh? The Maharsha learns that once we are eating the Livyoson, we will use it's skin for a succa too. The point, according to this, is not the succa but the Livyoson. Which other mitzvah do you want to use the skin for? (Don't answer that question.) – Mordechai Nov 21 at 21:49

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