Eating in the Sukkah

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Based on the pesukim in the Torah which read -בַּסֻּכֹּת תֵּשְׁבוּ, שִׁבְעַת יָמִים; כָּל-הָאֶזְרָח, בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, יֵשְׁבוּ, בַּסֻּכֹּת. לְמַעַן, יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם, כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם: אֲנִי, ה אֱלֹקיכֶם.- "For a seven day period you shall live in booths. Every resident among the Israelites shall live in booths, in order that your [ensuing] generations should know that I had the children of Israel live in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord, your God." [1] there is a positive commandment to sit in the Sukkah for the 7 days of Sukkot. [2]

Eating in the Sukkah

  1. There’s an obligation to eat a Kezayit of bread in the Sukkah on the first night of Sukkot. [3] During the remaining days there is no obligation to eat in the succa because you can just eat fruits or vegetables but there is still a mitzva to eat bread in the succa every day. [4]
  2. While sitting in the Sukkah, one should have intent that one will fulfill the mitzvah, and that Hashem commanded us to sit in Sukkot in order to remember the exodus from Egypt (Yetsiat Mitzrayim) and that the Sukkot are in commemoration for the clouds of glory. [5]According to most authorities, after the fact, if one didn't have these intentions then one fulfills the mitzvah as long as one had intention to fulfill the mitzvah. [6]

Who is obligated to eat in the Sukkah?

  1. Women are exempt from the Sukkah. [7]
  2. Very young children are exempt from the Sukkah, however, once they are reach that they no longer need their mother (around age 5) there is a mitzvah of Chinuch (training them in mitzvot) that a child be obligated in sitting in the sukkah. [8]
  3. A person who is sick is exempt from the Sukkah. [9]
  4. Someone who needs to travel for business purposes is exempt from sitting in a sukkah. [10]
  5. One is not required to eat in the sukkah if it is raining. [11] If it is raining and one began to eat inside, he may continue to eat inside even when it stops raining. [12] However, these rules only apply after the first night. For the rules for the first night see below.

Which foods can one eat outside the Sukkah?

Bread

  1. It is permissible to eat up to a KeBaytzah of bread outside the Sukkah but for any more than a KeBaytzah one must eat it in the Sukkah and make a Bracha of Leshev BaSukkah. [13]
  2. If one only ate a Kezayit of bread and other foods, according to Ashkenazim this is a meal and one must eat it in the Sukkah and even make the bracha of Leshev BaSukkah[14], however, according to Sephardim one doesn't have to eat this in the Sukkah and even if one eats in the Sukkah one does not make the bracha of LeShev BaSukkah. [15]

Fruits

  1. It is permissible to eat fruits even if one eats a lot of fruit. [16]Nonetheless, it's praiseworthy to have fruit in the Sukkah. [17]

Drinks

  1. One may have drinks outside the Sukkah. [18] However, if one sits down to drink wine in a fixed manner (not just as a snack) especially if a group of people sit to drink wine one must drink it in the Sukkah but not make the Bracha of Leshev BaSukkah. According to Ashkenazim, preferably, one should not establish a fix drink of wine or beer except in a meal of a KeBaytzah of bread or at least a cooked dish made out of the five grains in which must eat in the Sukkah and could even make the Bracha of Leshev BaSukkah. [19] Nonetheless, it's praiseworthy to have all drinks in the Sukkah. [20]

Meat, Fish, Cheese

  1. If one makes a meal out of meat, fish, cheese, and the like, one should eat it in the Sukkah. However, if one doesn't eat it as a meal one may eat outside the Sukkah. [21] Nonetheless, it's praiseworthy to have meat, fish, rice, eggs, and cheese in the Sukkah. [22]

Cookies and Cakes

  1. If one ate a KeBaytzah of Pas Haba Bikisnin (cookies and cakes) or a cooked dish made out of the five grains (such as noodles) one must eat it in the Sukkah and the Ashkenazic minhag is to make a bracha of LeShev BaSukkah, but it's preferable to wait in the Sukkah for some time afterwards and have in mind when making the bracha that it should cover the eating and the sitting in the sukkah afterwards. [23] Sephardim hold that even though one must eat it in a Sukkah (if one eats more than a KeBaytzah) one doesn't make the bracha of LeShev BaSukkah unless one ate 162 grams of a mezonot food and it's preferable to eat 216 grams in order to make the bracha according to all opinions. [24]

If one is middle of a meal

  1. If one is middle of a bread meal one may not eat any food or drink outside the Sukkah and even if has food in one's mouth and one began chewing when one leaves the Sukkah one shouldn't continue chewing until one returns to the Sukkah. [25]

Bracha of Leshev BeSukkah

  1. It's proper to say the bracha of Leshev before making the HaMotzei. However, it's not an interruption if one does HaMotzei before Leshev. On Shabbat and Yom Tov, the Leshev is said in Kiddish before one drinks from the wine. [26]
  2. For which foods it's proper to make LeShev BaSukkah above #Which_foods_can_one_eat_outside_the_Sukkah?.

First night of sukkot

  1. One should wait to do Kiddish until after Tzet HaKochavim. However, after the fact if one made Kiddish during Ben HaShemashot and ate a Kezayit of bread one should make sure to have another Kezayit after Tzet HaKochavim but one doesn’t need to make another Bracha of LeShev BaSukkah. [27]
  2. On the first night of Sukkot the Bracha of Shehecheyanu should be said after Kiddush. [28]After the fact if one made Shehecheyanu before Kiddish one fulfilled one's obligation (and one shouldn't go repeat it after Kiddish). [29]
  3. If one didn’t make a Shehecheyanu on the first night of Sukkot, one can make it the rest of days and nights of Sukkot. [30]

If it rains the first night of Sukkot

  1. If it rains the first night of Sukkot,
    1. According to Sephardim, one is exempt from the Sukkah and one should eat in the house. However, if one wants to be strict one may wait a little bit for the rain to stop but one should not wait too long which would cause oneself pain on Yom Tov. If after eating the house the rains stops then if it’s before Chatzot (halachic midnight) one should go into the Sukkah to eat one Kezayit of bread and make Leshev BaSukkah and if it’s after Chatzot one shouldn’t make the Bracha of Leshev unless one eats a KeBaytzah of bread. [31]
    2. According to Ashekenazim, one is not exempt from the Sukkah and one should wait an hour or two for the rain to stop if it does then one should eat in the Sukkah with a bracha of Leshev BaSukkah but if it doesn't one should eat in the Sukkah without the bracha of LeShev BaSukkah. [32]
  2. Some poskim permit sitting under an umbrella held in hand even over ten tefachim, unlike a more permanent umbrella such as one supported by a table because it is still considered sitting under the schach. [33]

Forgetting to say Yaale VeYavo

  1. If on the first night of Sukkot one had the required Kezayit of bread and in benching one forgot to say Yaale VeYavo
  • if one remembers after saying Baruch Atta Hashem and didn’t conclude Boneh Yerusalayim, one should conclude with Lamdeni Chukecha, and go back to Yaale VeYavo.
  • if one remembers after the entire Bracha of Boneh Yerushalayim, one should insert the Bracha of Baruch Atta Hashem… Asher Nattan Moadim LeSimcha…Mikadesh Yisrael VeHaZmanim (as printed in the siddur).
  • if one remembers after saying Baruch Atta Hashem Eloken Melech HaOlam (of the Bracha of HaTov VeHaMeitiv), one should conclude with Asher Nattan Moadim Lisimcha… and then start the Bracha of HaTov VeHaMeitiv again.
  • if one didn’t remember until the middle of HaTov VeHaMeitiv or later, one must repeat benching. [34]
  1. If one forgot Yaale VeYavo in benching any other day or night of Sukkot
  • if one remembers after Boneh Yerusalayim one should say Baruch Atta Hashem…Asher Nattan Moadim LeSimcha…Mikadesh Yisrael VeHaZmanim.
  • if one didn’t remember until the middle of HaTov VeHaMeitiv or later, one doesn’t repeat benching. [35]

Eating or sleeping in the Sukkah before Sukkot

  1. It’s permissible to eat in the Sukkah before Sukkot (erev Sukkot) and it’s not an issue of Bal Tosif. [36]

Other activities in the Sukkah

  1. Sleeping in the Sukkah (click the link)
  2. One should live in one's Sukkah like one lives in one's house the rest of the year. Therefore, one should eat, drink, sleep, hang out, speak to one's friend, and learn in the Sukkah. [37]
  3. One should even bring one's nice utensils into the Sukkah just like uses them during the year in the house, however, one should not bring one's cooking pots into the Sukkah. [38]
  4. One should not do any degrading activity in the Sukkah. Therefore one should not clean the dishes in the Sukkah, however, one may clean the cups. One may certainly not go to the bathroom in the Sukkah even if one goes in a pot. [39]
  5. Because of the holiness of the Sukkah, it's proper to minimize one's mundane speech in the Sukkah and increase one's speech in Torah and holy matters and all the more so one should be careful not to speak any forbidden speech should as Lashon Hara. [40]

Learning in the Sukkah

  1. One should learn in the Sukkah unless one isn't unable to concentrate in which case one should learn inside.[41]
  2. If the cold or heat (if one doesn't have air conditioning in the Sukkah) bothers oneself and one can't concentrate to learn one may learn inside. [42]
  3. If it's a pain to bring all the Seforim into the Sukkah many times (as one needs the space to eat or sleep) then one doesn't have to learn in the Sukkah, however, if one can leave all the Seforim in the Sukkah for the entire holiday one must do that. [43]
  4. One who usually learns in a Bet Midrash doesn't have to learn in a Sukkah. [44]
  5. One should pray in a shul and not in one's Sukkah even if one can get a minyan in the Sukkah. If there's no shul in one's city if one is able to concentrate in the Sukkah one should pray in the Sukkah. [45]
  6. If one usually does Havdalah at home during Sukkot one should do it in the Sukkah. However, those who listen to Havdalah in the shul can do so also on Sukkot. [46] If one does it in the succah there is a discussion if you should recite the beracha. [47]
  7. A community committee meeting can take place as usual and doesn't have to be in the Sukkah. [48]

Sources

  1. Vayikra (23:42-43)
  2. Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvot, Aseh #168), Chinuch Mitzva 325. The Tur 625 explains that the reason we were commanded to do this specifically in tishrei and not in nissan is to make it clear that we aren't doing it for the shade it provides but rather because it is Hashem's command as this is a time that people normally move indoors and we move outdoors for this time.
  3. Rambam Hilchot Succa 6:7, S”A 639:3, Chazon Ovadyah pg 132
  4. Mishna Berura 639:24
  5. There is a dispute in Gemara Sukkah 11b whether the Sukkot that Jews sit in are in commemoration of actual sukkot that Bnei Yisrael sat in in the desert or the Ananei Hakavod (clouds of glory) that God gave us for protection. The Tur 625:1 writes that the Sukkot are in commemoration of the Ananei Hakavod and the Jews sit in the Succa specifically in the winter (instead of when Bnei Yisrael left Eygpt) to show that even though the norm is to move back into your house for the winter, we move outside to fulfill G-d’s will. The Bach 625:1 s.v. BaSukkot says that the fact that the Tur wrote this indicates that one hasn't fulfilled one's mitzva completely if while sitting in the Sukkah one didn’t remember the exodus from Egypt (Yetsiyat Mitzrayim) since the pasuk states explicitly that the mitzvah of Sukkot is to remind us of the exodus. The Mishna Brurah 625:1 writes that one should have the intent that Hashem commanded us to sit in Sukkot in order to remember the exodus from Egypt (Yetsiat Mitzrayim) and that the Sukkat are in commemoration for the clouds of glory.
  6. The Pri Megadim (A"A Intro to Siman 625) writes that this is only in order to do the mitzvah in it's best way, however, after the fact even without the intent one has still fulfilled one's obligation as long as one had the intent to fulfill the mitzvah (as part of the concept that mitzvot need kavana). Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 97) and Mishna Berura (625:1) agree with the Pri Megadim, unlike the Bikkurei Yaakov (625:3) who holds that one doesn't fulfill one's obligation at all without the proper intent. Rav Shternbach in Moadim UZmanim (vol 1 pg 169) writes that although lacking the Kavanna doesn’t take away the mitzvah, however, one still looses the separate mitzvah of having kavanah.
  7. Mishna Sukkah 28a, S"A 640:1
  8. S"A 640:2, Mishna Brurah 640:2. The Magen Avraham 640 says that it is prohibited to feed children outside the sukkah, just like it is forbidden to feed children not kosher food. Sh"uT Binyan Av 1:25 says that a man cannot feed the child outside the sukkah but a woman can. The Mishna Berura 640:5 quotes this magen avraham and adds that on shouldn't even tell the child to eat outside the sukkah. Rav Moshe Shternbuch in Tshuvot Vihanhagot 3:211 says very young children are exempt based on the fact that they need their mothers to eat properly. Aruch Hashulchan 640:2 justifies not obligating them in sukka because children have a lower tolerance for the cold.
  9. S"A 640:3 based on Mishna Sukkah 25a.
  10. Iggerot Moshe OC 3:93 says that the exemption for travelers outlined in the mishna sukkah 25a and the gemara 26a only applies to business travelers and not to those traveling for leisure.
  11. Mishnah Sukkah 28b
  12. Mishna Berurah 639:38 based on Rashi Sukkah 29a "viyardu." Ritva Sukkah 29a "Tannu Rabanan," writes that one is not required to eat in the sukkah if there are rain-clouds in the sky and it appears as if it is going to rain. Rav Shalom Schwadron in Daat Torah OC 639:5 says that most poskim don't accept this opinion but he is in doubt if you can recite a beracha in such a situation.
  13. The Mishna in Sukkah 25a states that one may eat a snack (achilat arai) outside of the sukkah. The Gemara Sukkah 26a, states that the quantity of an achilat arai is the amount that a yeshiva student would eat in the morning on his way to the beit midrash. Tosafot there "Tarti", say that this amount is a k'beitzah. This is the conclusion of S"A 639:2, Mishna Brurah 639:13, Biur Halacha s.v. KeBaytzah, Natai Gavriel 48:2, Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 132), Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 142).
  14. Natai Gavriel 48:7
  15. Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 134)
  16. This is an argument in the gemara Yoma 79b. Tosafot 26a "tarti" rule that it is permitted even in a large quantities because fruit is always considered arai. The Rosh Sukkah 2:13 quotes the Maharam Mirutenberg that one may not eat even fruit outside the sukkah but explains that the Maharam only refers to eating more than a k'beitzah but permits eating less than a k'beitzah of fruit. S"A and Rama 639:2 rule like tosafot, as does Natai Gavriel 50:1
  17. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 138), Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 143), Nitai Gavriel 50:12
  18. S"A 639:2
  19. Mishna Brurah 639:13, Natai Gavriel 50:3
  20. S"A 639:2
  21. Rosh Sukkah 2:13 quotes Rabbeinu Peretz that the leniency of eating fruit outside of the sukkah does not apply to meat, fish and cheese. S"A 639:2 doesn't rule explicitly on these items but Mishna Berurah 639:13 says that S"A implies that it is permissible to eat these items outside of the sukkah, like fruit. This is also the conlusion of Natai Gavriel 50:2
  22. Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 138), Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 143). see also Halichot Olam 2: page 281.
  23. Mishna Brurah 639:16, Maamar Mordechai 639:2, Natai Gavriel 49:1-3
  24. Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 132-6), Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 142-3)
  25. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 143)
  26. S"A and Rama 643:3, Yalkut Yosef Moadim pg 145, Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 172)
  27. Rama 639:3 writes that one make sure not to eat until nighttime. Mishna Brurah 639:25 explains that this is based on the connection between Pesach and Sukkot and by Matzah one may only eat at night as it says in the פסוק. Mishna Brurah continues that after the fact if one ate one should eat another Kezayit but not make another LeShev BaSukkah because of Safek Brachot LeHakel. Natai Gavriel (Sukkot 38:12) extends the Rama to not even making Kiddish before nighttime. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 138) agrees with the above halachot.
  28. S"A 643:1
  29. Mishna Brurah 643:3
  30. Magan Avraham 643:1, Mishna Brurah 643:2, Chazon Ovadyah (pg 95)
  31. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 140), Chazon Ovadyah (Sukkot pg 122)
  32. Mishna Brurah 639:35
  33. Halichot Shlomo 2:8-20, She’arim Metzuyanim b’Halachah 135:5, and Nefesh Chayah OC 629. Rav Elyashiv quoted in Succat Chayim page 52 however does not permit this, It is that the Brisker Rav did in fact do this himself in Hasuccah hashalem, miluim, 13:4.
  34. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 101)
  35. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 101)
  36. Chazon Ovadyah pg 481 holds that’s there no issue of Bal Tosif before the mitzvah was done.
  37. S"A 639:1 writes that one should live in one's Sukkah like one lives in one's house the rest of the year which includes eating, drinking, and sleeping. Mishna Brurah 639:2 adds speaking to one's friend and BeYitzchak Yikare 639:1 adds hanging out. Regarding learning in the Sukkah see further.
  38. S"A 639:1 writes that one should bring one's nice untensils into the Sukkah, however, the cooking pots shouldn't brought in the Sukkah. The Rama adds that one may leave the cooking pots in the Sukkah during the meal but not after the meal, however, the Mishna Brurah 639:5 writes that the minhag is to be strict not to even bring cooking pots in the Sukkah during the meal.
  39. Rama 639:1, Mishna Brurah 639:9
  40. Mishna Brurah 639:2
  41. S"A 639:4. Natai Gavriel 58:1 quotes the Yarot Dvash (Dorosh 6 s.v. VeZehu) who explains that one who sits in the sukkah with pure intent, learns, and enjoys the holiday merits a special level of divine presence.
  42. Mishna Brurah 639:29 writes that if it's too cold for oneself in the sukkah and one can't concentrate one may learn inside. Natai Gavriel 48:7 extends this where it's too hot and one doesn't have air conditioning in the sukkah.
  43. Mishna Brurah 639:29, Natai Gavriel 58:3
  44. S"A HaRav 639:4, Kaf HaChaim 639:63, Natai Gavriel 58:6
  45. S"A 639:4 writes that if one wants one may pray in the Sukkah. The Mishna Brurah 639:30 explains that in the place where one has greater kavanah (concentration) one should pray unless there is a shul in the city in which case one should go there (because during the rest of the year one would leave one's house to go to the shul. Pri Megadim (M"Z 639:14), Kaf HaChaim 639:67, and Natai Gavriel 58:8 add that one should pray in the established shul even if one can get a minyan in the Sukkah.
  46. Mishna Brurah 639:30, Shaar HaTzion 639:57, Kaf HaChaim 639:66.
  47. Shevet ha-Levi 6:42 says no beracha of leshev basuccah is recited because it isn't a keviat seuda, see above. However, Chazon Ish quoted in Rivevos Efrayim 1:428 and 3:424 rules that since it is wine for havdala it elevates the level of drinking to keviat seuda, and therefore would require the beracha. Rav Elyashiv in Succas Chayim page 202 rules that this applies only to wine and not to grape juice. The steipler in Orchos Rabbeinu 2: page 228 as well as Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchita 58:22 recommend eating bread immediately after havdala to avoid any doubts, and recite leseh basuccah Shemirat Shabbat kihilchita recommends reciting the leshev basuccah before the boreh pri hagefen.
  48. Natai Gavriel 58:10 who explains that the Sukkah is supposed to replace one's home but anyway for the meeting one always leaves one's home to go another place and also that they wouldn't be able to concentrate as well in the Sukkah.