SECTION 629 What Materials May Be Used as S’chach. (1–33)

סימן תרכט מִמַּה צָּרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת הַסְּכָךְ וּבוֹ ל"ג סְעִיפִים:

1 To be valid for use as s’chach, a substance must:

[a] have grown from the ground;

[b] be [presently] detached from the ground; and

[c] not be susceptible to ritual impurity.1

If [a substance] does not grow from the ground, then even though it is not susceptible to ritual impurity — e.g., unprocessed animal hides, which are not susceptible to ritual impurity, or earth, or metal, even if it was not fashioned into a utensil and [hence] is not susceptible to ritual impurity — it may not be used as s’chach.

[The same applies to] any substance that is susceptible to ritual impurity, even though it grows from the ground,1 such as all kinds of food2 even if they were not readied [to actually contract ritual impurity],3 and to all kinds of utensils — even wooden ones — that have a receptacle, and are thus susceptible to ritual impurity.4

[This restriction is derived from] the verse,5 “Make the Sukkos festival for yourself, when you gather from your threshing floor and your winepress.” [Implied6 is that] the verse is speaking of the remnants left on the threshing floor and in the winepress, i.e., straw, stalks, and reeds that can be collected from the threshing floor and the winepress. [The verse is implying that] sukkos should be made of these and of other such things that grow from the ground and are not susceptible to ritual impurity; they should not be made of anything else.

א אֵין מְסַכְּכִין אֶלָּא בְּדָבָר שֶׁהוּא צוֹמֵחַ מִן הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא תָּלוּשׁ מִן הַקַּרְקַעא וְאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה.ב,1 אֲבָל אִם אֵינוֹ צוֹמֵחַ מִן הָאָרֶץ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה, כְּגוֹן עוֹרוֹת בְּהֵמָה שֶׁלֹּא נֶעֶבְדוּ שֶׁאֵינָן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה,ג אוֹ עָפָר,ד אוֹ מִינֵי מַתָּכוֹתה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה מֵהֶן כֵּלִים שֶׁאֵינָן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה, וְכֵן כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁרָאוּי לְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָהו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא צוֹמֵחַ מִן הָאָרֶץ,1 כְּגוֹן כָּל מִינֵי אֳכָלִיןז,2 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הֻכְשְׁרוּ,ח,3 וְכָל מִינֵי כֵּלִים אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁל עֵץט שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶן בֵּית קִבּוּלי שֶׁהֵן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה4 – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהֶן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַריא,5 "חַג הַסֻּכֹּת תַּעֲשֶׂה לְךָ בְּאָסְפְּךָ מִגָּרְנְךָ וּמִיִּקְבֶךָ", בִּפְסֹלֶת גֹּרֶן וָיֶקֶב הַכָּתוּב מְדַבֵּר,יב,6 דְּהַיְנוּ קַשִּׁיןיג אוֹ שִׁבֹּלֶת וְקָנִיןיד שֶׁאוֹסְפִים אוֹתָן מִן הַגֹּרֶן וְהַיֶּקֶב, וּמֵהֶן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן שֶׁצּוֹמְחִין מִן הָאָרֶץ וְאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה – תַּעֲשֶׂה לְךָ סֻכּוֹת,טו וְלֹא מִדְּבָרִים אֲחֵרִים:טז

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2 Anything that was susceptible to ritual impurity even briefly [may not be used for s’chach], even though later [its status changed and] it was no longer susceptible to ritual impurity. For example:

[a] utensils that were broken, when their broken pieces are not large enough to be considered susceptible to ritual impurity;7

[b] pieces of cloth that became so tattered that less than three fingerbreadths by three fingerbreadths remain, in which instance they are no longer susceptible to ritual impurity;8 or

[c] the handle of a utensil which, like the utensil itself, was susceptible to ritual impurity while it was connected to the utensil, but when broken off is no longer susceptible to any ritual impurity.9

Since any such objects were once susceptible to ritual impurity, the Sages ordained10 that they should never be used for s’chach. If a person transgressed and used them to cover his sukkah, it is invalid, just as if he had used s’chach that is invalid according to Scriptural Law.

ב כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁהָיָה רָאוּי לְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה שָׁעָה אַחַת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאַחַר כָּךְ נִטַּהֵר מִלְּקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה, כְּגוֹן כֵּלִים שֶׁנִּשְׁבְּרוּ וְאֵין בְּשִׁבְרֵיהֶן כַּשִּׁעוּר הָרָאוּי לְקַבָּלַת טֻמְאָה,יז,7 וְכֵן מַטְלָנִיּוֹת שֶׁבָּלוּ וְלֹא נִשְׁתַּיֵּר בָּהֶן שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת עַל שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹתיח שֶׁשּׁוּב אֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה,יט,8 וְכֵן בֵּית יָד שֶׁל כְּלִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּר מִן הַכְּלִיכ שֶׁבְּעוֹדוֹ מְחֻבָּר לַכְּלִי הָיָה מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה כָּמוֹהוּ וְעַכְשָׁו נִטַּהֵר מִלְּקַבֵּל שׁוּם טֻמְאָה,9 כָּל אֵלּוּ כֵּיוָן שֶׁפַּעַם אַחַת הָיוּ רְאוּיִין לְקַבָּלַת טֻמְאָהכא – גָּזְרוּ חֲכָמִים עֲלֵיהֶםכב,10 שֶׁלֹּא לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן לְעוֹלָם. וְאִם עָבַר וְסִכֵּךְ – סֻכָּתוֹ פְּסוּלָה, כְּמוֹ הַמְסַכֵּךְ בִּסְכָךְ שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל מִן הַתּוֹרָה:כג

3 [The ruling on whether] shafts for arrowheads [can be used as s’chach depends on the way the arrows were made]. Some are made “male”; i.e., a hole is made not in the shaft but in the arrowhead, and the shaft is pressed into it. Others are made “female”; i.e., a hole is made in the end of the shaft and [the back of] the arrowhead is made like an awl11 that is inserted in the hole.12

The “male” shafts are not susceptible to ritual impurity, because they have no receptacle. Therefore, if they have never been inserted in an arrowhead,13 they may be used for s’chach. The “female” shafts, by contrast, [may not be used for s’chach], since they have a receptacle. Even though the receptacle is intended to be permanently filled by [the back of] the arrowhead and never to be emptied, [the shaft] is nevertheless susceptible to ritual impurity. Therefore, if it is used as s’chach, the sukkah is invalid.

ג הַבֵּית יָד שֶׁל חִצִּים יֵשׁ עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן זְכָרִים, דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁאֵין נוֹקְבִין בָּהֶן שׁוּם נֶקֶב אֶלָּא עוֹשִׂין בַּחֵץ כְּעֵין בֵּית קִבּוּל וְתוֹחֲבִין אֶת הַבֵּית יָד לְשָׁם, וְיֵשׁ עוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן נְקֵבוֹת, דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁעוֹשִׂין נֶקֶב בְּרֹאשָׁן וְהַחֵץ עָשׂוּי כְּמַרְצֵעַ11 וְנִכְנָס לְתוֹךְ הַנֶּקֶב,12 וְהַזְּכָרִים אֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם בֵּית קִבּוּל,כד וּלְפִיכָךְ מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶןכה אִם עֲדַיִן לֹא הָיוּ קְבוּעִין בְּהַחֵץ מֵעוֹלָם,כו,13 אֲבָל הַנְּקֵבוֹת כֵּיוָן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן בֵּית קִבּוּל, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבֵּית קִבּוּל עָשׂוּי לְמַלֹּאות עַל יְדֵי הַחֵץכז מִלּוּי עוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא לְהִתְרוֹקֵן עוֹדכח – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן הוּא מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה, וּלְפִיכָךְ אִם סִכֵּךְ בָּהֶן – סֻכָּתוֹ פְּסוּלָה:כט

Fig. 13: Male arrow (left) and female arrow (right). See sec. 629:3.
Fig. 13: Male arrow (left) and female arrow (right). See sec. 629:3.

4 Reeds that grow hollow are not susceptible to ritual impurity even though they have a receptacle, because it was not made to serve [man] as a receptacle. They may therefore be used as s’chach. Similarly, a [wooden] gutter may be used as s’chach, because it was not made to serve as a receptacle.14

ד קָנִים הַנִּבְרָאִים חֲלוּלִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶן בֵּית קִבּוּל – אֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה, לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה לְקַבָּלָה, וּלְפִיכָךְ מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶם.ל וְכֵן מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בְּצִנּוֹר, לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה לְקַבָּלָה:לא,14

5 If one used stalks of flax that are yet to be crushed in a mortar15 and brushed out with a comb,16 they are valid [as s’chach],17 because they are still recognizable as plants.18 If, however, the fibers have been crushed in a mortar, even though they have not been brushed out with a comb, they are invalid by a Rabbinic ordinance, because they have been so transformed that they [no longer] appear to be products of the earth.

Similarly, cotton or hemp that has been combed out may not be used as s’chach. Neither may husks of flax broken off as the flax [was crushed] be used as s’chach.

ה סִיכְּכָהּ בְּפִשְׁתֵּי הָעֵץ, שֶׁלֹּא דַּךְ אוֹתָן בְּמַכְתֶּשֶׁת15 וְלֹא נִפֵּץ אוֹתָן בְּמַסְרֵק16 – כְּשֵׁרָה,לב,17 שֶׁעֲדַיִן נִכָּרִים שֶׁהֵן עֵץ.לג,18 אֲבָל אִם דַּךְ אוֹתָן בְּמַכְתֶּשֶׁת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִפֵּץ אוֹתָן בְּמַסְרֵק – פְּסוּלָהלד מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים,לה לְפִי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּנֵּית צוּרָתָן וּכְאִלּוּ אֵינָ[ן] מִגִּדּוּלֵי קַרְקַע.לו וְהוּא הַדִּין צֶמֶר גֶּפֶן אוֹ קַנַּבּוֹס שֶׁנִּפֵּץ אוֹתָן – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהֶם.לז וְכֵן נְעֹרֶת שֶׁל פִּשְׁתָּן הַנִּדָּק מִן הַפִּשְׁתָּן – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בּוֹ:לח

6 Ropes made of reed-grass or palm-tree bast may be used as s’chach,19 because ropes are not susceptible to ritual impurity, having no receptacle. Ropes made of flax or hemp, by contrast, may not be used as s’chach, because they have been so transformed that they [no longer] appear to be products of the earth.

ו מְסַכְּכִין בַּחֲבָלִים שֶׁל גֶּמִי וְשֶׁל סִיב,לט לְפִי שֶׁהַחֲבָלִים אֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה, שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם בֵּית קִבּוּל,מ,19 אֲבָל חֲבָלִים שֶׁל פִּשְׁתָּן וְשֶׁל קַנַּבּוֹס – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהֶן,מא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּנָּה צוּרָתוֹ וּכְאִלּוּ אֵינוֹ מִגִּדּוּלֵי קַרְקַע:מב

7 [The following rules apply with regard to covering a sukkah with] a mat made of reeds, straw, grass, or rushes,20 whether or not the mat is smooth and thus fit to lie on.

If [a mat] is small, i.e., it is only large enough to lie on, it is presumably intended to be used for [that purpose]. Thus it is susceptible to ritual impurity21 if a zav22 would lie on it. Hence it may not be used as s’chach even if a zav has not yet lain on it.

An exception is made if [such a mat] was made with the intent that it be used as a covering. [It is also permissible] if it was purchased with that intent from a craftsman, because [he] makes mats without any specific intent, seeking to sell them to whoever needs them, each person for his own particular need. Therefore, it is the purchaser’s intent at the time of acquisition that defines its purpose. If he intended to use it for shade, it is not susceptible to ritual impurity, even if it has a rim and could thus serve as a receptacle. This factor is not significant, since this mat was not intended for use as a container.

ז מַחְצֶלֶת שֶׁל קָנִיםמג וְשֶׁל קַשׁמד וְשֶׁל גֶּמִי וְשֶׁל שִׁפָּה,מה,20 בֵּין שֶׁהִיא חֲלָקָה שֶׁרְאוּיָה לִשְׁכִיבָה, בֵּין שֶׁאֵינָהּ חֲלָקָה,מו אִם הִיא קְטַנָּה,מז דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ אֶלָּא כְּדֵי שְׁכִיבָהמח – סְתָמָא עוֹמֶדֶת לִשְׁכִיבָהמט וּרְאוּיָה לְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה21 אִם יִשְׁכַּב עָלֶיהָ הַזָּב,22 וּלְפִיכָךְ אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהּ אֲפִלּוּ עֲדַיִן לֹא שָׁכַב עָלֶיהָ הַזָּב,נ אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן עֲשָׂאָהּ לְסִכּוּךְ,נא אוֹ שֶׁלְקָחָהּ מִן הָאֻמָּן כְּדֵי לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהּ, שֶׁהָאֻמָּן עוֹשֶׂה בִּסְתָם לְמָכְרָן לְמִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לָהֶן כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד לְפִי צָרְכּוֹ, וְאִם כֵּן יֵשׁ לֵילֵךְ אַחַר דַּעַת הַלּוֹקֵחַ בְּעֵת קְנִיָּתוֹ,נב וְאִם דַּעְתּוֹ לְסִכּוּךְ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ שָׂפָהנג בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁרְאוּיָה לְקַבָּלָה – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן אֵינָהּ מְקַבֶּלֶת טֻמְאָה, וְקִבּוּל זֶה אֵינוֹ חָשׁוּב כְּלוּם, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהַמַּחְצֶלֶת אֵינָהּ עֲשׂוּיָה לְקַבָּלָה:נד

8 If, by contrast, a mat is larger than what a person would lie on, it was presumably intended to be used for shade. It would therefore not contract ritual impurity even if a zav would lie on it, because it was not designated [for that purpose]. It may therefore be used as s’chach.

When does the above apply? When it is not surrounded by a rim. If, however, it has a rim (around all its four sides), so that it is fit for use as a receptacle, it may not be used as s’chach,23 because it was presumably intended to serve a function, [e.g.,] for fruit to be laid on it [to dry]. (Moreover, even if that rim is removed, the mat may not be used as s’chach, just as broken utensils may not be used for that purpose, as explained [in subsection 2 above].)

ח אֲבָל אִם הִיא גְּדוֹלָה יוֹתֵר מִכְּדֵי שְׁכִיבָה – סְתָמָא עוֹמֶדֶת לְסִכּוּךְ,נה וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם יִשְׁכַּב עָלֶיהָ הַזָּב – אֵינָהּ מְקַבֶּלֶת טֻמְאָהנו כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְיֻחֶדֶת לִשְׁכִיבָה, וְלָכֵן מְסַכְּכִין בָּהּ.

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? כְּשֶׁאֵין לָהּ שָׂפָה מֻקֶּפֶת, אֲבָל אִם יֵשׁ לָהּ שָׂפָה מֻקֶּפֶתנז (מֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹתֶיהָנח) בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁרְאוּיָה לְקַבָּלָה – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהּ,23 לְפִי שֶׁסְּתָמָא עֲשׂוּיָה גַּם לְתַשְׁמִישׁ לִתֵּן פֵּרוֹת עַל גַּבָּהּנט (וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם נִטַּל שְׂפָתָהּ – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהּ,ס כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֵין מְסַכְּכִים בְּשִׁבְרֵי כֵּלִיםסא כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵרסב):

9 All the above [principles] apply in a place that has no clearly fixed custom with regard to the use of mats. In a place where the custom of most of the townsmen is to use [even] small mats for shade, such mats may be used as s’chach. [This applies even] to a small mat of undefined purpose, unless it is known that it was made to be lain upon.

In a place where most of the townsmen are accustomed to using large mats to lie upon, as is the custom in these regions,24 a large mat may not be used for s’chach, even if it is known that this mat was made for the purpose of shade, because of the impression that might be created.25 Not everyone will know [the purpose for which it was made, and people] will say that it was made to lie upon, as is the prevailing custom in the city.26

ט וְכָל זֶה בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין מִנְהָג מְבֹרָר בְּתַשְׁמִישֵׁי הַמַּחְצְלָאוֹת,סג אֲבָל בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁהַמִּנְהָג שֶׁל רֹב בְּנֵי הָעִיר לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּמַחְצְלָאוֹת קְטַנּוֹת לְסִכּוּךְ – מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן אֲפִלּוּ בִּסְתָם מַחְצֶלֶת קְטַנָּה,סד אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יָדוּעַ שֶׁנַּעֲשִׂים לִשְׁכִיבָה. וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁמִּנְהַג רֹב בְּנֵי הָעִיר לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּמַחְצְלָאוֹת גְּדוֹלוֹת לִשְׁכִיבָהסה כְּמוֹ שֶׁהַמִּנְהָג הוּא בִּמְקוֹמוֹת הָאֵלּוּסו,24 – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בְּמַחְצֶלֶת גְּדוֹלָה. וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם יָדוּעַ שֶׁמַּחְצֶלֶת זוֹ נַעֲשֵׂית לְסִכּוּךְ – אֵין לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהּ, מִפְּנֵי מַרְאִית הָעַיִן25 שֶׁאֵין הַכֹּל יוֹדְעִין בָּזֶה וְיֹאמְרוּ שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית לִשְׁכִיבָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא מִנְהַג רֹב בְּנֵי הָעִיר:סז,26

10 Similarly, in a place where it is customary to fix mats in a roof to serve as a ceiling, mats may not be used as s’chach, even if they were made for use as s’chach and thus are not susceptible to ritual impurity. [This safeguard] was enacted lest a person sit [in his house] under the ceiling that is made of mats and say, “What is the difference between these mats and those?” And the mats used for the ceiling of a house are invalid according to Scriptural Law, for they were not affixed in place for the purpose of shade, but rather [to complete] a dwelling.

י וְכֵן בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִים לִקְבֹּעַ מַחְצְלָאוֹת בַּגַּגִּין כְּעֵין תִּקְרָה – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהֶן,סח אֲפִלּוּ נַעֲשׂוּ לְסִכּוּךְ שֶׁאֵינָן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה, גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יֵשֵׁב תַּחַת תִּקְרַת הַבַּיִתסט הָעֲשׂוּיָה מִמַּחְצְלָאוֹת, שֶׁיֹּאמַר מַה בֵּין מַחְצְלָאוֹת אֵלּוּ לְמַחְצְלָאוֹת אֵלּוּ,ע וּמַחְצְלָאוֹת שֶׁל תִּקְרַת הַבַּיִת פְּסוּלִין מִן הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁלֹּא הֻקְבְּעוּ שָׁם לְשֵׁם צֵל אֶלָּא לְשֵׁם דִּירָה:עא

11 There is a question as to whether a ladder is susceptible to ritual impurity. [It might be argued that since] it has no receptacle, it is like all flat wooden implements,27 which are not susceptible to ritual impurity.28 Alternatively, it is possible that the holes into which the rungs of the ladder are wedged resemble receptacles, in which case [a ladder] may not be used as s’chach.

[Furthermore,] as the initial and preferred option,29 one should be careful not to lay [a ladder] on the roof so that the s’chach can be placed upon it, nor to lay it on the s’chach in order to hold it in place so that it will not be scattered by the wind. Similarly, as an initial and preferred option, no [other] object that is susceptible to ritual impurity, such as a chair or a bench, should be used to hold the s’chach in place or to support it.30 This [safeguard] was ordained lest [such objects] be used for the actual s’chach.

יא הַסֻּלָּם – יֵשׁ לְהִסְתַּפֵּק בּוֹעב אִם הוּא מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ בֵּית קִבּוּל וַהֲרֵי הוּא כִּשְׁאָר כָּל פְּשׁוּטֵי כְּלֵי עֵץ27 שֶׁאֵינָן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה,28 אוֹ אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁהַנְּקָבִים שֶׁהַשְּׁלִיבוֹת תְּקוּעוֹת בָּהֶן הֵן דּוֹמִין לְבֵית קִבּוּל, וּלְפִיכָךְ אֵין לְסַכֵּךְ בּוֹ.עג

וּלְכַתְּחִלָּה29 יֵשׁ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא לְהַנִּיחָהּ עַל גַּבֵּי הַגָּג כְּדֵי לְהַנִּיחַ עָלָיו הַסְּכָךְ,עד וְכֵן שֶׁלֹּא לְהַנִּיחוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי הַסְּכָךְ כְּדֵי לְהַחֲזִיקוֹעה שֶׁלֹּא יְפַזְרֶנּוּ הָרוּחַ. וְהוּא הַדִּין שֶׁאֵין מְחַזְּקִיןעו וְאֵין מַעֲמִידִיןעז אֶת הַסְּכָךְ לְכַתְּחִלָּה בְּכָל דָּבָר שֶׁרָאוּי לְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה כְּגוֹן כִּסֵּא וְסַפְסָל,עח,30 גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן:עט

12 When does the above apply? When the s’chach itself was placed on an object that is susceptible to ritual impurity, or when [such an object] was placed on the s’chach itself to hold it in place. By contrast, [no problem is involved] if the s’chach is placed on beams or pegs, and they are placed on an object that is susceptible to ritual impurity. It is permitted to do this [even] as an initial and preferred option. It is of no consequence that the object that supports the s’chach or holds it in place is supported by something that is invalid as s’chach — for the supports for the s’chach of every sukkah in the world are supported by the ground, which is invalid as s’chach.

יב בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? כְּשֶׁהַסִּכּוּךְ בְּעַצְמוֹ מֻנָּח עַל גַּבֵּי דָּבָר שֶׁמְּקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה, אוֹ שֶׁדָּבָר הַמְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה מֻנָּח עַל גַּבֵּי הַסְּכָךְ מַמָּשׁ וּמַחֲזִיקוֹ, אֲבָל אִם הַסְּכָךְ מֻנָּח עַל גַּבֵּי כְּלוֹנְסָאוֹת אוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי יְתֵדוֹת וְהֵן מֻנָּחִים עַל גַּבֵּי דָּבָר הַמְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה – אֵין בְּכָךְ כְּלוּם,פ וּמֻתָּר לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן לְכַתְּחִלָּה,פא וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁדָּבָר הַמַּעֲמִיד וּמַחֲזִיק אֶת הַסְּכָךְ נִסְמָךְ עַל גַּבֵּי דָּבָר הַפָּסוּל לְסִכּוּךְ – אֵין בְּכָךְ כְּלוּם, שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּל סֻכָּה שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם מַעֲמִידֵי הַסְּכָךְ הֵן נִסְמָכִים עַל גַּבֵּי קַרְקַע עוֹלָםפב הַפְּסוּלָה לְסִכּוּךְ:פג

13 All of this applies at the outset.29 After the fact,31 if one already supported the s’chach itself with something that is susceptible to ritual impurity, one may sit in [such a sukkah]32 [even] as an initial and preferred option.33

Moreover, even as an initial and preferred option, it is permitted to rest the s’chach itself on the walls of the sukkah even though they are made of materials that are invalid as s’chach, as is the case with a stone wall.34 [The rationale is that] there is no need to ordain such [a safeguard] for fear that someone might use stones as s’chach; everyone knows that stones are invalid as s’chach, for this would not be a sukkah at all, but a kind of permanent dwelling.35

Similarly, [even] as an initial and preferred option, it is permitted to attach the beams — on which the s’chach rests — to the walls of the sukkah with iron nails or tie them with pieces of cloth that are susceptible to ritual impurity. [This is permitted,] because the s’chach itself is placed on beams which are not susceptible to ritual impurity and which are valid as s’chach.

יג וְכָל זֶה לְכַתְּחִלָּה,29 אֲבָל בְּדִיעֲבַדפד,31 שֶׁכְּבָר הֶעֱמִיד אֶת הַסְּכָךְ עַצְמוֹ בְּדָבָר הַמְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה – מֻתָּר לֵישֵׁב בָּהּ32 לְכַתְּחִלָּה.פה,33

וַאֲפִלּוּ לְכַתְּחִלָּה מֻתָּר לְהַנִּיחַ אֶת הַסְּכָךְ עַצְמוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי הַדְּפָנוֹתפו אֲפִלּוּ אִם הֵן מִן הַפָּסוּל לְסִכּוּךְ,פז כְּגוֹן חוֹמַת אֲבָנִים,34 לְפִי שֶׁאֵין לִגְזֹר שֶׁמָּא יְסַכֵּךְ סֻכָּתוֹ בַּאֲבָנִים, שֶׁהַכֹּל יוֹדְעִין שֶׁהָאֲבָנִים פְּסוּלִין לְסִכּוּךְ,פח שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין זוֹ סֻכָּה כְּלָל אֶלָּא כְּעֵין בֵּיִת דִּירַת קֶבַע.פט,35

וְכֵן מֻתָּר לְכַתְּחִלָּה לְחַבֵּר כְּלוֹנְסָאוֹת הַסֻּכָּה שֶׁהַסְּכָךְ מֻנָּח עָלֶיהָ לְדָפְנוֹת הַסֻּכָּה עַל יְדֵי מַסְמְרִים שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל, אוֹ לְקָשְׁרָן בַּחֲתִיכוֹת בְּגָדִים הַמְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה,צ כֵּיוָן שֶׁהַסְּכָךְ עַצְמוֹ מֻנָּח עַל גַּבֵּי כְּלוֹנְסָאוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה וּכְשֵׁרִים לְסִכּוּךְ:צא

14 The Sages ordained that any flat wooden objects of minimal width on which something could be placed, such as a table, a spade, or a baker’s trowel, are susceptible to ritual impurity, because they resemble receptacles. Therefore, they may not be used as s’chach,36 nor may they be laid on the s’chach to hold it in place, even if they are broken. Since there was a time when they were susceptible to ritual impurity, it was ordained [that they should never be used for s’chach].

יד כָּל פְּשׁוּטֵי כְּלֵי עֵץ הָרְחָבִים קְצָת וְרָאוּי לְהַנִּיחַ עֲלֵיהֶם דָּבָר, כְּגוֹן שֻׁלְחָן וּמַגְרֵפָה וּמַרְדֶּה – גָּזְרוּ חֲכָמִים עֲלֵיהֶם טֻמְאָה, לְפִי שֶׁהֵן דּוֹמִין לְבֵית קִבּוּל, לְפִיכָךְ אֵין לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן,צב,36 וְכֵן אֵין לְהַנִּיחָן עַל גַּבֵּי הַסְּכָךְ לְהַחֲזִיקוֹ, אֲפִלּוּ אִם נִשְׁבְּרוּ,צג כֵּיוָן שֶׁהָיוּ רְאוּיִים לְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה שָׁעָה אַחַת – גָּזְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶן:צד

15 All the accessories37 to food — such as the straw of ears of grain, the twigs to which grapes [are attached], and the branches to which dates [are attached] — are susceptible to ritual impurity38 at the time they are attached to the food. [This concept is derived as follows:] From the verse,39 “It shall be impure for you,” the Sages inferred40 that anything that is necessary for you with regard to this food, i.e., [even] the accessories, is susceptible to ritual impurity like the food itself.

The term “accessory” is applied only to [a maximum of] three handbreadths of the straw41 of ears of grain that belong to the kinds that are harvested with a sickle; four handbreadths of date branches; and two handbreadths of the twigs to which grapes [are attached], i.e., one handbreadth to the right of the cluster [of grapes] that hangs from the branch and one handbreadth to the left. If the branches are longer than these measures, all that is susceptible to ritual impurity is the part that is within these [maximum] distances from the food.

([Different rules apply with regard to] the straw of ears of grain that belong to those varieties that are not harvested with a sickle, but are uprooted by hand. Their definition as “accessories” is not limited by their length; even if they are very long, they are considered as “accessories” and are susceptible to ritual impurity.)

טו כָּל יְדוֹת הָאֳכָלִיםצה,37 כְּגוֹן קַשִּׁין שֶׁל שִׁבֳּלִים וּזְמוֹרוֹת שֶׁל עֲנָבִים וּמַכְבְּדוֹת שֶׁל תְּמָרִיםצו – מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה38 בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהֵן מְחֻבָּרִיןצז לְהָאֹכֶל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַרצח,39 "טָמֵא הוּא לָכֶם", וְדָרְשׁוּ חֲכָמִיםצט,40 "לָכֶם" – לְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא צֹרֶךְ לָכֶם בָּאֹכֶל הַזֶּה,ק דְּהַיְנוּ יָדוֹת,קא הוּא מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה כְּאֹכֶל עַצְמוֹ.קב

וְאֵינוֹ נִקְרָא יָד אֶלָּא שְׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִים בְּקַשִּׁין שֶׁל מִין שִׁבֳּלִיםקג,41 הַנִּקְצָרִין בְּמַגָּל (אֲבָל מִין שִׁבֳּלִים שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכָּן לְהִקָּצֵר בְּמַגָּל אֶלָּא עוֹקְרִין אוֹתָן בַּיָּד – אֵין שִׁעוּר לִידוֹתֵיהֶן,קד שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הֵן אֲרֻכִּין הַרְבֵּה הֵן מְקַבְּלִים טֻמְאָה מִשּׁוּם יָד), וְאַרְבָּעָה טְפָחִים בְּמַכְבְּדוֹת שֶׁל תְּמָרִים,קה וּשְׁנֵי טְפָחִים בִּזְמוֹרוֹת שֶׁל עֲנָבִים, דְּהַיְנוּ טֶפַח אֶחָד מִימִין הָאֶשְׁכּוֹל הַתָּלוּי בַּזְּמוֹרָה וְטֶפַח אֶחָד מִשְּׂמֹאלוֹ.קו אֲבָל אִם הֵן אֲרֻכִּים יוֹתֵר מִשִּׁעוּר הַזֶּה – אֵין מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה אֶלָּא מַה שֶּׁהוּא סָמוּךְ לְהָאֹכֶל כַּשִּׁעוּר הַזֶּה:קז

16 Therefore, [the following law applies if] a person covered his sukkah with the straw of ears of grain, twigs to which grapes [are attached], and branches [laden] with dates. If the straw, the twigs, and the branches are not long enough to constitute a majority when compared to the food and to [that part of the straw, twigs, or branches that is considered] its “accessory,” [the s’chach] is invalid.42

When does the above apply? When the grain was reaped or the fruit was harvested for food. In such a situation, the “accessory” must be connected to the food so that the food can be held.43

If, by contrast, one reaped or harvested [the grain or the fruit] for the purpose of s’chach, he is not happy to have the “accessory” connected to the food, for the food will disqualify his sukkah.44 The “accessory” is therefore not susceptible to ritual impurity, for it is [ordinarily] susceptible to ritual impurity only because it is a subordinate auxiliary to food, and hence is considered to be like the food itself. In this instance, by contrast, the food is not at all needed for use as s’chach, and that was the purpose for which this person reaped. Hence, the “accessory” is not considered as subordinate to [the food. That part of the straw and the twigs that is considered as] an “accessory” therefore combines with the remainder of the length of the straw and the twigs to make the food batel — insignificant and therefore nullified — vis-à-vis the majority [of valid s’chach].

טז לְפִיכָךְ הַמְסַכֵּךְ סֻכָּתוֹ בְּקַשִּׁין שֶׁל שִׁבֳּלִים וּבִזְמוֹרוֹת וּבָהֶן עֲנָבִים וּבְמַכְבְּדוֹת וּבָהֶן תְּמָרִים, אִם אֵין הַקַּשִּׁין וְהַזְּמוֹרוֹת וְהַמַּכְבְּדוֹת אֲרֻכִּין כָּל כָּךְ עַד שֶׁיְּהֵא בָּהֶן רֹב נֶגֶד הָאֹכֶל וְהַיָּד שֶׁלּוֹ – הֲרֵי הִיא פְּסוּלָה.קח,42

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? כְּשֶׁקָּצַר אוֹ בָּצַר אוֹתָן לַאֲכִילָה,קט שֶׁאָז צָרִיךְ חִבּוּר הַיָּד עִם הָאֹכֶל לֶאֱחֹז בּוֹ אֶת הָאֹכֶל,קי,43 אֲבָל אִם קְצָרָן וּבְצָרָן לְסִכּוּךְ,קיא שֶׁאָז אֵין נוֹחַ לוֹ חִבּוּר הַיָּד עִם הָאֹכֶל, שֶׁהֲרֵי הָאֹכֶל פּוֹסֵל סֻכָּתוֹ,קיב,44 וְלָכֵן אֵין הַיָּד מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה, שֶׁאֵין הַיָּד מְקַבֵּל טֻמְאָה אֶלָּא מֵחֲמַת שֶׁהוּא טָפֵל וּמְשַׁמֵּש לָאֹכֶל וְנֶחְשָׁב כָּאֹכֶל עַצְמוֹ,קיג מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן אֹכֶל זֶה שֶׁאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹ כְּלָל לְסִכּוּךְ שֶׁבִּשְׁבִילוֹ קְצָרוֹ וְאֵין הַיָּד טָפֵל אֵלָיו, וּלְפִיכָךְ הַיָּד מִצְטָרֵף עִם שְׁאָר אֹרֶךְ הַקַּשִּׁין וְהַזְּמוֹרוֹת לְבַטֵּל אֶת הָאֹכֶל בְּרֹב:קיד

17 If at the outset, a person harvested and reaped [the grain or fruit] with the intent of using them for food, and then changed his mind, and decided to use [the branches] for s’chach, his [change of] intent does not change the status of the accessories and remove their susceptibility to ritual impurity.42 [To do that,] he must do something to them that indicates that when he reaped or harvested, it was with the intent of using them for s’chach and not for food; e.g., he must thresh them with mallets or with animal hooves.45

יז וְאִם מִתְּחִלָּה קְצָרָן וּבְצָרָן לַאֲכִילָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִמְלַךְ עֲלֵיהֶן לְסִכּוּךְקטו – אֵין הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה מוֹצִיאָה אֶת הַיָּדוֹת מִידֵי קַבָּלַת טֻמְאָה,42 עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה בָּהֶן מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנִּכָּרקטז כְּשֶׁקָּצַר אוֹ בָּצַרקיז שֶׁרוֹצֶה אוֹתָם לְסִכּוּךְ וְלֹא לַאֲכִילָה, כְּגוֹן שֶׁיָּדוּשׁ אוֹתָן בְּמַקָּבוֹת אוֹ בְּרַגְלֵי בְּהֵמָה:קיח,45

18 Any [plant] that is primarily used as animal fodder and is consumed by humans only for medicinal purposes, such as finugee, which is called shumar in Arabic,46 may be used for s’chach as an initial and preferred option.

יח כָּל שֶׁהוּא מַאֲכַל בְּהֵמָה וְאֵין בְּנֵי אָדָם אוֹכְלִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא לִרְפוּאָה,קיט כְּגוֹן פינו"גי הַנִּקְרָא בְּעַרְבִי שומ"ר46 – מְסַכְּכִין בּוֹ לְכַתְּחִלָּה:קכ

19 If one used for s’chach vegetables that will dry within seven days,47 and their leaves will fall, leaving open space,42 [the leaves] are considered from the outset as if they have [already] fallen, even though they have not yet dried. Hence, [an area of] three handbreadths of them – even if they are at the side [of the sukkah] – disqualifies the sukkah as empty space would, as will be explained in sec. 632.48 Though they are susceptible to ritual impurity they are not considered as invalid s’chach,49 which does not disqualify the sukkah unless there are four handbreadths of it in the midst of the s’chach.50 [The rationale is that] since ultimately [the leaves] will wilt and fall in the course of the festival, they are not considered as s’chach. It is as if they do not exist.

יט סִכֵּךְ בִּירָקוֹת שֶׁמְּמַהֲרִים לְהִתְיַבֵּשׁקכא תּוֹךְ שִׁבְעָה יָמִיםקכב,47 וְלִפֹּל הֶעָלִין עַד שֶׁיִּשָּׁאֵר אֲוִירקכג,42 – הֲרֵי הֵן חֲשׁוּבִין כְּאִלּוּ נָפְלוּ מִיָּדקכד אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא יָבְשׁוּ,קכה וּפוֹסְלִין אֶת הַסֻּכָּהקכו אֲפִלּוּ מִן הַצַּד בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִיםקכז כְּדִין אֲוִיר, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תרל"ב.קכח,48 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה – אֵין דִּינָן כִּסְכָךְ פָּסוּל49 שֶׁאֵינוֹ פּוֹסֵל אֶלָּא בְּאַרְבָּעָה טְפָחִים בְּאֶמְצַע הַסְּכָךְ,קכט,50 דְּכֵיוָן שֶׁסּוֹפָן לִבֹּל וְלִפֹּל תּוֹךְ הַחַגקל – אֵין שֵׁם סְכָךְ עֲלֵיהֶן,קלא וּכְאִלּוּ אֵינָן כְּלָל:קלב

20 One may not use a substance that is [still] connected to the ground as s’chach,1 because it does not resemble “the remnants of the threshing floor and the winepress,”51 which have been detached from the ground.

[Moreover,] if one covered a sukkah with [branches] that were connected [to the ground] and then detached [them], [the s’chach] is invalid.52 [This is derived from] the verse,5 “Make the Sukkos festival....” [Implied is that] one must make [the sukkah], and not [use] something which was already made in an unacceptable manner.53 Since the sukkah was originally made in an unacceptable manner, it is not considered to have been made at all. It is as if nothing was done. The fact that one later made the sukkah valid54 by detaching the tree [from the ground] is not considered as performing an action, for nothing new was done to the s’chach; i.e., he did not undo [his previous action] at all.

Therefore there is no way to correct [such a sukkah] unless one moves about all the invalid s’chach that was detached; i.e., one must lift it up slightly and then put it down again. For at the time it was lifted, the first act — [putting it in place] when it was invalid — was nullified. When he now puts it in place, he is doing something new to the sukkah itself.

כ כָּל דָּבָר הַמְחֻבָּר לַקַּרְקַע – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בּוֹ,קלג,1 לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה לִפְסֹלֶת גֹּרֶן וָיֶקֶב51 שֶׁהֵם תְּלוּשִׁים מִן הַקַּרְקַע.קלד וְאִם סִכֵּךְ בִּמְחֻבָּר וְאַחַר כָּךְ קְצָצוֹ – פָּסוּל,קלה,52 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַרקלו,5 "חַג הַסֻּכֹּת תַּעֲשֶׂה כו'", "תַּעֲשֶׂה" – וְלֹא מִן הֶעָשׂוּיקלז בִּפְסוּל,קלח,53 שֶׁהָעֲשִׂיָּה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁהִיא בִּפְסוּל אֵינָהּ חֲשׁוּבָה עֲשִׂיָּה כְּלָל, כְּאִלּוּ לֹא עָשָׂה מְאוּמָה,קלט וּמַה שֶּׁאַחַר כָּךְ מַכְשִׁירוֹ54 עַל יְדֵי קְצִיצַת הָאִילָן – אֵין זוֹ חֲשׁוּבָה עֲשִׂיָּה,קמ כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה חָדָשׁ בְּהַסְּכָךְ, דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁאֵינוֹ סוֹתְרָהּ כְּלָל,קמא לְפִיכָךְ אֵין לוֹ תַּקָּנָה אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן יְנַעְנֵעַקמב כָּל הַסְּכָךְ הַפָּסוּל שֶׁקְּצָצוֹ,קמג דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁמַּגְבִּיהוֹ מְעַטקמד וְחוֹזֵר וּמַנִּיחוֹ,קמה שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמַּגְבִּיהוֹ נִתְבַּטְּלָה עֲשִׂיָּה הָרִאשׁוֹנָהקמו שֶׁהָיְתָה בִּפְסוּל, וְאַחַר כָּךְ כְּשֶׁמַּנִּיחָן הוּא עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה חָדָשׁ בְּגוּף הַסֻּכָּה:

21 There are certain substances that our Sages forbade using as s’chach as an initial preference. Among them are: [a] grasses with an unpleasant smell, [which are invalid] even though they are not edible and are not susceptible to ritual impurity;55 and also [b] certain kinds of brambles whose leaves fall at all times, even when there is no wind.56

[The rationale is that] we are apprehensive that a person may leave the sukkah because of the unpleasant smell or because of the falling leaves. Nevertheless, if one transgressed and used these materials as s’chach, [the sukkah] is valid and one may dwell in it32 as an initial and preferred option.

כא יֵשׁ דְּבָרִים שֶׁאָסְרוּ חֲכָמִים לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶןקמז לְכַתְּחִלָּה,קמח וְהֵם מִינֵי עֲשָׂבִים שֶׁרֵיחָם רַע,קמט אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן רְאוּיִין לַאֲכִילָה וְאֵין מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה,קנ,55 וְכֵן מִינֵי סְנֶה שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶן נוֹשְׁרִיןקנא תָּמִיד אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת הָרוּחַ,קנב,56 לְפִי שֶׁאָנוּ חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁרֵיחָן רַע אוֹ מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶן נוֹשְׁרִין יֵצֵא מִן הַסֻּכָּה.קנג וְאִם עָבַר וְסִכֵּךְ בָּהֶן – כְּשֵׁרָה,קנד וּמֻתָּר לֵישֵׁב בָּהּ32 לְכַתְּחִלָּה:קנה

22 Bundles of straw or bundles of wood may not be used for s’chach while they are bound together.6 [The rationale is that] on any summer evening a person will sometimes come from the fields with his bundle on his shoulder and place it to dry on the sukkah that he uses throughout the summer for his herds. [Thus he will] not [have placed it there] for the purpose of shade. When Sukkos57 comes, he will change his mind [and desire to use it] for s’chach. [This is not acceptable,] for [with regard to the sukkah] the Torah states,58 “Make [the Sukkos festival...].” [Implied is that] one must make [the sukkah], and not [use] something that was already made in an unacceptable manner.

Now, this bundle was not placed there for s’chach, [nor] even for shade, but to dry. Hence, it is not considered as s’chach and this sukkah will have been made in an unacceptable manner. The Sages therefore ordained that bundles should never be used as s’chach even when they were placed on the sukkah in order to fulfill the mitzvah of sukkah for the festival. [See fig. 14.] This ordinance [is a safeguard to forestall the possibility of error] involving bundles [that may have been placed there] throughout the summer.

Fig. 14: See sec. 629:22.
Fig. 14: See sec. 629:22.

כב חֲבִילֵי קַשׁ וַחֲבִילֵי עֵצִים – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהֶןקנו כְּשֶׁהֵן אֲגוּדִין,קנז,6 מִפְּנֵי שֶׁפְּעָמִים שֶׁאָדָם בָּא מִן הַשָּׂדֶה בָּעֶרֶבקנח בְּכָל יְמוֹת הַחַמָּהקנט וַחֲבִילָתוֹ עַל כְּתֵפוֹ וּמַנִּיחָהּ עַל גַּבֵּי סֻכָּתוֹקס שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ כָּל יְמוֹת הַחַמָּה לְמִקְנֵהוּקסא כְּדֵי לְיַבְּשָׁהּקסב וְלֹא לְשֵׁם סְכָךְקסג וּכְשֶׁמַּגִּיעַ הַחַג57 נִמְלָךְ עָלֶיהָ לְסִכּוּךְ,קסד וְהַתּוֹרָה אָמְרָהקסה,58 "תַּעֲשֶׂה" – וְלֹא מִן הֶעָשׂוּיקסו בִּפְסוּל,קסז וַחֲבִילָה זוֹ שֶׁהֻנְּחָה שָׁם שֶׁלֹּא לְשֵׁם סְכָךְ אֲפִלּוּ לְצֵלקסח אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לְיַבְּשָׁהּ – אֵין שֵׁם סְכָךְ עָלֶיהָ,קסט וְנִמְצָא שֶׁעֲשִׂיָּתָהּ שֶׁל סֻכָּה זוֹ הִיא בִּפְסוּל, לְפִיכָךְ גָּזְרוּ חֲכָמִיםקע שֶׁלֹּא יְסַכְּכָהּ בַּחֲבִילוֹת אֲפִלּוּ הוּא מְטִילָהּ עַל הַסֻּכָּה לְשֵׁם מִצְוַת סֻכַּת הַחַג, גְּזֵרָה מִשּׁוּם חֲבִילוֹת שֶׁל כָּל יְמוֹת הַחַמָּה:קעא

23 Since this prohibition was enacted only because of this ordinance, it was necessary to prohibit [the use of] only bundles [of the kind] which are commonly left to dry out, i.e., which have no fewer than 25 canes in them.59 Bundles of fewer than 25 canes may be used as s’chach.

כג וְכֵיוָן שֶׁלֹּא אָסְרוּ אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי גְּזֵרָה זוֹ, לֹא הֻצְרְכוּ לֶאֱסֹר אֶלָּא בַּחֲבִילָה שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ לַיַּבְּשָׁהּ,קעב דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ לֹא פָּחוֹת מִן עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה קָנִים,קעג,59 אֲבָל חֲבִילָה שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה קָנִים – מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהּ:קעד

24 [Moreover,] even if there are 25 or more canes coming out of one stem, but they are separate at the other end and bound together there, they may be used as s’chach,60 for since they [emerge from] the same stem, they do not resemble a bundle that is left to dry. If, however, a person tied one cane that did not emerge from the same stem together with them, it is considered as [such] a bundle if there are 25 canes together with the additional one, and it may not be used as s’chach.

כד וְאִם עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה קָנִים אוֹ יוֹתֵרקעה יוֹצְאִין מִגֶּזַע אֶחָד וְהֵן מְפֹרָדִין בְּרֹאשָׁן הַשֵּׁנִי וַאֲגָדָן שָׁםקעו – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן כֵּיוָן שֶׁעִקָּרָן אֶחָד אֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה לַחֲבִילָה שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ לְיַבְּשָׁהּ וְלָכֵן מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהּ.60 וְאִם אָגַד עִמָּהֶן קָנֶה אֶחָדקעז שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְחֻבֶּרֶת עִמָּהֶן בְּעִקָּר אֶחָד, אִם יֵשׁ בַּחֲבִילָה זוֹ עִם קָנֶה זֶה עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה קָנִים – נִקְרֵאת חֲבִילָה, וְאֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהּ:קעח

25 As to canes that are bound together in bundles to be sold in the marketplace by number,2 a purchaser unties them as soon as he buys them. One may [therefore] use them as s’chach. The ordinance forbidding the use of bundles bound throughout the summer months is not applied [in this context], because such a bundle is not ordinarily set aside while bound. [Even one who] purchases it to dry out [the wood] unties it immediately.

כה קָנִים שֶׁעוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן חֲבִילוֹת חֲבִילוֹת כְּדֵי לְמָכְרָן בַּשּׁוּק בְּמִנְיָןקעט,2 וּכְשֶׁקּוֹנֶה אוֹתָן הַלּוֹקֵחַ מַתִּיר אִגּוּדָן מִיָּדקפ – מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן, וְאֵין בָּהֶן מִשּׁוּם גְּזֵרַת חֲבִילָה שֶׁל כָּל יְמוֹת הַחַמָּה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁחֲבִילָה זוֹ אֵין דֶּרֶךְ לְהַצְנִיעָהּ בַּאֲגֻדָּה,קפא וְהַלּוֹקְחָהּ כְּדֵי לְיַבְּשָׁהּ מַתִּיר אַגְדָּהּקפב מִיָּד:

26 [The following law applies to] bundles of willow branches whose thick ends are tied together at one extremity and whose thin ends are tied together at the other.2 As soon as one unties the knot at the thick end, [the bundle] may be used as s’chach, because the knot at the [thin] end is not so strong that it will hold if the bundle is carried. And any bundle that is not fit to be carried while bound is not considered a bundle at all.

כו חֲבִילוֹת שֶׁעוֹשִׂין מֵעֲרָבָה וְרָאשֵׁיהֶן הַגַּסִּים לְצַד אֶחָד וְרָאשֵׁיהֶן הַדַּקִּין לְצַד אַחֵר2 וְדַרְכָּן לְקָשְׁרָן בִּשְׁנֵי רָאשֵׁיהֶן, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִתִּיר קֶשֶׁר שֶׁבְּרֹאשׁ הַגַּס – מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן,קפג מִשּׁוּם שֶׁהַקֶּשֶׁר שֶׁלַּצַּד הָאַחֵר אֵינוֹ חָזָק כָּל כָּךְ שֶׁיִּתְקַיֵּם אִם יְטַלְטֵל אֶת הַחֲבִילָה, וְכָל אֶגֶד שֶׁאֵינוֹ עָשׂוּי לְטַלְטְלוֹ בְּאַגְדּוֹ – אֵינוֹ נִקְרָא אֶגֶד כְּלָל:קפד

27 If [such] a bundle was tied only in the middle, it may not be used as s’chach, because it could be carried when bound in this way.

כז אֲבָל אִם קָשַׁר אֶת הַחֲבִילָה בְּאֶמְצָעָהּ בִּלְבַד – אֵין מְסַכְּכִין בָּהּ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא מִטַּלְטֶלֶת בְּאֶגֶד זֶה:קפה

28 If one transgressed and used a bundle as s’chach, he may untie [it] and thus [render the s’chach] valid.6 Though the sukkah was originally made in an unacceptable manner, it should not be disqualified because of [the above requirement to] “make, rather than [use] what was already made in an unacceptable manner.”61 [This leniency is granted] because [bundles are] deemed invalid only by Rabbinic ordinance, as explained above.62

If, however, one placed a bundle [on the sukkah] to dry, and when Sukkos arrived he changed his mind and decided to use it for s’chach, it is invalid by Scriptural Law, for it was not put there for shade. Hence, untying it is not sufficient to render it valid. [The rationale is that] it was not disqualified merely because it was tied together; rather, the fact that it was not laid in place for shade caused it to be disqualified by Scriptural Law. Something new must therefore be done to [the way] it was laid down. It must be lifted up slightly and then put back in place with the intent that it provide shade.

The bundle must also be untied, for a bundle may not be used as s’chach because of the [safeguard] that was ordained [to forestall the possibility of error] involving a bundle [that may have been placed there] throughout the summer, as was explained above.62

כח אִם עָבַר וְסִכֵּךְ בַּחֲבִילָה – מַתִּיר אַגְדָּהּ וְהִיא כְּשֵׁרָה.קפו,6 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁתְּחִלַּת עֲשִׂיַּת סֻכָּה זוֹ הָיְתָה בִּפְסוּל – אֵין לְפָסְלָהּ מִשּׁוּם "תַּעֲשֶׂה וְלֹא מִן הֶעָשׂוּי בִּפְסוּל",61 כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין פְּסוּלָהּ אֶלָּא מֵחֲמַת גְּזֵרָה בְּעָלְמָאקפז כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר.קפח,62

אֲבָל חֲבִילָה שֶׁהֶעֱלָה אוֹתָהּ לְיַבְּשָׁהּ וּכְשֶׁהִגִּיעַ הַחַג נִמְלַךְ עָלֶיהָ לְסִכּוּךְ שֶׁפְּסוּלָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה,קפט שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא הֻנְּחָה שָׁם לְשֵׁם צֵלקצ – אֵין מוֹעִיל לָהּ הַתָּרַת הָאֶגֶד לְהַכְשִׁירָהּ,קצא כֵּיוָן שֶׁפְּסוּלָהּ לֹא הָיָה מֵחֲמַת הָאֶגֶד בִּלְבַד, אֶלָּא הַנָּחָתָהּ שֶׁלֹּא לְשֵׁם צֵל גָּרַם לָהּ לְהִפָּסֵל מִן הַתּוֹרָה, לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת מַעֲשֶׂה חָדָשׁ לְהַנָּחָתָהּ, דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁיַּגְבִּיהֶנּוּ מְעַט וְיַחֲזֹר וְיַנִּיחֵהוּקצב לְשֵׁם צֵל,קצג וְגַם צָרִיךְ לְהַתִּיר אַגְדָּהּ,קצד שֶׁאֵין מְסַכְּכִין בַּחֲבִילָה גְּזֵרָה מִשּׁוּם חֲבִילָה שֶׁל כָּל יְמוֹת הַחַמָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר:62

29 Boards that are [at least] four handbreadths wide may not be used as s’chach,63 because the ceilings of most homes are made of [such boards]. Thus, [were they to be used,] there would be cause for concern that someone might sit under the ceiling of his home and say, “What difference is there between covering my sukkah with such boards — and sitting under the ceiling of my home? It, too, is made of boards!” And the ceiling of a home is invalid [as s’chach] according to Scriptural Law, for the reason explained in sec. 626.64

כט נְסָרִים שֶׁרָחְבָּן אַרְבָּעָה טְפָחִים – אָסוּר לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן,קצה,63 לְפִי שֶׁרֹב תִּקְרוֹת הַבַּיִת עֲשׂוּיוֹת מֵהֶן,קצו וְיֵשׁ לָחֹשׁ שֶׁמָּא יֵשֵׁב תַּחַת תִּקְרַת בֵּיתוֹ וְיֹאמַר מַה לִּי לְסַכֵּךְ בִּנְסָרִים אֵלּוּ מַה לִּי לֵישֵׁב תַּחַת תִּקְרַת בֵּיתִי אַף הִיא מִנְּסָרִים עֲשׂוּיָה,קצז וְתִקְרַת הַבַּיִת הִיא פְּסוּלָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה מִטַּעַם שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תרכ"ו:קצח,64

30 Even if one did not place the width of the boards on the sukkah, but turned them and laid them on their sides, which were less than four handbreadths wide, they are, nevertheless, invalid.63 Once they have been deemed invalid, they are like metal spits that are invalid as s’chach, regardless of which way they are turned.

ל וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם לֹא הֵטִיל רֹחַב הַנְּסָרִים עַל גַּבֵּי הַסֻּכָּה אֶלָּא הֲפָכָן וְהִשְׁכִּיבָן עַל צִדָּן שֶׁהוּא פָּחוּת מֵאַרְבָּעָה טְפָחִים – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן פְּסוּלָה,קצט,63 דְּכֵיוָן שֶׁיֵּשׁ שֵׁם פְּסוּל עֲלֵיהֶןר – נַעֲשׂוּ כְּשַׁפּוּדִין שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶתרא הַפְּסוּלִין לְסַכֵּךְ בְּכָל עִנְיָן שֶׁהוֹפְכָן:רב

31 However, boards that are less than four handbreadths wide may be used as s’chach even if they have been planed and resemble utensils,65 despite the fact that they are wide enough to be fit for use as seats66 [and] are also fit to have fruit and loaves placed on them.67 Nevertheless, they are not susceptible to ritual impurity, for they were not set aside to be sat upon nor to be used for any other purpose, but are intended for construction or for destroying a building.68

לא אֲבָל מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בִּנְסָרִים שֶׁאֵין רָחְבָּן אַרְבָּעָה טְפָחִים,רג וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם הֵם מְשֻׁפִּיןרד וְדוֹמִין לְכֵלִים,רה,65 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן רְאוּיִים לִישִׁיבָה,66 גַּם הֵן רְאוּיִין לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהֶן לְהַנִּיחַ פֵּרוֹת וְכִכָּרוֹת עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן67 שֶׁהֲרֵי הֵן רְחָבִין קְצָת – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן אֵינָן מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה אִם אֵינָן מְיֻחָדִין לֹא לִישִׁיבָה וְלֹא לְשׁוּם תַּשְׁמִישׁ,רו אֶלָּא עוֹמְדִין לְבִנְיָןרז אוֹ לִסְתִירָה:רח,68

32 Today, when homes are roofed by boards that are less than three handbreadths wide, a sukkah should be disqualified even if boards less than three handbreadths wide are used as s’chach, because of the [safeguard] that was ordained lest one sit under the ceiling of his home that is made of such boards.69

However, one may use very narrow boards, such as lattices and shingles,70 for it is not common to make the ceiling of a home out of such narrow boards. Nevertheless, one must be careful to make the s’chach temporary and light so that rain can penetrate [the sukkah], as stated in sec. 631[:5]. It has therefore become customary not to use [boards] for s’chach at all, lest someone err and [build] a permanent [roof] that rain could not penetrate.

לב וְעַכְשָׁו בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁמְּסַכְּכִין הַבָּתִּים בִּנְסָרִים שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן שְׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִים – יֵשׁ לִפְסֹל סֻכָּה הַמְסֻכֶּכֶת אֲפִלּוּ בִּנְסָרִים שֶׁאֵין בְּרָחְבָּן שְׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִים,רט מִשּׁוּם גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יֵשֵׁב תַּחַת תִּקְרַת בֵּיתוֹ הָעֲשׂוּיָה מִנְּסָרִים כָּאֵלּוּ.69

אֲבָל מֻתָּר לְסַכֵּךְ בִּנְסָרִים קְצָרִים מְאֹד שֶׁקּוֹרִין (לאיטי"ש אוֹ שינדלי"ן),70 שֶׁאֵין דֶּרֶךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת תִּקְרַת הַבַּיִת מִנְּסָרִים קְצָרִים כָּאֵלּוּ.רי וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר לַעֲשׂוֹת הַסְּכָךְ עֲרַאי וְקַל בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁיּוּכְלוּ הַגְּשָׁמִים לֵירֵד בְּתוֹכוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תרל"א.ריא וּלְפִיכָךְ נָהֲגוּ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא לְסַכֵּךְ בָּהֶן כְּלָל, שֶׁמָּא יִטְעוּ לְסַכֵּךְ בְּעִנְיַן קְבִיעוּת שֶׁלֹּא יוּכְלוּ הַגְּשָׁמִים לֵירֵד בְּתוֹכוֹ:ריב

33 In a pressing situation, where people lack materials to use as s’chach, one may use boards as s’chach, even if they are [more than] four handbreadths wide, if there is no other alternative.71 This principle applies to all materials prohibited [as s’chach] because of a Rabbinic ordinance.

[The end of sec. 62972 and the entire sec. 630 are not extant.]

לג וּבִשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם בְּמַה לְּסַכֵּךְ – מְסַכְּכִין בִּנְסָרִים אֲפִלּוּ יֵשׁ בָּהֶם אַרְבָּעָה טְפָחִים אִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר בְּעִנְיָן אַחֵר.ריג,71 וְהוּא הַדִּין בְּכָל דָּבָר הָאָסוּר מִשּׁוּם גְּזֵרָה:ריד