A GUIDE TO THE LAWS OF SUCCOS

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Chapter Seven

A succah having more sunshine than shade

1. What would the halachah be in reference to a succah whose s'chach appears to yield equal amounts of sun and shade?

The succah is invalid. The reason for this is that since the sunshine has a tendency to spread out over a distance we consider the lower part of the succah as having more sunshine than shade.

2. What would the halachah be if in the lower part of the succah we see that there are equal amounts of sun and shade?

Then we would assume that above, where the s'chach is there is definitely more shade than sunshine. However there are those that are stringent in this case and would consider the succah invalid (see below in Arugas Habosem).

3. What would the halachah be if the majority of the succah has more shade than sunshine, but a minority section of the succah does have more sunshine than shade?

The halachah is that if the total amount of shade and sunshine in the succah are added up it comes out that there is more shade, the succah would be valid. It would then even be permitted to sit under that part of the succah which has more sunshine than shade, as we would consider this part nullified (batel) by the majority of the s'chach that has more shade than sun.

This halachah is explained in the Shulchan Aruch in the following manner. We would have to examine the two sections of the succah, meaning section A which is the section that has a majority of shade and section B which is the section that has a majority of sunshine. If upon examination we find out that the amount of extra sunshine over shade in section A is more than the amount of extra shade over sunshine in section B of the succah then it means that the total amount of shade in the succah is more than sunshine and the succah is valid. However if upon examination we find that the amount of extra sunshine over shade in section A is equal to the amount of extra shade over sunshine in section B of the succah then it means that the total amount of shade in the succah is equal to the total amount of sunshine and the succah is invalid. (M.B., section 3; Rosh, chapter 35; Shulchan Aruch, chapter 2; see also below in Arugas Habosem).

For example, let us assume the entire area of the succah is 100 square meters, and that the larger section of the succah (section A), having more shade than sunshine, has a total area of 67 square meters. We can break up the amounts of shade and sunshine by saying that section A has 35 square meters of shade and 32 square meters of sunshine. Section B, the smaller section of the succah has a total square area of 33 square meters. This section can be broken up by saying that there is 17 square meters of sunshine and 16 square meters of shade. Being that the amount of extra shade in section A is more than the amount of extra sunshine in section B the total amount of shade in the succah (35+16 square meters) will be more than the total amount of sunshine in the succah (32+17 square meters).

However, we might have a situation where the amount of extra shade in section A is equal to the amount of extra sunshine in section B. For example, the larger section of the succah (section A), has 34 square meters of shade and 33 square meters of sunshine, whereas the smaller section (section B) has 17 square meters of sunshine and 16 square meters of shade. In this situation the total amount of shade in the succah (34+16=50 square meters) will be equal to the total amount of sunshine in the succah (33+17=50 square meters). This succah would be invalid since it does not have more shade than sunshine (see the next question).

4. Would the above halachah apply to all succahs?

There are those who are stringent in reference to a large succah if there is a section of seven by seven square tefachim which has more sunshine than shade. This would apply even if in total the succah has in fact more shade than sunshine (Ramoh section 2). As a result it would be prohibited to use that section. The reason for this is that an area of seven by seven tefachim in a succah is considered an area of importance (for that is the minimum area of a kosher succah), and therefore this area can not become nullified (batel) by the larger section of the succah that has more shade than sunshine (Shulchan Aruch Harav, section 4).

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