A GUIDE TO THE LAWS OF SUCCOS

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Chapter six

The Halachos of the succah Walls

1. From which materials may the walls of the succah be made?

All materials are permitted to be used for the construction of the succah walls (Shulchan Aruch, section 1). But one should preferably avoid supporting the s'chach with materials that are themselves prohibited to be used as s'chach. The reason for this is because the Rabbis were concerned that this would lead to these materials being used themselves as s'chach.

However it would be permitted to support the s'chach with such materials that are not usually used as s'chach, or materials that are only rabbinically prohibited to be used as s'chach (Shulchan Aruch, chapter 629, section 19). If poles were placed at the corners of the succah in a way that they support the s'chach it would then be permitted according to everyone to use any sort of material for the succah walls (Biur halachah) see also above chapter 5 questions 31, 36, what was written in the name of the Chazon Ish).

2. What would the halachah be if the succah had more sunshine than shade as a result of its walls?

If the succah is covered properly and the s'chach was sufficient to cause the succah to have more shade than sunshine, it would be permitted.

3. Is it permissible to make the walls of the succah from foul smelling materials?

Preferably the walls or the s'chach should not be made from bad smelling materials (Ramoh, section 1). But after the fact it would be permitted even by the s'chach. However if the odor is so bad that it is intolerable it is possible that there would be a Torah prohibition upon the succah (M.B., section 4).

4. Is it permissible to make the walls of the succah frommaterials that will dry out within seven days?

It is brought down in the Ramoh that the walls of the succah should not be made from materials that will dry out during the seven days of the holiday, leaving less than the minimum measurement for the walls (see next question, for minimum height see chapter 9 question 20).

5. How many walls are required for a succah and what should their length be?

We derive from Biblical verses that three walls are required for a succah. The length of two of the walls should be at least seven tefachim (see further, chapter 10). We know from halacha líMoshe míSinai that the third wall may be only one tefach in length. However the Rabbis also required that this third wall should have the appearance of a wall (see the following question for an explanation of this).

6. What is the meaning of the above statement "that the third wall of the succah, which is only one tefach in length, should appear as a wall"?

The meaning is that if you have two walls attached to each other then you would have to make a third wall whose width is more than a tefach. You should place this wall within three tefachim of one of the other walls as shown in the diagram. As long as the space between them is less than three tefachim it is considered as lavud (meaning that the space is considered as if it were filled up). As a result we now have a third wall with a length of four tefachim, this being the majority of the minimum length of a wall of a kosher succah, which is seven tefachim (M.B. section 6). But in order to complete the requirement for seven tefachim an "entrance frame" (tzuras hapesach) should be made. This involves placing an erect board opposite the small wall, at the far end of the area of the succah, and then placing a crossboard extending from the top of the small wall to the top of the erect board. (The succah is kosher even if the upper horizontal board is not actually touching the vertical ones As a result the entrance frame will extend from the small wall till the end of the succah. (see following questions till 9)

35. What is the minimum height for a succah wall?

If the succah is only ten tefachim high, then a wall of just over four tefachim would be used. This is accomplished by placing the wall vertically midway in the succah. In such a situation we can apply the principle of lavud above and below it and thereby consider the entire area as closed (see diagram).

However, if the succah is much higher then ten tefachim, then the minimum size of the wall would be just over seven tefachim. This would be accomplished by placing the wall within three tefachim of the ground and by applying the principle of lavud we would have a wall ten tefachim high (see diagram).

It should be noted, however, that this halachah would apply only in a situation where there is no other wall available, but if there is a proper wall then we should not rely on a wall that is kosher only through the principle of lavud (Aruch Hashulchan, section 30) The proper measurement for ten tefachim is one meter, or at the very least 98.2 cm. (For additional measurements, see chapter 9, question 1).

36. In the previous case what would the halachah be if the roof of the succah Is more than three tefachim higher than the walls?

The succah would still be kosher even if the succah roof was much higher than the walls. However the roof should be directly over the walls. Know that as long as the roof of the succah is not more then three tefachim removed in either direction from being directly over the walls the succah is kosher.

37. Would the succah be kosher if its walls were more than three tefachim above the ground?

No; the succah would be invalid. This would apply even if the walls were higher than ten tefachim.

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