Study and Theory/
Sukkot

The Laws of Sukkah

Mishneh Torah: The Laws of Sukkah

Mishneh Torah: The Laws of Sukkah, Chapter 4:

1. These are the required measurements of a sukkah: Its height should not be less than ten handbreadths nor more than twenty cubits. Its area should not be less than seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths. [There is no maximum limit to] its area, and one may increase it [to include] a number of millim. A sukkah which is less than ten handbreadths high, smaller than seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths [in area], or taller than twenty cubits - even [if the increase or decrease] is of the slightest amount - is invalid.

 

2. A sukkah which does not possess three walls is invalid. However, if it has two complete walls perpendicular to each other in the shape of [the Greek letter] gamma, it is sufficient to construct a third wall that is [only] slightly more than a handbreadth wide and place it within three handbreadths of one of the two walls. Also, one must construct the likeness of an entrance since it does not possess three complete walls. We have already explained in Hilchot Shabbat that wherever the term "a likeness of an entrance" is used, it may be a rod on one side, another rod on the opposite side, and a third above, even though it does not touch them

 

3. If the two walls were parallel to each other and there was an open space between them, one should construct a wall slightly more than four handbreadths wide and place it within three handbreadths of one of the two walls; then, [the sukkah] is kosher. However, it is necessary to construct "the likeness of an entrance. If the rods of the sechach of the sukkah extend beyond the sukkah and one wall extends with them, they are considered to be [part of] the sukkah.

 

4. Walls which are connected to the roof of the sukkah, but do not reach the earth: If they are more than three handbreadths above the earth, they are invalid; if the distance is less than that, they are kosher. [The following rules apply] should the walls be connected to the earth, without reaching the sechach: If they are ten handbreadths high, they are kosher even though are removed several cubits from the roof, provided they are positioned below the end of the roof. If the roof was separated from the wall by more than three handbreadths, it is invalid; less than this amount is kosher. If one suspended a partition which is slightly more than four handbreadths high at a distance of less than three handbreadths from the earth and a distance of less than three handbreadths from the roof, it is kosher.

 

5. When a person constructs his sukkah among the trees, using the trees as walls, it is kosher if a) they are strong enough - or he tied them and reinforced them so that they would be strong enough - that they would not be shaken by the wind at all times; and b) he filled [the space] between the branches with hay and straw, tying them so that they will not be shaken by the wind [This is necessary,] for any partition that cannot stand before a normal land wind is not considered to be a partition.

 

6. If a person constructs his sukkah on top of a wagon or on the deck of a ship, it is kosher, and one may ascend to it on the festival. If one constructs it on the treetops or on a camel's back, it is kosher, but one may not ascend to it on the festival, because climbing on a tree or animal is forbidden on a festival. If some of the walls were the result of human activity and some were trees, we consider [its structure] We may ascend to any [sukkah] where, if the trees were taken away, it would be able to stand with the walls that were built by man alone.

 

7. A sukkah that does not possess a roof is invalid. To what does this refer? A sukkah whose walls are joined to each other like a hut; alternatively, when the side of the sukkah is placed against the wall. However, if it has a roof, even only a handbreadth in width, or if one lifted the side of the sukkah close to the wall a handbreadth above the ground, it is kosher. A round sukkah - if its circumference is large enough to contain a square seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths, it is kosher even though it has no corners.

 

8. Should one place sechach over an exedrah which has projections [extending from its pillars], it is kosher, regardless of whether the projections can be seen from the inside - although they cannot be seen from the outside - or whether they can be seen from the outside - although they cannot be seen from the inside. If it does not have projections [extending from its pillars] it is not valid, because it resembles a sukkah constructed in an alley, because it has [walls on] only the two sides of the exedrah. The middle of the exedrah does not have a wall and there are no projections opposite it

 

9 [10] Should a person place sechach over an alleyway which possesses a lechi or a well which possesses pasim, it is considered a kosher sukkah only on the Sabbath of the festival. Since this lechi and these pasim are considered to be partitions with regard to the Sabbath laws, they are also considered to be partitions with regard to the laws of sukkah.

 

10 [11] Should a person implant four poles in the four corners of the roof and place sechach upon them, it is kosher. Since he placed the sechach [above] the edge of the roof, we consider that the lower walls ascend to the edge of the sechach.

 

11 [12] A sukkah which has many entrances and many windows in its walls is kosher even though the open portion exceeds the closed portion, provided there is no opening larger than ten cubits. If there is an opening larger than ten cubits, it is necessary that the closed portion exceed the open portion, even though [the opening] is constructed in the form of an entrance.

 

12 [13] A sukkah whose inner space exceeds twenty cubits [is not acceptable] Should one reduce it [by placing] pillows and coverings [on the floor], it is not considered to be reduced. [This applies even if] one considered them a permanent part of the sukkah. If one reduced the space using straw and considered it as a permanent part of the sukkah, [the space] is considered to be reduced. Needless to say, the above applies if one used earth and considered it to be a permanent part of the sukkah. However, if one [merely brought in] earth with no specific intention, [its space] is not considered to be reduced. If it was twenty cubits high, but branches [from the sechach descend within the twenty cubits, [the following principle applies:] If its shade would be greater than its open portion because of these branches alone, it is considered as having thick sechach and is kosher.

 

13 [14] When [a sukkah is more than twenty cubits high, but] one builds a bench next to the middle wall extending across its entire span - if the width of the bench is equal to the minimum width of a sukkah, it is kosher.  Should one build the bench next to the middle wall along [one] side, if there are four cubits between the bench and the [opposite] wall, it is unacceptable. If there are fewer than four cubits, it is kosher. Should one build the bench in the middle [of the sukkah], if there are more than four cubits from the edge of the bench to any of the sides [of the sukkah], it is not acceptable. If there are fewer than four cubits, it is kosher. It is considered as if the walls touch the bench, and the distance from the bench to the sechach is less than twenty cubits. If one constructs a pillar [within a sukkah whose sechach is more than twenty cubits high, the following rule applies]: Even though it is of the minimum size required of a sukkah, it is unacceptable, because its walls are not discernible. Thus, it is as if there is kosher sechach above the pillar without any walls.

 

14 [15] [The following rule applies] when [the inner space of the sukkah] was less than ten [handbreadths high] and one dug [into the ground of the sukkah] to create an [inner space] of ten [handbreadths]: If there are three handbreadths from the edge of the pit until the wall [of the sukkah], it is not acceptable. If there is less than that [amount], it is kosher, because any [distance] less than three [handbreadths] is considered to be [insignificant, and the two entities are considered to be] adjacent [to each other], as explained in Hilchot Shabbat

 

15 [16] The walls of the sukkah are kosher [although made] from all [substances] All that is necessary is a barrier of any kind. Even living beings [may serve that purpose. Thus,] a person can create a wall [of the sukkah] by using a colleague so that he can eat, drink, and sleep in the sukkah, for which his colleague is serving as a wall [even] on the holiday. The above applies when one employs the person as a wall without his conscious knowledge. However, it is forbidden to create [a wall by using a person] when the latter is conscious of the fact on the holiday. Nevertheless, it is permitted during the other days of the festival. Similarly, a person may create a fourth wall from utensils on the holiday. However, he should not create a third wall using utensils on the holiday, because, [by doing so], he is making the sukkah fit for use, and it is forbidden to create [even] a temporary tent on the holiday.

 

Mishneh Torah: The Laws of Sukkah, Chapter 5:

1. [There are requirements regarding] the sechach of a sukkah, and not all substances are acceptable [to be used for this purpose] For sechach, we may use only a substance which grows from the ground, has been detached from the ground, is not subject to contracting ritual impurity, does not have an unpleasant odor, and does not have elements which fall off and wither constantly.

 

2 When a person uses as sechach a substance which does not grow from the ground, is still connected to the ground, or is subject to contracting ritual impurity, [the sukkah] is not acceptable. However, if he transgressed and used as sechach a substance which has elements which fall off and wither, or which possesses an unpleasant odor, it is kosher. [Our Sages] said only that one should not use these as sechach lest one leave one's sukkah and depart. One must take care that the branches and leaves should not descend within ten handbreadths of the ground, so that one will not be uncomfortable when using the sukkah.

 

3. If one used metals, bones, or hides as sechach, it is unacceptable because these do not grow from the ground. If one suspended vines and the like over it until they made a sukkah, it is unacceptable, because they were not uprooted [from the ground] Should one use wooden utensils, mats that were made to lie on, and the like as sechach, it is unacceptable, because they are subject to contracting ritual impurity. Similarly, using broken and worn out utensils as sechach is unacceptable. Since these substances were subject to ritual impurity, [the latter law was instituted] lest one use broken pieces which have not yet attained a state of [unquestionable] purity.

 

4 [3] If one used foods as sechach, it is unacceptable, because they are subject to contracting ritual impurity. [When one uses] branches from a fig tree which contain figs, runners from a grape vine which contain grapes, branches of a date palm which contain dates and the like, [the following rules apply:] We see - if the waste is more than the food; then we may use them as sechach. If not, we may not use them as sechach. If one uses as sechach vegetables which, when they dry up, will wither, and none of their substance will remain, even though they are now fresh, their place is considered to be vacant, as though they did not exist.

 

5 [4] If one used as sechach branches of flax which were not crushed and combed, they are kosher, because they are still considered to be wood. After the flax has been crushed and combed, it may not be used as sechach, since its form has changed and it is as though it is no longer a product of the earth. One may use ropes made from palm bast or hemp and the like as sechach, since their original form is unchanged and ropes are not considered to be utensils.

 

6 [5] [The following rules apply] when one uses arrows as sechach. Those which are "male" are kosher; those which are "female" are not acceptable. Even though [ultimately,] they will be filled with iron, they have a receptacle. Hence, they are susceptible to contracting ritual impurity, as are all utensils with receptacles.

 

7 [6] A mat of reeds, of raw rubber, or of hemp - if it is small, we may assume that it was made to lie on. Therefore, it may not be used for sechach unless it was [explicitly] made for this purpose. If it is large, we may assume that it was made for shade; therefore, it may be used for sechach unless it was [explicitly] made to lie on. If it has a border, even a large mat may not be used as sechach, because it is considered to be a receptacle. Even if the border were removed, it may not be used as sechach, because it would be considered to be a broken utensil.

 

8 [7]  Boards which are less than four handbreadths wide may be used for sechach even though they have been planed. If they are more than four handbreadths wide, they should not be used as sechach, even though they have not been planed. This is a decree [instituted] lest one sit under a roof and regard it as a sukkah. If one placed a board which was more than four handbreadths wide over [a sukkah, the sukkah] is kosher. However, one should not sleep under the board. A person who did sleep under the board has not fulfilled his obligation. There were boards that were four handbreadths wide, but less than four handbreadths thick. A person turned them on their side so that they would not be four handbreadths wide to use them as sechach. This is not acceptable, because a board is unacceptable for use as sechach whether one uses its width or thickness.

 

9 [8] A roof which is not covered by a ceiling - i.e., the plaster and the stones - but rather has only boards fixed in place, is not acceptable, since they were not placed there for the purpose of a sukkah, but to be part of the house. Therefore, if one lifted up the boards and removed the nails with the intent [that they serve] as a sukkah, it is kosher. [This applies provided] that each board is not four handbreadths wide. Similarly, it is kosher if one removed a board from between two others and replaced it with kosher sechach, with the intention [that it serve] as a sukkah.

 

10 [9] A sukkah that was made for any purpose whatsoever - even if it was not made for the purpose of [fulfilling] the mitzvah - if it was made according to law, it is kosher. However, it must be made for the purpose of shade. Examples of this are sukkot made for gentiles, sukkot made for animals, and the like In contrast, a sukkah that came about on its own accord is unacceptable, because it was not made for the purpose of shade. Similarly, when a person hollows out a place in a heap of produce and thus makes a sukkah, it is not considered to be a sukkah, because the produce was not piled there for this purpose. Accordingly, were one to create a space one handbreadth [high] and seven [handbreadths] in area for the purpose of a sukkah, and afterwards hollow it out till it reached ten [handbreadths], it is kosher, since its sechach was placed for the purpose of shade.

 

11 [10] We may not use bundles of straw, bundles of wood or bundles of reeds as sechach. This decree [was instituted] lest one place those bundles on one's roof to dry out, and then change one's mind and sit under them with the intent [that they serve as] a sukkah. The person did not place the sechach there originally for the purpose of shade. Thus, it resembles a sukkah that came about on its own accord. If one untied [the bundles], they are acceptable [for use as sechach] A bundle is considered to be no fewer than twenty-five units.

 

12 [11] Small bundles that were tied together [to be sold] by number may be used as sechach

Similarly, if one cuts off the top of a date palm and the branches are bound to it, it may be used as sechach, because elements that are bound naturally are not considered to be bundles. Furthermore, even if one tied the tops of the branches from one side, and they thus appear to be a single bundle with one of its two ends bound naturally and the other bound as a result of human activity, it may be used as sechach. A single tree which is bound up is not considered to be a bundle, but rather a single piece of wood, since [the branches] are bound together naturally. Similarly, any knot which is not strong enough to hold when carried is not considered a knot [and the resulting bundle may be used as sechach]

 

13 [12] A person who constructs his sukkah under a tree is considered as though he built it within his home. If one draped the leaves and branches of trees [over the sukkah], and then placed sechach over them, and only afterwards detached them, [the following rules apply:]

If the amount of [kosher] sechach exceeded [the branches], it is kosher. If the amount of sechach which originally was kosher did not exceed [the branches], one must move them after detaching them, so that they will have been put in place for the purpose of a sukkah.

 

14 [13] If one mixed a substance which may be used for sechach with a substance that may not be used for sechach and used the two as sechach, even though the quantity of kosher sechach exceeds that of the substance which was not acceptable as sechach, [the mixture] is not acceptable. If one covered the sukkah with the two substances and kept them separate, [the following rules apply:] If there are more than three handbreadths of the substance which is not acceptable as sechach in one place, whether in the middle of the sukkah or at its side, it is not acceptable. [14] Where does the above apply? In a small sukkah. However, in a large sukkah, where there is a substance that is unacceptable as sechach in the middle, it disqualifies the sukkah if there are four handbreadths of it. [If there is] less than that, the sukkah is kosher; Where the substance that is unacceptable as sechach is at the side, it disqualifies the sukkah if there are four cubits of it. [If there is] less than that, the sukkah is kosher.

 

15. For example: a) [the roof of] a house which was opened in the center and sechach placed over the opening. b) a courtyard surrounded by an exedra which was covered with sechach. c) a large sukkah over which was placed a substance that was not acceptable as sechach near the sides of its walls. [In all these cases,] if there are four cubits [or more] from the edge of the kosher sechach until the wall, it is not acceptable. If there is less than that amount, we view it as though the wall has been made crooked - i.e., the substance that is not acceptable as sechach is considered part of the wall and it is kosher. This concept is a halachah received by Moses on Mount Sinai.

16 [15] What is a small sukkah? Any [sukkah] whose area is no more than seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths; [What is meant by] a large one? Any [sukkah] [whose area is large enough] that seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths of kosher sechach will remain besides the sechach which is not acceptable.

 

17 [16] If one used as sechach substances that were acceptable as sechach and substances that were not acceptable as sechach, and placed them alongside each other, leaving no place with non-kosher sechach more than three handbreadths in area, [the following rules apply:]

If the total of the kosher sechach exceeds that of the non-kosher sechach, it is kosher. If there was an exactly equal amount of both substances, it is not acceptable even though there is not a single place which has three handbreadths [of non-kosher sechach] [This decision is rendered] because non-kosher sechach is considered to be open space

 

18 [17] If one spread a cloth above [the sechach] or spread one below it to catch [the leaves] which fall, it is unacceptable. If one spread it [under the sechach] as a decoration, it is kosher. Similarly, if one covered the sukkah with sechach as required by law and adorned it with various types of fruit, delicacies, and articles which hang from either the walls or the sechach as a decoration, it is kosher

 

19 [18] Sukkah decorations do not reduce its height, but they do reduce its width. If the sukkah decorations are four handbreadths or more removed from the roof, it is unacceptable, because it is as though a person who sits there is not sitting under the sechach, but rather under the decorations, which are foods and utensils that are not acceptable as sechach

 

20 [19] The [following rules apply when the] sechach has open spaces through which the sky can be seen: If the area of the open spaces is equivalent to that of the space covered by sechach, it is not acceptable, because the portion exposed to the sun will be greater than the shaded portion. Whenever the portion exposed to the sun is greater than the shaded portion, it is not considered as sechach. If the sechach exceeds the open space, it is kosher

 

21 [20] When does the above apply? When there is no one open space of three handbreadths. However, if there is an open space of three handbreadths - whether in the center or at the side - it is unacceptable until one reduces [the space] to less than three. If one used substances that were not acceptable as sechach - e.g., pillows and blankets - to reduce the space, it is kosher if the sukkah is large. If it is a small sukkah, it is not acceptable unless [the space] was reduced with a substance that is acceptable as sechach. When the shaded portion of most of the sukkah exceeds the portion exposed to the sun, although in the lesser part of the sukkah the portion exposed to the sun exceeds the shaded portion, because as a whole the shaded portion exceeds the portion exposed to the sun, it is kosher

 

22 [21] The proper way is that sechach should be thin, so that the large stars can be seen through it. However, even though it is thick - like [the roof of] a house - and stars cannot be seen through it, it is kosher. If the sechach is uneven - i.e., some of it high and some of it low - it is kosher, provided there is less than three handbreadths between the upper and lower [portions of the sechach] If the upper portion [of the sechach] is a handbreadth or more wide, even though it is more than three handbreadths above [the lower portion], we consider it to be descending and touching the edge of the lower portion. [This applies] provided it is aligned opposite the edge of the lower portion

 

23 [22] When a person constructs one sukkah on top of another sukkah, the lower one is unacceptable. It is considered as though it had been constructed in a house. [However,] the upper one is kosher. When do we say that the lower one is unacceptable? When the inner space of the upper sukkah is ten handbreadths or more [high] and the roof of the lower sukkah is strong enough to hold the pillows and covers of the upper sukkah, even if that is done with difficulty. However, if the inner space of the upper sukkah is less than ten handbreadths [high], or the roof of the lower sukkah is not strong enough to hold the pillows and covers of the upper sukkah, even with difficulty, even the lower sukkah is kosher. This applies provided the height of both together does not exceed twenty cubits, since [use of] the lower sukkah is permitted because of the sechach of the upper one

 

24 [23] A bed [with a canopy placed] inside a sukkah: If [the canopy] is more than ten handbreadths high, a person who sits under it does not fulfill his obligation, because it is considered to be a sukkah within a sukkah. Similarly, a canopy with a roof - even as small as a handbreadth: If it is ten handbreadths high, one may not sleep under it in a sukkah. By the same token, if one sets up four pillars and spreads a sheet over them, if they are ten [handbreadths high], they are considered to be a sukkah within a sukkah.

 

25 [24] In contrast, should one spread a sheet over two pillars or [use] a canopy that has a roof of less than a handbreadth - no matter how high they are - it is permitted to sleep under them within a sukkah. They are not considered to be a sukkah within a sukkah, because they do not have a roof

 

26 [25] A borrowed sukkah is fit [to be used on the holiday] Similarly, a stolen sukkah is also fit [for use]. What does the latter imply? If a person attacked a colleague, forced him to leave his sukkah, stole it, and dwelled in it, the attacker has fulfilled his obligation, because landed property cannot be stolen. [Similarly,] if he stole wood and made a sukkah from it, he has fulfilled his obligation, because the Sages ordained that the owner of the wood is entitled only to the monetary worth of the wood. Even if one stole boards and merely put them in place without attaching them or changing anything about them, he has fulfilled his obligation. If a person constructs his sukkah in the public domain, it is acceptable.

 

Mishneh Torah: The Laws of Sukkah, Chapter 6:

 

1. Women, slaves, and minors are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah of] sukkah. A tumtum and an androgynous are obligated because of the doubt [concerning their status]. Similarly, a person who is half slave and half free is obligated. A minor who does not require his mother's [presence] - i.e., a child of five or six - is obligated [to fulfill the mitzvah] of sukkah according to Rabbinic decree, to train him in [the performance of] mitzvot.

 

2. The sick and their attendants are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] of sukkah. This applies not only to a person who is dangerously ill, but also to one with a headache or a sore eye. A person who is uncomfortable [when dwelling in the sukkah] is freed from the obligation [to fulfill the mitzvah] of sukkah. This applies to the person himself, but not to his attendants. Who is "a person who is uncomfortable [when dwelling in the sukkah]"? A person who cannot sleep in the sukkah because of the wind or because of the flies, mites, or the like, or because of the smell.

 

3. A mourner is obligated [to fulfill the mitzvah] of sukkah | And a groom, his attendants, and all the members of the wedding party are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] of sukkah throughout the seven days of [the wedding] festivities.

 

4. Emissaries charged with a mission involving a mitzvah are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] of sukkah both during the day and at night. People who journey during the day are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] of sukkah during the day and are obligated at night. People who journey during the night are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] of sukkah at night and are obligated during the day. A city's day watchmen are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] of sukkah during the day and are obligated at night. Its night watchmen are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] of sukkah at night and are obligated during the day. The watchmen of gardens and orchards are freed from [fulfilling the mitzvah] during the day and the night, because if the watchman constructs a sukkah, a thief will realize that the watchman has a fixed place and will go to steal from another place.

 

5. How must the mitzvah of dwelling in the sukkah be fulfilled? A person must eat, drink, and live in the sukkah throughout all seven days [of the festival], both during the day and at night, in the same manner as he dwells in his home throughout the year. During these seven days, he must consider his house as a temporary dwelling and the sukkah as his permanent home, as [Leviticus 23:42] states: "You shall dwell in sukkot for seven days". What does this imply? His attractive utensils and attractive bedding [should be brought] to the sukkah. His drinking utensils - i.e., his cups and crystal pitchers - [should be brought] to the sukkah. However, utensils used for food - i.e., pans and plates - [may be left] outside the sukkah. A candelabra [should be brought] to the sukkah. However, if the sukkah is small, it should be left outside the sukkah.

 

6. We should eat, drink, and sleep in the sukkah through the entire seven days [of the festival], both during the day and at night. It is forbidden to eat a meal outside the sukkah for the entire seven [day period]. However, [there is no prohibition] if one eats a snack the measure of a k'beitzah or less, or even slightly more. One may not sleep outside the sukkah at all, even a brief nap. It is permissible to drink water and eat fruit outside the sukkah. However, a person who follows the stringency of not drinking even water outside the sukkah is worthy of praise.

 

7. Eating in the sukkah on the first night of the festival is an obligation. If a person eats merely a k'zayit of bread, he fulfills his obligation. Afterwards, [the matter is left to one's] volition. If one desires to eat a meal, one must eat it in the sukkah. If one desires, throughout the seven [days of the festival], one may eat only fruit or roasted grain outside of the sukkah. The same laws apply as those regarding the eating of matzah on Pesach.

 

8. It is forbidden for a person to sit and eat with his head and the majority of his body inside a sukkah while his table is in his home or outside the sukkah. It is considered as if he did not eat inside the sukkah. [Rather,] the table must also be inside the sukkah. This was decreed lest one be drawn after one's table. This law applies even in a large sukkah.

 

9. Throughout the seven days [of the festival], a person should read in the sukkah. However, when he attempts to comprehend what he reads in depth and appreciate its details, he should do so outside the sukkah, so that his mind will be settled. When a person prays, he may pray inside the sukkah or outside the sukkah, as he desires.

 

10. If rain descends, a person may enter his home. When is one permitted to leave [the sukkah]? When enough raindrops descend into the sukkah so that they would spoil a cooked dish - even a dish of beans - were they to fall into it. If a person was eating in the sukkah and rain descended, and hence, he entered his home, if the rains stop we do not obligate him to return to his sukkah {that entire night} until he is finished eating. If he was sleeping and rain descended, and hence, he entered his home, we do not obligate him to return to his sukkah that entire night should the rains cease. Rather, he may remain sleeping in his house that entire night until dawn.

 

11. A person should not take apart his sukkah after he finishes eating on the seventh day [of Sukkot]. However, from the afternoon on, he may take down his utensils and remove them. If he has no place to put the utensils, he should reduce its space by at least four handbreadths by four handbreadths. If he has to eat later that day, he must eat in the sukkah, because the mitzvah extends throughout the seven days.

 

12. Whenever a person enters a sukkah with the intention of sitting down throughout the seven [days of Sukkot], he should recite the following blessing before sitting: [Blessed are You...] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah. On the first night of the festival, one should first recite the blessing on the sukkah, and then the blessing for the occasion. One should recite all the blessings over a cup of wine. Thus, one should recite kiddush while standing, recite the blessing leishev basukkah, sit, and then recite the blessing shehecheyanu. This was the custom of my teachers and the Rabbis of Spain: to recite kiddush while standing on the first night of the Sukkot festival, as explained.

 

13. At present, when we celebrate holidays for two days, we dwell in the sukkah for eight days. On the eighth day, which is the first day of the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, we dwell in the sukkah, but do not recite the blessing leishev basukkah. Similarly, a tumtum and an androgynous never recite the blessing leishev basukkah because their obligation [to perform the mitzvah is based] on doubt, and a blessing is never recited when one is doubtful [of one's obligation].

 

14. After a person finishes eating on the eighth day [of Sukkot], he should take down his utensils and remove them. When a person has no place to put the utensils, [the following rules apply]: If it is a small [sukkah], he should bring his candelabra into it; if it is a large sukkah, he should bring in his pots, plates, and the like, to bring to mind that it is no longer acceptable and that its mitzvah is completed. Since the day is a holiday, one may not reduce its space and nullify it.

 

15. A person who did not construct a sukkah [before the holiday] - whether intentionally or unintentionally - should construct a sukkah on Chol HaMoed. One should even construct a sukkah on the final moments of the seventh day, because its mitzvah lasts throughout the seventh day.

 

16. The wood with which the sukkah was constructed is forbidden [to be used for other purposes] on all eight days of the festival. This applies to both the wood used for the walls and the wood used for the sechach. Throughout [these] eight days, no benefit may be derived from it for other purposes. [They are prohibited on the eighth day] because the sukkah is muktzeh the entire seventh day, including the period beyn hash'mashot. Since it was muktzeh during the period beyn hash'mashot, it is muktzeh on the entire day [that follows].

 

17 [16]. Similarly, it is forbidden to take from the food and beverages that were hung in the sukkah as decorations for all eight days [of the festival]. However, if at the time one hung [the decorations], he made the condition: "I will not refrain from using them during the entire period of beyn hash'mashot," he is entitled to use them whenever he desires, because he did not set them aside, nor did the sanctity of the sukkah encompass them, nor are they considered part of it.

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Chagim Center

Home for the Jewish Holidays

Tel: 04-6536344

Fax: 04-6532683

Email: machon@chagim.co.il

Kibbutz Beit Hashita 1080100

Israel

Registered Foundation No. 58-0459212

Department of Education

World Zionist Organization

Tel: +972-2-6202663

Fax:+972-2-6202662

Email: projectsedu@wzo.org.il 

48 King George St., P.O.B 92

Jerusalem 9100002

Israel

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