Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter Four
These are the required measurements of a sukkah: Its height should not be less than ten handbreadths nor more than twenty cubits. Its area should not be less than seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths. [There is no maximum limit to] its area, and one may increase it [to include] a number of millim.
A sukkah which is less than ten handbreadths high, smaller than seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths [in area], or taller than twenty cubits - even [if the increase or decrease] is of the slightest amount - is invalid.
A sukkah which does not possess three walls is invalid. However, if it has two complete walls perpendicular to each other in the shape of [the Greek letter] gamma, it is sufficient to construct a third wall that is [only] slightly more than a handbreadth wide and place it within three handbreadths of one of the two walls. Also, one must construct the likeness of an entrance, since it does not possess three complete walls.
We have already explained in Hilchot Shabbat that wherever the term "a likeness of an entrance" is used, it may be a rod on one side, another rod on the opposite side, and a third above, even though it does not touch them.
If the two walls were parallel to each other and there was an open space between them, one should construct a wall slightly more than four handbreadths wide and place it within three handbreadths of one of the two walls; then, [the sukkah] is kosher. However, it is necessary to construct "the likeness of an entrance."
If the rods of the s'chach of the sukkah extend beyond the sukkah and one wall extends with them, they are considered to be [part of] the sukkah.
Walls which are connected to the roof of the sukkah, but do not reach the earth: If they are more than three handbreadths above the earth, they are invalid; if the distance is less than that, they are kosher.
[The following rules apply] should the walls be connected to the earth, without reaching the s'chach: If they are ten handbreadths high, they are kosher even though are removed several cubits from the roof, provided they are positioned below the end of the roof. If the roof was separated from the wall by more than three handbreadths, it is invalid; less than this amount is kosher.
If one suspended a partition which is slightly more than four handbreadths high at a distance of less than three handbreadths from the earth and a distance of less than three handbreadths from the roof, it is kosher.
When a person constructs his sukkah among the trees, using the trees as walls, it is kosher if:
a) they are strong enough - or he tied them and reinforced them so that they would be strong enough - that they would not be shaken by the wind at all times; and
b) he filled [the space] between the branches with hay and straw, tying them so that they will not be shaken by the wind.
[This is necessary,] for any partition that cannot stand before a normal land wind is not considered to be a partition.
If a person constructs his sukkah on top of a wagon or on the deck of a ship, it is kosher, and one may ascend to it on the festival. If one constructs it on the treetops or on a camel's back, it is kosher, but one may not ascend to it on the festival, because climbing on a tree or animal is forbidden on a festival.
If some of the walls were the result of human activity and some were trees, we consider [its structure]. We may ascend to any [sukkah] where, if the trees were taken away, it would be able to stand with the walls that were built by man alone.
A sukkah that does not possess a roof is invalid. To what does this refer? A sukkah whose walls are joined to each other like a hut; alternatively, when the side of the sukkah is placed against the wall. However, if it has a roof, even only a handbreadth in width, or if one lifted the side of the sukkah close to the wall a handbreadth above the ground, it is kosher.
A round sukkah - if its circumference is large enough to contain a square seven handbreadths by seven handbreadths, it is kosher even though it has no corners.
Should one place s'chach over an exedrah which has projections [extending from its pillars], it is kosher, regardless of whether the projections can be seen from the inside - although they cannot be seen from the outside - or whether they can be seen from the outside - although they cannot be seen from the inside.
If it does not have projections [extending from its pillars] it is not valid, because it resembles a sukkah constructed in an alley, because it has [walls on] only the two sides of the exedrah. The middle of the exedrah does not have a wall and there are no projections opposite it.
Should a person place s'chach over an alleyway which possesses a lechi or a well which possesses pasim, it is considered a kosher sukkah only on the Sabbath of the festival. Since this lechi and these pasim are considered to be partitions with regard to the Sabbath laws, they are also considered to be partitions with regard to the laws of sukkah.
Should a person implant four poles in the four corners of the roof and place s'chach upon them, it is kosher. Since he placed the s'chach [above] the edge of the roof, we consider that the lower walls ascend to the edge of the s'chach.
A sukkah which has many entrances and many windows in its walls is kosher even though the open portion exceeds the closed portion, provided there is no opening larger than ten cubits.
If there is an opening larger than ten cubits, it is necessary that the closed portion exceed the open portion, even though [the opening] is constructed in the form of an entrance.
A sukkah whose inner space exceeds twenty cubits [is not acceptable]. Should one reduce it [by placing] pillows and coverings [on the floor], it is not considered to be reduced. [This applies even if] one considered them a permanent part of the sukkah. If one reduced the space using straw and considered it as a permanent part of the sukkah, [the space] is considered to be reduced.
Needless to say, the above applies if one used earth and considered it to be a permanent part of the sukkah. However, if one [merely brought in] earth with no specific intention, [its space] is not considered to be reduced.
If it was twenty cubits high, but branches [from the s'chach descend within the twenty cubits, [the following principle applies:] If its shade would be greater than its open portion because of these branches alone, it is considered as having thick s'chach and is kosher.
When [a sukkah is more than twenty cubits high, but] one builds a bench next to the middle wall extending across its entire span - if the width of the bench is equal to the minimum width of a sukkah, it is kosher.
Should one build the bench next to the middle wall along [one] side, if there are four cubits between the bench and the [opposite] wall, it is unacceptable. If there are fewer than four cubits, it is kosher.
Should one build the bench in the middle [of the sukkah], if there are more than four cubits from the edge of the bench to any of the sides [of the sukkah], it is not acceptable. If there are fewer than four cubits, it is kosher. It is considered as if the walls touch the bench, and the distance from the bench to the s'chach is less than twenty cubits.
If one constructs a pillar [within a sukkah whose s'chach is more than twenty cubits high, the following rule applies]: Even though it is of the minimum size required of a sukkah, it is unacceptable, because its walls are not discernible. Thus, it is as if there is kosher s'chach above the pillar without any walls.
[The following rule applies] when [the inner space of the sukkah] was less than ten [handbreadths high] and one dug [into the ground of the sukkah] to create an [inner space] of ten [handbreadths]: If there are three handbreadths from the edge of the pit until the wall [of the sukkah], it is not acceptable. If there is less than that [amount], it is kosher, because any [distance] less than three [handbreadths] is considered to be [insignificant, and the two entities are considered to be] adjacent [to each other], as explained in Hilchot Shabbat.
The walls of the sukkah are kosher [although made] from all [substances]. All that is necessary is a barrier of any kind. Even living beings [may serve that purpose. Thus,] a person can create a wall [of the sukkah] by using a colleague so that he can eat, drink, and sleep in the sukkah, for which his colleague is serving as a wall [even] on the holiday.
The above applies when one employs the person as a wall without his conscious knowledge. However, it is forbidden to create [a wall by using a person] when the latter is conscious of the fact on the holiday. Nevertheless, it is permitted during the other days of the festival.
Similarly, a person may create a fourth wall from utensils on the holiday. However, he should not create a third wall using utensils on the holiday, because, [by doing so], he is making the sukkah fit for use, and it is forbidden to create [even] a temporary tent on the holiday.
Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy
- Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter One
- Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter Two
- Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter Three
- Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter Five
- Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter Six
- Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter Seven
- Shofar, Sukkah, vLulav - Chapter Eight