For the week ending 8 February 2014 / 8 Adar I 5774

Succah 6 - 12

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Measurements for Torah laws
  • How many complete walls are needed for a succah
  • Where the virtual succah wall is placed
  • The status of the virtual succah wall on Shabbat
  • How permanent a structure the succah must be
  • The roofless succah and the round one
  • Eight structures not built as a succah but still qualify
  • Succah built too early or too late or a stolen one
  • Succah under a tree or another succah
  • Obstruction between the person and the schach covering succah
  • What qualifies schach to cover the succah
  • Schach and tzitzit that started off without intention
  • What was the succah of our ancestors in the wilderness
  • The problem of bundled schach
  • What is considered as a vessel to disqualify it as schach

How Low May You Go?

  • Succah 10b

A person can be in one succah with less than the minimum amount of standing room and still fulfill this mitzvah, and in another with a similar problem and fail to achieve such fulfillment.

The minimum height of a succah is ten tefachim (handbreadths). In an earlier gemara (4a) the Sage Rava disqualified a succah even if the schach covering it is higher than ten tefachim if there are ends of the schach material hanging down to below ten tefachim. In our gemara, however, we encounter the case of a succah with the minimum height whose schach is decorated with objects which hang to below the minimum height. The ruling here is that the succah is still considered high enough to qualify.

The explanation offered by Tosefot is that Rava disqualified the succah with schach ends hanging too low since such a succah is considered a “wretched residence” because of its cramped condition. This does not apply to a succah that has a minimum height and the reduced airspace is the result of beautifying the succah.

This distinction serves as the basis of the law codified in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 633:9.

What the Sages Say

“The succot in which our ancestors dwelled upon leaving Egypt were clouds of glory which G-d provided for them as shelter from the elements.”

  • Rabbi Eliezer - Succah 11b

“From the words in the Song at the Sea: ‘This is my G-d and I shall glorify Him’, we learn that we must do mitzvot in the most beautiful way.”

  • Anonymous Sages - Succah 11b

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