14 Sep KASHRUS QUESTIONS: SUKKOS QUESTIONS
Is a canvas sukkah kosher if the walls move in the wind?
Sukkah walls that move in a regular wind are not valid walls. There are different opinions as to what type of movement invalidates a sukkah. To satisfy all opinions, the walls should not move in the wind at all (see Yechaveh Daas 3:46). This standard is difficult to achieve with a canvas sukkah. In the past few years, some sukkah merchants have addressed this concern by including stretchable straps with the canvas walls. The straps wrap around the sukkah. The first strap should be placed 40 inches above the ground. The next strap should be placed less than 9 inches below the first, and each subsequent strap should be placed within 9 inches of the strap above it, until the bottom strap is within 9 inches of the ground. Depending on the thickness of the straps, this will require stretching either four or five straps around the sukkah. This series of straps which do not move in the wind are considered halachically acceptable walls, based on a concept known as lovud. The principal of lovud states that the space between two objects that are within three tefachim (approximately 9 inches) of each other, is treated as sealed in the eyes of halachah. Thus the series of taut straps placed within 9 inches of each other form a halachically valid wall, irrespective of the canvas.
In my sukkah, the table is partially under the schach and partially under an overhang. Is this acceptable?
Shulchan Aruch (634:4) rules that if one eats inside a sukkah, but their table is outside the sukkah, it is as if they ate outside the sukkah. Chazal forbade eating in this manner, because they were concerned that one might lean forward over their table and eat outside the sukkah. This is true even if the sukkah is large. So long as the table is outside of the sukkah, it is forbidden. However, the Mishnah Berurah (634:6) writes that if part of the table is inside the sukkah and part of it extends outside of the sukkah, that is acceptable. How much of the table must be in the sukkah? The Mishnah Berurah (Shar Hatziyun 634:6) writes that this is a matter of dispute. According to the Chayei Adam, even if a tefach (approximately 4 inches) of the table is inside the sukkah, that is sufficient, even though most of the table is outside the sukkah. However, the Birkei Yosef writes that most of the table (51%) must be inside the sukkah.
With respect to our original question, the area under the overhang is not kosher for the mitzvah of sukkah and one should be sure the table is properly configured in the sukkah (preferably, at least 51%). However, since women are not obligated to eat in a sukkah, this concern does not apply, and Chazal did not establish a prohibition. Rav Nissin Karelitz zt”l (Chut Shani – sukkos 11:15) adds that a woman may even recite the beracha of leisheiv b’sukkah when eating inside a sukkah, but at a table that is outside of the sukkah, since they are not violating a Rabbinic injunction.
I am visiting my parents for the first days of Sukkos and my in-laws for the last days. We hung up, in my parent’s Sukkah, decorations that my children made in school. Can we take them down and bring them with us and hang them in my in-law’s Sukkah?
Not only does a Sukkah have special holiness, but the decorations are infused with holiness as well. One may not remove Sukkah decorations from a Sukkah for no reason, unless they were hung before Sukkos on condition that they should not become holy. (There is a specific wording that one must say to prevent them from becoming holy – “aini bodel mayhen kol bein hashmashos shel ches yamim.” [I do not separate myself from them all the twilights of the eight days (of Sukkos).]) However, if one is concerned that they will be ruined or stolen, they may be removed (Piskei Teshuvos 638:7 – citing Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l). Similarly, Tzitz Eliezer (13:67) writes that if the intent is to hang them in another Sukkah, this too is permitted. He explains that this is not considered “bizui mitzvah” (belittling of the mitzvah), since the decoration is being transferred to another Sukkah. Rav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita points out that one may not decrease the level of sanctity of the decorations. If the decorations were hanging from the s’chach, they should be hung again on the s’chach, which has a higher level of holiness than the walls (Mo’adim U’zmanim 6:68).