06-5767 Mitzvah 34 & 35

Talmidav Shel Aharon
06-5767 Mitzvah 34 & 35
November 20, 2006

Mitzvah 34 – It is a positive commandment to rest from work on the first day of Sukkot.
Hafetz Hayyim: As it says in Scripture: “On the first day, a holy convocation.” (Lev. 23:35) The law is the same as the law for the first day of Passover. This is in effect at all times and it every place for both males and for females.

As I wrote then: “Resting on Holidays is not the same as resting on Shabbat. The rest of Shabbat is more comprehensive than that of festivals since Shabbat can be only one day and a festival can be two or more days long. Cooking, spreading an existing flame and carrying from one domain to another are forbidden on Shabbat but permitted on a Festival.”

Mitzvah 35 – It is a positive commandment to dwell in a Sukkah all seven days of the festival..
Hafetz Hayyim: As it says in Scripture: “You shall dwell in booths seven days.” (Lev. 23:42) The entire seven days of the festival, on should eat, drink and live in the Sukkah both by day and night. All the seven days a man is to make his home an occasional place and his Sukkah his fixed place. It is forbidden to eat a regular meal outside the Sukkah; on the first night it is a duty to eat at least an olive’s amount of bread in the Sukkah. Thereafter, if one wants to eat bread, he is to eat it in the Sukkah; if he wants to eat fruit, he may eat it outside the Sukkah. A young child who as reached the age of training has the obligation by the law of the Sages. This is in effect at all times and it every place for males but not for females.

A Sukkah is a booth constructed for the purpose of living in it for the duration of the Sukkot holiday. The shape of the building is like the letters of Sukkah (Samech, Chaf and Hey) that is, it can have four walls (and a door); three walls or two and one-half walls. The walls can be constructed of any material at all, even attached to a permanent structure. What is crucial, however, is the roof. It must be constructed of branches that let sunlight in by day, and allow one to look out at night. By day, there should be more shade than sun on the floor of the Sukkah; by night one should be able to see the stars. The material used must be branches or some other natural material not constructed by human hands. One can use corn stalks, evergreen branches, palm branches or any other natural material cut from its roots or trunk. The branches must actually be cut: a Sukkah cannot be built under a tree to use the growing branches as a roof. One is allowed to beautify the Sukkah in any way that will enhance the beauty of the holiday.
We build a Sukkah in order to use it. We should, minimally, sit in the Sukkah and say the blessing at least once a day. Better, one should eat all their meals in the Sukkah. If possible, one should even sleep in the Sukkah during the seven days of the festivals. While one should eat all their meals in the Sukkah, one can snack anywhere during the festival, as long as it is not a formal meal. (For the Sages, this usually required bread to be served.) The first night of Sukkot, it is required to eat in the Sukkah. Once this minimum is observed, if one only snacks for the other six days and never eats bread until after the holiday is over, he has still fulfilled his obligation to eat in the Sukkah.
The symbolism of the Sukkah is that our ancestors wandered 40 years in the desert with only the clouds of G-d to shelter them from the sun and the elements. We also show our faith in G-d by dwelling in these temporary booths and trusting G-d to protect us. I should note: it is not permitted to sit in the rain or any inclement weather during the festival. In Israel, we can be sure that it will not rain on Sukkot and the weather will be nice. In the rest of the world, we can not be so sure. We should try to eat in the Sukkah, but if the weather is not permitting us to eat there, we cannot endanger our health by sitting there in bad weather.
Every year, in December, I am asked if Jews can decorate their homes and their trees with beautiful lights like our Christian neighbors do. The answer is no. This is their season to decorate, it is their holiday, not ours. We can look at their decorations, but it would be poor taste to imitate it ourselves when it is not our holiday. We can however, decorate our Sukkot in September, with lights, pictures and all manner of decorations in honor of our holiday. Ask your rabbi for Sukkot decorating tips.
The Rabbis of the Talmud teach that a child should be trained in observing the mitzvot before the child becomes obligated. All Jews are obligated to perform all the mitzvot when they reach their thirteenth birthday. The Sages, however, insist that children nine years old and older begin practicing the mitzvot. They should fast a half day on Yom Kippur and eat their meals with the adults in the Sukkah. While there is a long history of Women being exempt from the Mitzvah of living in a Sukkah as it is a “time bound” mitzvah, that women are exempt from performing, today, in the community of Conservative Judaism, woman should also eat and sit in the Sukkah. November 20, 2006

Mitzvah 34 – It is a positive commandment to rest from work on the first day of Sukkot.
Hafetz Hayyim: As it says in Scripture: “On the first day, a holy convocation.” (Lev. 23:35) The law is the same as the law for the first day of Passover. This is in effect at all times and it every place for both males and for females.

As I wrote then: “Resting on Holidays is not the same as resting on Shabbat. The rest of Shabbat is more comprehensive than that of festivals since Shabbat can be only one day and a festival can be two or more days long. Cooking, spreading an existing flame and carrying from one domain to another are forbidden on Shabbat but permitted on a Festival.”

Mitzvah 35 – It is a positive commandment to dwell in a Sukkah all seven days of the festival..
Hafetz Hayyim: As it says in Scripture: “You shall dwell in booths seven days.” (Lev. 23:42) The entire seven days of the festival, on should eat, drink and live in the Sukkah both by day and night. All the seven days a man is to make his home an occasional place and his Sukkah his fixed place. It is forbidden to eat a regular meal outside the Sukkah; on the first night it is a duty to eat at least an olive’s amount of bread in the Sukkah. Thereafter, if one wants to eat bread, he is to eat it in the Sukkah; if he wants to eat fruit, he may eat it outside the Sukkah. A young child who as reached the age of training has the obligation by the law of the Sages. This is in effect at all times and it every place for males but not for females.

A Sukkah is a booth constructed for the purpose of living in it for the duration of the Sukkot holiday. The shape of the building is like the letters of Sukkah (Samech, Chaf and Hey) that is, it can have four walls (and a door); three walls or two and one-half walls. The walls can be constructed of any material at all, even attached to a permanent structure. What is crucial, however, is the roof. It must be constructed of branches that let sunlight in by day, and allow one to look out at night. By day, there should be more shade than sun on the floor of the Sukkah; by night one should be able to see the stars. The material used must be branches or some other natural material not constructed by human hands. One can use corn stalks, evergreen branches, palm branches or any other natural material cut from its roots or trunk. The branches must actually be cut: a Sukkah cannot be built under a tree to use the growing branches as a roof. One is allowed to beautify the Sukkah in any way that will enhance the beauty of the holiday.
We build a Sukkah in order to use it. We should, minimally, sit in the Sukkah and say the blessing at least once a day. Better, one should eat all their meals in the Sukkah. If possible, one should even sleep in the Sukkah during the seven days of the festivals. While one should eat all their meals in the Sukkah, one can snack anywhere during the festival, as long as it is not a formal meal. (For the Sages, this usually required bread to be served.) The first night of Sukkot, it is required to eat in the Sukkah. Once this minimum is observed, if one only snacks for the other six days and never eats bread until after the holiday is over, he has still fulfilled his obligation to eat in the Sukkah.
The symbolism of the Sukkah is that our ancestors wandered 40 years in the desert with only the clouds of G-d to shelter them from the sun and the elements. We also show our faith in G-d by dwelling in these temporary booths and trusting G-d to protect us. I should note: it is not permitted to sit in the rain or any inclement weather during the festival. In Israel, we can be sure that it will not rain on Sukkot and the weather will be nice. In the rest of the world, we can not be so sure. We should try to eat in the Sukkah, but if the weather is not permitting us to eat there, we cannot endanger our health by sitting there in bad weather.
Every year, in December, I am asked if Jews can decorate their homes and their trees with beautiful lights like our Christian neighbors do. The answer is no. This is their season to decorate, it is their holiday, not ours. We can look at their decorations, but it would be poor taste to imitate it ourselves when it is not our holiday. We can however, decorate our Sukkot in September, with lights, pictures and all manner of decorations in honor of our holiday. Ask your rabbi for Sukkot decorating tips.
The Rabbis of the Talmud teach that a child should be trained in observing the mitzvot before the child becomes obligated. All Jews are obligated to perform all the mitzvot when they reach their thirteenth birthday. The Sages, however, insist that children nine years old and older begin practicing the mitzvot. They should fast a half day on Yom Kippur and eat their meals with the adults in the Sukkah. While there is a long history of Women being exempt from the Mitzvah of living in a Sukkah as it is a “time bound” mitzvah, that women are exempt from performing, today, in the community of Conservative Judaism, woman should also eat and sit in the Sukkah.

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