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Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 625 - [Mitzvah to Dwell in a Sukkah]

Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 625 - [Mitzvah to Dwell in a Sukkah]

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SECTION 625 [The Mitzvah to Dwell in a Sukkah]. (1)

סימן תרכה

1 It is written:1 “You shall dwell in sukkos for seven days, .... so that your [coming] generations shall know that I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in sukkos when I took them out of the Land of Egypt.” [The term sukkos in the latter context] refers to the Clouds of [G‑d’s] Glory2 that encompassed [the Jewish people and provided] them with shade so that they would not be smitten by scorching heat and sun.3

In emulation of this, [G‑d] commanded us to make sukkos that are made for shade4 so that we will recall His wondrous and awesome deeds. When dwelling in the sukkah, everyone should therefore have the intent5 that he is dwelling in it in order to fulfill the mitzvah of the Holy One, blessed be He, Who commanded us to dwell in a sukkah in commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt.6

It is a mitzvah to prepare the sukkah and to complete its construction immediately, on the day following Yom Kippur, after departing from the synagogue.7 A mitzvah that comes to hand should not be delayed.8

א "בַּסֻּכֹּת תֵּשְׁבוּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים [גו'], לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם" א,1 – הֵם הָיוּ עַנְנֵי כְּבוֹדוֹב,2 שֶׁהִקִּיפָם בָּהֶם לְצֵל לְבַל יַכֶּה בָּהֶם שָׁרָב וָשֶׁמֶשׁ.ג,3 וְדֻגְמָא לָזֶה צִוָּנוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת סֻכּוֹת הָעֲשׂוּיוֹת לְצֵל,ד,4 כְּדֵי שֶׁנַּזְכִּיר נִפְלְאוֹתָיו וְנוֹרְאוֹתָיו.ה

וְלָכֵןו צָרִיךְ כָּל אָדָם לְכַוֵּן5 בִּישִׁיבָתוֹ בַּסֻּכָּה, שֶׁיּוֹשֵׁב בָּהּ כְּדֵי לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁצִּוָּנוּ לֵישֵׁב בַּסֻּכָּה זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם.ז,6

וּמִצְוָה לְתַקֵּן הַסֻּכָּהח וְלִבְנוֹתָהּ כֻּלָּהּ מִיָּד לְמָחֳרַת יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִיםט אַחַר יְצִיאָה מִבֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת,7 מִצְוָה הַבָּאָה לְיָדוֹ אַל יַחְמִיצֶנָּה:י,8

Vayikra 23:42-43.
Sukkah 11b.
The Rebbe explains how the Alter Rebbe’s wording, which modifies the language of his source, the Tur, distinguishes between two halachically significant facets of the mitzvah: (a) the structural function of the s’chach, that it must be intended for the purpose of shade, and (b) that it provide benefit for man, sheltering him from the sun. (See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 32, p. 140ff.)

On a related question, the Bach (Orach Chayim 625) asks why the Clouds of Glory were singled out from all the miracles that G‑d worked for the Jewish people in their journey through the desert (e.g., the manna, Miriam’s Well) and a mitzvah was instituted only in connection with this miracle.

The author of Beis Elokim (Shaar HaYesodos, ch. 37) offers a resolution. The other miracles provided food and water, indispensable necessities. The Clouds of Glory were not a necessity, for journeying under the desert sun would have been possible, though uncomfortable. By miraculously sheltering His people with the Clouds of Glory, G‑d showed His loving care for them — and this love is highlighted by the mitzvah of sukkah. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 18, p. 258 (and footnote 53 there), and Vol. 32, p. 147.
See sec. 626:1-2 below.
The word translated here as “therefore” is copied in this edition from the first printing of the present work. In this spirit, the Rebbe notes that generally the intent associated with a mitzvah is secondary to its actual performance. In this instance, however, since the commandment to dwell in the sukkah specifies “that your [coming] generations shall know,” the intent is an integral component of the mitzvah. (See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 9, p. 231, and Vol. 32, p. 140ff., elaborating on the Bach, loc. cit., and other sources.)

Hence the Rebbe’s custom of glancing at the s’chach while saying the closing words of the blessing leishev basukkah (Otzar Minhagei Chabad, p. 299).
Nevertheless, as the Tur explains, we do not celebrate Sukkos directly after Pesach, because it would not be apparent that we are dwelling in the sukkah in observance of a mitzvah. After all, people commonly live in such structures during the summer. However, since Sukkos is celebrated (in the Northern Hemisphere) after the summer has ended and it has begun to become cool, it is clear that we are dwelling in the sukkah in observance of G‑d’s command.
Though the intent here is that one should build the sukkah on the morning of the eleventh of Tishrei, many meticulous individuals make at least preliminary preparations at night, at the end of Yom Kippur (see Rama, Orach Chayim 624:5). This is Lubavitch custom, as noted in Sefer HaMinhagim: The Book of Chabad-Lubavitch Customs (Kehot, N.Y., 5750/1990), p. 126.

The custom in some other communities is to complete most of the construction before Yom Kippur so that one will have acquired an additional merit before the judgment of that day (see Shaarei Teshuvah 625:1).
Cf. Mechilta, Parshas Bo.
ויקרא כג, מב־ג.
רבי אליעזר בברייתא יא, ב (ענני כבוד). טור (כבודו) ושו"ע ס"א. וראה גם לעיל סי' תכט ס"ד.
טור ושו"ע שם.
כדלקמן סי' תרכו ס"א וש"נ. וראה לקו"ש חל"ב ע' 140 ואילך. שלחן המלך ח"ב ע' רכח.
טור ולבוש.
כן הוא בדפו"ר. אמנם ברוב הדפוסים: וכן. וראה לקו"ש שם. שלחן המלך שם ע' רלג.
מ"א ריש הסי'. ב"ח ד"ה תלה. ועד"ז ראה לעיל סי' ח סי"ז (בציצית). סי' כה סי"א (בתפילין).
מהרי"ל ריש הל' סוכות. רמ"א.
מ"א סק"א, בשם מהרי"ל שם. וראה רמ"א סוס"י תרכד, להתחיל מיד במוצאי יוה"כ, וכ"ה מנהג חב"ד, עכ"פ בדיבור (ס' המנהגים — חב"ד ע' 59. אוצר מנהגי חב"ד ע' רנה).
מהרי"ל שם, בשם מהר"ם סג"ל. רמ"א. ע"פ מכילתא בא פ"ט ד"ה ושמרתם. רש"י מגילה ו, סע"ב, ושמות יב, יז. וראה לעיל סי' צד סוף ס"ה. סי' רמח קו"א ס"ק א.
Translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and Sholom B Wineberg.
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