A GUIDE TO THE LAWS OF SUCCOS

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Chapter Fifteen

Halachos of dwelling in the succah

1. How do we fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in the succah?

A person should eat, drink, sleep, walk, and live in a succah the entire seven days, by day and night just as he lives in his own home throughout the rest of the year. During the seven days of Succos a person should consider his house a temporary place and his succah as his permanent locale (Shulchan Aruch section 1, Ramoh ibid.).

Likewise if you wish to speak to a friend you should speak to him in the succah, for the succah should be considered similar to your home of the entire year. However since the holiness of the succah is very great it is proper to refrain as much as possible from talking mundane matters in the succah. Instead you should try to talk in the succah only words of Torah and holiness. Nevertheless when it becomes necessary to discuss business matters one should not leave the succah because of this, for ones sitting in the succah even when discussing such matters still fulfills the mitzvah of succah. It goes without saying that you should be careful not to speak prohibited words such as gossip and slander (loshon horah and rechikus) while in the succah (M.B. section 2, Shaar Hatziun section 4).

2. What is the proper meaning of the statement that during the entire seven days a person should consider his house as only a temporary place and his succah as his permanent locale?

You should bring into the succah your nice dishes, and lovely spreads. Also your glasses and cups should be in the succah even if made of earthenware. This applies even after using them, as they may remain in the succah, for they are not offensive as dirty dishes are. However the custom is not to bring into the succah cooking utensils such as pots and pans in which the food is prepared, even before starting the meal. This would apply especially to someone who is not accustomed to bringing pots and pans etc. to his dining table at home, Instead the food is placed on a serving tray or on china while in the kitchen. Nevertheless someone who doesn't have proper plates etc. and must eat from his cooking pot would be permitted to bring it into the succah (M.B. section 5).

3. Would it be permitted to make the blessing upon the succah while there are pots and pans etc. lying in the succah?

After the fact if someone did actually bring cooking utensils into the succah or did an unbecoming activity there, this would not prohibit the succah. It is brought down in the sefer Chayei Adom that while these items are in the succah you should not make the blessing on the succah, (laishaiv basuccah), for the succah at such a time is Rabbinically prohibited. Even though the Shaar Hatziun (section 13) brings down a disagreement among the early authorities if in fact the succah actually becomes Rabbinically prohibited, he concludes that it is proper in the first instant to be stringent in this matter.

8. Are there any differences in halachah between eating and sleeping in the succah?

Yes, One should eat and drink and sleep in the succah the entire seven days, day and night. We do not sleep outside of the succah even for a short nap. However it is permitted to eat snacks outside of the succah (Shulchan Aruch section 1). The reason for this difference is because eating snacks is not considered an important function which would obligate using the succah, for even throughout the entire year it is prevalent that snacks are eaten outside the home. Likewise it is permitted to taste and swallow food that is being cooked even many times, outside of the succah (M.B. section 12).

9. What would be the definition of a nap?

We find in the Biur Halachah that even to put ones head down on ones lap is prohibited, even though we don't suspect that he will fall into a deep asleep (Shulchan Aruch section 2, Biur Halachah). The reason for this prohibition is because sometimes a short nap suffices, it would therefore be considered similar to normal sleep.The Mishnah Berurah writes that the definition of a nap wouldbe when one sleeps for a period of a bit less than one minute (about 54 seconds), (M.B. section 11, Shulchan Aruch chapter 44, M.B. section 4) however less than this amount would not even be called a nap.

10. What should someone do if he accidentally falls to sleep outside of the succah?

Someone who accidentally fell asleep outside of the succah if he is not in a bed then when he awakes he should return to the succah. For the halachah is that even when rain subsides he has to return to the succah if he had not as of yet went to bed (M.B. section 11). (see further question 48.)

11. What would be considered a snack which is permittedoutside of the succah?

The Shulchan Aruch writes "what is the amount to be considered a snack, the amount of bread that fits into an egg (see next question). It is also permitted to drink water, wine, and eat fruit outside the succah. However someone who is stringent and does not drink even water outside the succah is praiseworthy" (Shulchan Aruch section 2).

We see from this that someone eating a little more than the volume of an egg of bread even if eaten as a snack would be obligated to eat it in the succah. However eating exactly the amount of an egg would still be considered a snack and one would be absolved from the obligation of succah.

However one should know that on the first night of Succos before one has fulfilled his obligation of eating bread in the succah (see further questions 25-30) it would be prohibited to eat even an amount of bread having the volume of an olive outside of the succah.

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