• June 15, 2024
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Sukkot: When to Eat in the Hut (September 17)

Sukkot: When to Eat in the Hut (September 17)

The Torah commands that for seven days the Jewish people dwell in huts called “Sukkot”. This commandment includes eating in the sukkah. In this class, we will discuss when and under what circumstances one must eat in the sukkah. Who is obligated? What does someone who is traveling or working in an office do?

September 17, 2013 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sukkot: When to Eat in the Hut (September 17): Lesson 1
Class description

Hello Everyone, Today we had a shiur on Hilchot Sukkah. One of the principles of the mitzvah of Sukkah is known as תשבו כעין תדורו- we treat the sukkah as our home. If the circumstances would dictate that we leave our home because of discomfort, then under those circumstances we may leave the sukkah. The corollary of this rule is מצטער פטור מן הסוכה- one who suffers is exempt from the mitzvah of Sukkah. A person posed the following question to Rav Yakov Ariel (the Rav of Ramat-Gan). This person lives on the 10th floor of an apartment building. Every time he wants to eat cake on Sukkot he needs to go down ten flights of stairs and then climb ten flights of stairs to get back home. Might he be exempt from the mitzvah of Sukkah because of מצטער? Going down and then climbing back up ten flights of stairs is clearly a form of צער . Rav Ariel agreed that going up and down the stairs is a burden. However, the discomfort of going up and down the stairs is not the discomfort that exempts one from sitting in the sukkah. When Chazal rule that מצטער פטור מן הסוכהthe discomfort is caused by the sukkah. Chazal exempted people from sitting in cold, drafty, malodorous or cramped sukkot. Similarly sick people are exempt from sitting in the sukkah. However, in the questioner’s case the sukkah itself is totally habitable. The problem is only the issue of getting to the sukkah. Rav Ariel cited a story about Rav Chaim of Brisk. A poor man came to Rav Chaim with the following problem: The poor man lived in Brisk. He received a telegram from his father who lived in Warsaw telling him that he needs his help immediately. Unfortunately, the poor man had no money to buy a train ticket to get to Warsaw. The Halacha rules that the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents is to be fulfilled with the money of the parents. So, in this case, since the poor son has no money pay for the train ride to Warsaw, and his father did not send money for the ticket, is the son exempt from travelling to Warsaw and fulfilling the mitzvah of כבוד אב? Rav Chaim replied that indeed the son has no obligation to go into debt in order to take a train to Warsaw. The son can walk to Warsaw. Rav Ariel says that in this case also we need to realize that the difficulty required to perform the mitzvah does not excuse a person from the mitzvah. On the other hand Rav Ariel points out that there is no particular obligation to eat cake on Sukkot. He suggests that the questioner eat fruits and vegetables for a snack and thus have no need to go down and up the stairs so many times. Chag sameiach to everyone, Stuart Fischman

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Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.