It is with great praise and thanks to the Creator that the author presents to the reader this Sefer "A guide to the Laws of Succos" volume one. This is the first time that a comprehensive guide to hilchos Succah has been attempted in the English language. The vastness and complexity of these halachos, and my desire to include all hilchos succah in one volume, has made this volume quite large.Next Chapter
As in the author's previous seforim we have based the chapters in this Sefer upon the chapters of the Shulchan Aruch. Also as in the author's previous seforim the halachos of the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries are covered. The author has stressed to the Psokim of the Chofetz Chaim in the Mishnah Berurah and Biur Halachah because it is one of the most comprehensive sources of these halachos. Stress is also given to the Psokim of the Chazon Ish, which are quit extensive on various aspects of hilchos succah. It would not have been possible to write a comprehensive coverage of the halachos without them, and as the reader will notice many halachos and chiddushim are derived from him.
As in previous Seforim the author has kept the question and answer format. This should prove especially helpful when learning the more difficult chapters involving the actual construction of the succah. It should be noted that the reader should always look up any cross reference since they provide additional pertinent information to the halachos under discussion.
The author has also added many pictures and diagrams to the Sefer, which were felt necessary due to the many new concepts mentioned in hilchos succah. It is also almost impossible to fully grasp the halachos and their underlining concepts without such visual aids.
This Sefer was written in Hebrew as well as in English in order to enable the maximum number of people to benefit from it. Also the author has used in many cases extensive footnotes which are needed in order to elaborate and clarify the various sources of the halachos. At times varying opinions are quoted for further understanding of the subject matter. It is hoped that this will be of great help, especially for Benei Torah who learn the halachos and feel the need for a more detailed commentary to clarify many of the difficult principles and halachos in the traditional commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch.
The author invites inquiries concerning the halachos in this Sefer. If any mistakes are found they will Be"H be corrected in a future edition.
It is the authors fervent hope that this Sefer will add to the understanding and appreciation of the Yom Tov of Succos, and of the succah in particular. May it be the desire of Hashem that this Sefer will aid in the observance of hilchos succah. May we all merit in the coming year to sit in the succah of the skin of the "leviathan". The Gemoroh in Bava Basra 74B says that in the future the Leviathan, a monstrous fish, will be slain and served as a feast to the righteous and it's skin will be used to cover the banquet hall.
May we merit to be among them
20 Sivan 5754
Kiryat Telse Stone
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Introduction And you shall rejoice before Hashem your G-d for seven days. ( Vayikro, Parshas Emor )Of all the joyous times in the Jewish calendar, Succos is singled out as "the season of our joy". Succos is preceded by the days of Rosh Hashona, the ten days of repentance and Yom Kippur, which are times of repentance out of fear of Heaven. Succos then comes as a release of this tension, moving to repentance stemming from the love of G-d, and brings with it an explosion of joy - joy in Hashem's mitzvohs as the possuk quoted above says "you shall rejoice before Hashem". This joy is palpable in the succah itself, in the performance of the mitzvah of taking the four species and is expressed in the Simchas beis hashoeva, the dancing which takes place each night of Succos, reminiscent of the water drawing ceremony performed each night of Succos in the Temple, about which the Talmud (Succah 51B) says that a person who never witnessed it " never saw rejoicing in his life".
There is however, another aspect to Succos. Having completed the judgment of Yom Kippur, the juxtaposition of Succos a mere five days later is explained as follows. It could be that on Yom Kippur the Jewish nation, or one of its members, were sentenced to go to exile, so Hashem gives us a "taste" of exile by sending us out of the security of our homes to live under a roof of leaves. We can fulfill the decree through a personal golus in the succah, and thus avoid golus in the outside world.
In connection with this, it is interesting to note that the Tur, in hilchos Rosh Chodesh, explains that each of the three festivals has a connection with one of the patriarchs - Pesach corresponding to Avraham, Shavuos to Yitzchok and Succos to Yaakov. It was Yacov who took the wanderer's staff in hand, both as the forerunner of the pattern that his children would follow, in the millennia they would be outside their beloved homeland, and also as a source of spiritual strength upon which to draw in those difficult periods. Again, the connection between Succos and golus is evident.
This would seem to be a paradox, however. How does Succos being a season of joy fit with its connection to the bitterness of golus?
If we examine our history we can find the answer. How often have we been in a situation of incredible difficulties and yet served Hashem with a joy incomprehensible to others!
Rav Shach, shlita, (Rosh Yeshivas Ponevitz), once told the following story at the opening address of the summer Yarchei Kalloh in Yeshiva Ponevitz. A group of Jews were waiting to be led to the gas chambers in a concentration camp. One of them suddenly exclaimed, "It's Simchas Torah today; we have to dance!". When someone objected " We have no Sefer Torah", the reply came,"So we will dance with the Ribono Shel Olom", and they joined hands and danced their last dance in a joyous fervor.
"Ich bin zei mekaneh", - "I'm so envious of them" Rav Shach thundered to the audience.
Such is the Jew. No one and nothing will take away the joy he has in keeping Torah and mitzvohs. Put him in golus, chas v’shalom and he will still be joyous in his performance of mitzvohs. Succos serves to represent both ideas, to teach us that joy and golus need not be mutually exclusive.
Perhaps we can also resolve the contradiction on a deeper level, through an understanding of the very essence of golus. The Arizal explains that the purpose of golus is that the Jewish nation has to reach all parts of the world in order to "gather the sparks of kedusha" scattered there. All of creation has as its purpose the need to be elevated for the honor of Hashem, through being utilized for Torah and mitzvohs. That is the meaning of the "gathering of the sparks of holiness". Had we not sinned, the power of the Torah and mitzvohs we performed would have been so great that the four ends of the earth would have been affected by our service of Hashem, in Eretz Yisroel, thus "drawing the sparks of kedusha as to a magnet". When we sinned however, our power in doing the service of Hashem was reduced, and we had to go out in to the world of golus to effect this.
Examining the basis of the mitzvos of the Succah, we find a similar idea. Succos is the only compulsory mitzvah according to all opinions, that is fulfilled with the entire body. It is a mitzvah to eat and drink in the Succah, to sleep there and live there, and generally to elevate every area of life, no matter how physical, to sublime levels of kedusha, through living it in the Succah.
Accordingly, in the Succah we achieve the same goal as when we go in to golus: taking the physical world and elevating it through the service of Hashem. But instead of performing this with the bitterness of exile, we do so with the sweet joy of the mitzvah of the Succah.
It is impossible to appreciate the correct feeling for Succos without a prior knowledge of the technical halachos of the Succah. If one holds a jewel in the palm of one's hand, without a ring and setting, not only will the jewel not be displayed to its best advantage, but its luster will be dulled and one risks losing it. Knowledge of the halachos provides the setting for the conceptual approach to the mitzvos. We are thus indebted to Rabbi Morgan for lending his prodigious talent to this project, to present the halachos of the Succah in such a clear and enjoyable format.
Doniel Tsvi Wilner
Yerusholayim, Sivan 5754