laws of THE FESTIVALS
Eating, Drinking, and Sleeping in the Sukka
week, we concluded our analysis of the mitzva of “yeshiva ba-sukka” –
dwelling in the sukka. Deepening our discussion of the nature of the
mitzva to dwell in the
sukka after the first night, we discussed the blessing of leishev
ba-sukka, and we compared and contrasted the mitzva of sukka to the mitzva of matza.
week, we will define in greater detail which activities, including eating,
drinking, and sleeping, one must perform in the sukka, and which one is
permitted to do outside of a sukka.
Eating in the
Sukka - Distinguishing Between Akhilat Arai and Akhilat
gemara, as we shall see, explicitly
relates to certain activities that must be performed in the sukka and
those that may be performed outside. In addition, the gemara specifies which foods one must
eat in the sukka and which may be eaten outside. Broadly speaking, the Rishonim and Acharonim question whether the gemara intends to obligate one who eats
only specific types of foods, which are generally eaten within one’s home, or
whether even other foods, when eaten in a meal-like manner, must also be eaten
in the sukka.
eating outside of the sukka, the
mishna (25a) distinguishes between one who eats an “akhilat keva,”
loosely translated as one who eats a meal, and akhilat arai, one who eats
a snack. The Rishonim (see Ritva 25a,
s.v. ochlin, for example) explain that since one ordinarily eats small
quantities, or snack food, outside of one’s house, eating “arai” outside
of the sukka does not violate “teshvu ke-ein taduru,” which
demands that one perform those activities that one ordinarily does in one’s home
in the sukka.
gemara refers to two foods. On the
one hand, one who eats a significant quantity must eat in the sukka, as
the gemara (26a)
eating and drinking are permitted outside the sukka. What constitutes a
casual meal? R. Yosef said: [The volume of] two or three eggs. Abbaye said to
him: But sometimes this suffices for [a whole meal for] a man. Why then should
this not constitute a set meal? Rather, said Abbaye: [A small quantity] only as
much as a student tastes before proceeding to the college
Rishonim assume that this passage
refers to one who eats bread.
the Rishonim all rule in accordance
with Abbaye, they differ as to the precise amount which constitutes an
akhilat arai. The Shulkhan Arukh (639:2) rules that a quantity of bread
the size of a ke-beitza (an egg) constitutes an akhilat arai;
therefore, one may not eat more than a ke-beitza of bread outside of a
Rishonim cite R. Avigdor Kohen Tzedek
(see Shibolei Ha-Leket 444), who insists that on Shabbat and Yom Tov, all food
is considered to be akhilat keva, as we see regarding the laws of
terumot and ma’asrot (see Beitza 34b). Many Rishonim disagree (see, for example,
Maharach Or Zaru’a, Responsa 71). Similarly, some Acharonim (Tzlach, Berakhot 49b;
see also Hagahot R. Akiva Eiger 639:2 and the Bikkurei Yaakov 20) insist that we
consider all bread eaten on Yom Tov, regardless of the size, to be an akhilat keva, which must be eaten in the
sukka, most Acharonim (Eliya Rabba 11; Magen Avraham
10; Mishna Berura 23; see also Seridei Esh 2:41 and Tzitz Eliezer 16:20)
do not distinguish between Shabbat and Chol Ha-Mo’ed regarding akhilat arai and akhilat keva.
the other hand, the gemara
(Yoma 79b) implies that the Amoraim disagree as to whether fruit
must be eaten in the sukka. The Rosh
(2:13) records that the Maharam Mi-Rutenburg refrained from eating fruits
outside of the sukka, in deference to
the opinion cited in the gemara.
Interestingly, the Rosh understands that even the opinion which requires one to
eat fruit in the sukka refers to a
case in which one bases his meal upon the fruit. The Rishonim, however, rule in accordance
with the view that maintains that fruit do not need to be eaten in the sukka.
some (see Me’iri 26b, s.v. u-ma) suggest that one should still
distinguish between fruits eaten as a snack and those eaten for a meal, and some
Acharonim relate to this stringency
(see Chayye Adam 147:3, who recommends being stringent when sitting down to eat
fruit with other people). The Shulchan Arukh (639:2) explicitly permits eating
fruit outside of the sukka, and the
Rema (see also Mishna Berura 13) writes that even one who bases his meal
on fruit may eat outside of the sukka.
from bread, the gemara (27a) also
implies that other foods, known as “targima,” may constitute an akhilat keva. Although some
Rishinom (Tosafot 27a, s.v. be-minei; Ritva 27b, s.v.
ve-ha; Tosafot Rabbeinu Peretz cited by the Rosh 2:14) explain that
targima refers to meat, fish, and even cheese, most (Rosh; Tosafot,
Pesachim 107b, s.v. minei targima; Tur 639) understand that
targima refers to a cooked food made from one of the five grains, upon
which one recites the blessing of borei minei mezonot.
Shulchan Arukh (639:2) rules in accordance with those who define targima
as a dish made from grains: “A cooked dish made from the five grains, if one
bases a meal upon it (kove’a alav se’uda), needs [to be eaten in] a sukka.” Here, too, the Acharonim discusses whether everyone who
eats targima must eat in a sukka, or only if one is kove’a alav
se’uda (see Chayei Adam 3 and Bikkurei Yaakov 15, for example). The Mishna
Berura (15; Bi’ur Halakha, s.v. kava; see also R. Ovadya Yosef, Responsa
Yechave Da’at 1:65) records that some rule that one should not recite the
blessing of leishev ba-sukka
unless one eats this cooked dish as a meal, and concludes that when reciting the
blessing, one should have in mind the additional time one sits in the sukka as well.
Acharonim also disagree regarding
pat ha-ba’a be-kisanin (baked goods), upon which one recites
borei minei mezonot. While some insist that their status is similar to
bread, and therefore one who eats the volume of a ke-beitza must eat in
the sukka and recite the blessing
leshev ba-sukka, others
explain that one should only recite leishev ba-sukka if one is kove’a alav
se’uda. Incidentally, the Acharonim define kove’ah alav
se’uda as one who eats in a group, or even one views his eating as a “meal.”
Mishna Berura (16) concludes, in accordance with the Sha’arei Teshuva, that
although one should theoretically omit the blessing of leishev ba-sukka when eating pat ha-ba’a
be-kisanin as a snack due to the principle of safek berakhot le-hakel
(one who is in doubt whether to say a certain blessing, should omit it), it is
customary to say leishev ba-sukka on all baked goods.
Acharonim, due to this doubt, suggest
that one should recite the blessing of leshev ba-sukka before
the blessing recited on the food. They fear that since the food itself may not
warrant the blessing, but rather the sitting in the sukka, the blessing of leishev
ba-sukka may constitute an interruption between the blessing and eating the
food. The common custom, however, is to recite the blessing upon eating more
than a ke-beitza of grain-based food (cooked or baked) after the blessing
recited over the food.
as mentioned above, we generally assume that targima refers to foods
cooked from the five grains, R. Yoel Sirkis (Bach 639) writes that one should be
stringent and not eat meat or cheese outside of a sukka when one eats them as a meal. The
Eliyya Rabba (13) concurs. Although the Chayye Adam (147:3) also writes that one
who eats more than a ke-beitza of meal or fish and bases a meal on them
(kava aleihem) should eat in the sukka, the custom is not to be strict
regarding meat, fish, and cheese.
Drinking in the
The gemara (Sukka 28b), as well as some Rishonim (Rashi 20b, s.v. lo;
Rambam, Hilkhot Sukka 6:5) and the Shulchan Arukh (639:1), implies that
drinking in the sukka constitutes a
fulfillment of the mitzva of
dwelling in the sukka. Furthermore,
the mishna (25b) teaches that “casual eating and drinking are permitted
outside the sukka” - implying that
shetiyat keva, similar to an akhilat keva, must be performed in a sukka.
What, if any, type of drinking must one do in the sukka? Some Rishonim maintain that drinking a
revi’it of wine (Ritva 2a), sitting down to drink wine with other people
(Machzor Vitri), or drinking wine with one’s meal (Me’iri) is considered
to be a shetiyat keva. Others (Mordekhai 741; Rosh 2:13; Tur 639)
maintain that even drinking wine is considered to be a shetiyat arai.
The Shulchan Arukh (639:2) rules explicitly that one may drink both water
and wine outside of the sukka. The
Rema adds that even if one wishes to “kava alayhu,” to drink in a
set, formal manner, he may still drink outside of the sukka. Many Acharonim, however, insist that one who
drinks wine in a formal manner should do so in the sukka (see Bi’ur Halakha, s.v.
Interestingly, some Acharonim
note that casual eating and drinking during the meal must be done in the sukka (see Sha’ar Ha-Tzyun 29, who
suggests that even water drunken as part of a meal must be had in the sukka, regarding which he concludes,
Sleeping in the
gemara (26a) teaches that although
one may eat a snack (akhilat arai)
outside of the sukka, one may not nap
(sheinat arai) outside of the sukka.
Casual eating is permitted outside the sukka, but not casual sleeping. What is
the reason? R. Ashi said: We fear lest the person fall into a deep slumber… Rava
said: [In the case of sukka, the question of] regularity in
sleep does not arise.
While according to R.
Ashi, it seems that the prohibition of sheinat arai is a Rabbinic
enactment lest one come to fall into a sheinat keva, Rava does not
recognize a difference between a sheinat arai and a sheinat keva.
The Talmud Yerushalmi (Sukka
2:5) cites a similar debate:
R. Lezar said: Casual
eating is permitted; casual sleeping is prohibited. His colleagues explained
that a person may fall into a deep sleep. R. Eila explained that a person may
sleep even a bit and that may be sufficient. What is the difference between
these two opinions? A person who appointed another [to wake him up]. According
to his colleagues, this would be permitted. According to R. Eilya, it would be
Most Rishonim rule in accordance with Rava.
The Mishna Berura (11) cites the Peri Megadim, who defines a
sheinat arai as the time it takes to walk 100 amot, or
slightly under a minute. Some Acharonim (see Bikkurei Yaakov 34, for
example) note that one need not avoid dozing off while learning or traveling,
since one would not ordinarily go home to sleep in this situation (teshvu
ke-ein taduru). Interestingly, the Tosefet Ma’ase Rav (p. 13) records that
once, when the Vilna Gaon was imprisoned during Sukkot, “he would run from place
to place, he would grab his eye lashes, and do all sorts of tricks in order not
to fall asleep outside of the sukka.”
Many Rishonim observe that in their
communities, it was not customary for men to sleep in their sukkot. The
Poskim bring numerous justifications for this
Some Rishonim (see Mordekhai 741, Me’iri 26a)
explain that in the regions in which they lived, it was simply too cold to sleep
outside. The Rema (639:2), for example, writes:
contemporary leniency regarding sleep - that people do not sleep in the sukka except for those who are careful
about mitzvot - some say it is because of the extreme cold, since it is
uncomfortable to sleep in cold places.
In his commentary to
the Tur, the Darkhei Moshe (639), the Rema claims that although this is probably
the source for this practice, “in most of our places, it isn’t that cold, and
they could sleep in the sukka with
blankets and sheets.”
Others (see Ra’avya 646) suggest that one who fears thieves or “non-Jews”
may sleep inside. The Rema (Responsa 29) insists that this exception only
applies if one is concerned for his physical safety, and not for his material
This, of course, raises another problem. The Rema (660:4), citing the
Yereim (421), writes:
If one made [the sukka] in a place in which one would be
uncomfortable to eat, drink, or sleep or where he cannot perform one of the
above acts because of the fear of robbers, one does not fulfill [the mitzva] with that sukka at all, even when those actions
that are not uncomfortable, because it is not similar to living-dwelling [in a
house] where one can perform all his needs.
If one cannot sleep
in the sukka due to the cold weather,
then, according to the Rema, this sukka should be considered invalid, and
one may not eat in this sukka even
during the day!
The Acharonim offer numerous solutions to
this problem, which would conceivably invalidate many sukkot. The Mishna
Berura 640:18) explains:
In the cold places,
one fulfills his obligation with eating even though he is unable to sleep there,
since it is impossible [to sleep warmly] anyhow, and also since [a sukka in a cold place] is considered fit
for sleeping if one has sufficient blankets and sheets.
Since there was no
option of building a sukka in a
warmer place and one can overcome the cold if one has blankets and sheets, this
sukka is not considered to be
invalid. The Yere’im, however, spoke of a sukka that was deliberately built in a
place which was dangerous, when it could have been built elsewhere.
The Rema, after suggesting that people don’t sleep in their sukkot
due to the inclement weather, offers another
It seems to me that
because the mitzva is for a man
to sleep together with his wife the way he does the rest of the year, and in a
situation where that is not possible, since they do not have a private sukka, he is
The Rema writes that
since ones dwelling in one’s sukka
should be akin to one’s dwelling in one’s home (teshvu ke-ein taduru), in
a situation in which a man cannot sleep together with his wife, he is exempt
from the mitzva.
The notion that teshvu ke-ein taduru may also include living
together with one’s wife in the sukka
in a similar fashion to the was one lives with his wife during the year appears
elsewhere (Arakhin 13b, Sukka
Some Acharonim (Magen Avraham 8) explain that
one who must sleep apart from his wife is considered to be a mitzta’er,
one who is uncomfortable in the sukka, and therefore he is exempt.
Others (Taz 9; see also Darkhei Moshe) suggest that just as those who travel to
perform a mitzva are exempt
from the sukka (Sukka 25a), a man is similarly obligated
to bring happiness to his wife during the festival. He fulfills this obligation,
the Taz explains, regardless of whether or not he may actually have relations
with his wife. Similarly, some restrict such an exemption to one who has
relations with his wife, fulfilling the mitzva of “ona,” who need not,
return to the sukka afterwards (see
Mishna Berura 18; see also Leket Yosher, who describes how his teacher, the
Terumat Ha-Deshen, would return to the sukka after having relations).
Despite the various
justifications cited above, it is preferable to sleep in one’s sukka if
possible. This is certainly true in Israel, where
the weather is more conducive to sleeping outside.
Playing in the Sukka
In addition to eating, drinking, and sleeping, the gemara (28b) enumerates other activities
that should preferably be performed in the sukka.
what our Rabbis have taught: “You shall dwell” implies - in the same manner as
you ordinarily live. Hence they said: “All the seven days one should make his sukka his permanent abode, and his house
his temporary abode. In what manner? If he has beautiful vessels, he should
bring them up into the sukka;
beautiful divans, he should bring them up into the sukka; he should eat and drink and pass
his leisure (metayel) in the sukka; he should also engage in profound
study in the sukka.
Rishonim note that one should perform
most of one’s activities in the sukka. For example, the Darkhei Moshe
(639:1) cites the Maharil, who rules that “if one wishes to discuss matters with
his friend, they should enter the sukka.” He also quotes the Maharil Weil,
who writes that “one which wishes to play with blocks or similar [games] should
play in the sukka.”
week, we will discuss those scenarios in which one is exempt from the sukka.