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Chapter 135:1
Dwelling in the Sukkah

1. [Leviticus 23:42] states: "You shall dwell in sukkos for seven days." The word "dwell" should be understood in its most literal sense: The Torah dictates that we shall dwell in a sukkah for seven days as we dwell in our homes throughout the year. During this holiday, the essential aspects of one's dwelling should be in the sukkah. [This implies] that one should bring one's beautiful utensils and spreads into the sukkah, and that one should eat, drink, study, relax, and sleep in the sukkah. If one wants to converse with a friend, one should converse with him in the sukkah. Similarly, if one prays alone, one should pray in the sukkah.

The basis for all the above is the verse [Leviticus 23:43]: "In order that your [future] generations shall know that I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in sukkos when I took them out of the land of Egypt." Therefore, one must dwell in the sukkoh with the intent of doing so because the Holy One, commanded us to dwell in the sukkoh to commemorate the exodus from Egypt.

There is a difference of opinion among the Sages [Sukkah 11b] regarding the interpretation of the word "sukkos" mentioned in the above verse, "I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in sukkos." Rabbi Eliezer says that they refer to the "Clouds of Glory" ("Annanei Ha'kavod") with which the Holy One, surrounded our ancestors in the desert, so that they should not be disturbed by the heat and by the sun. Rabbi Akiva says that they refer to actual booths which [the Jews] erected to protect themselves from the sun in their encampments.

Although we left Egypt in the month of Nissan, we were not commanded to erect sukkos at that time of year, because it is the beginning of the summer, and since it is common for everyone to make a sukkah for shade [at that time of the year], it would not be obvious that [the sukkah is being constructed] as a mitzvah of the Creator. Therefore, He commanded us to construct [the sukkoh] in the seventh month, at the beginning of the rainy season, when it is common for a person to leave his sukkah and dwell in his home. [Nevertheless, despite this,] we go out from our homes to dwell in the sukkah. Thus, it will be obvious to all that we are fulfilling the mitzvah of the King.

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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2003 Project Genesis, Inc.

 

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