From Kit or Scratch: The Great Sukkah Debate

Sukkot 0

Hello dear readers,

Every holiday on the Jewish calendar provides a different experience, but in terms of preparations, they’re usually very similar. For davening, there are some things to add or subtract, hallel or a megillah or something. There’s food to prepare, either for before the holiday (like Yom Kippur) or during the holiday (like Pesach seders), and sometimes there’s a specialty food item (hamantaschen or sufganiyot). And there’s the usual getting ready, of taking your nice clothes to the cleaners and setting the table in a festive manner.

But I can only think of one holiday with an intensive, physical activity. And that’s building the sukkah! While halachic authorities disagree about whether building the sukkah is itself a mitzvah or just a preparation for the true mitzvah of dwelling in the sukkah, either way at the conclusion of Yom Kippur you’ll find us starting to set up the framework for our backyard sukkah. It can be helpful if you have a big strong husband or teenage kids (and their friends) to help build the sukkah, or you might want to hire a handyman to make sure your sukkah is safe and secure. Another option is to go to a kosher sukkot vacation and let them take care of building the sukkah for you!

If you already have a sukkah, that’s great! Before building, just make sure that the pieces are all intact, and that there hasn’t been any damage from sitting in your attic (or basement, or garage, or crawlspace) for 11 months.

However, if you don’t have a sukkah (and are looking to buy one), you are now faced with an important decision: should you create your own sukkah from scratch, or buy a kit of a tried-and-true model? Below I’ll give some pros and cons of each:

  • KIT PRO: EASE OF USE. Usually, they’re also easy to assemble which is a bonus. But, if you get a sukkah kit, you basically know what you’re getting. Another pro of the kit approach, which is also underrated if you ask me, is that it’s easy to replace a broken part from a kit.
  • KIT CON: NOT ADAPTABLE. There’s a tradeoff of the one size fits all approach, and that’s if you want to do something a little more complex. What if you have an unusually shaped yard, or you want to make your sukkah bigger for this year? The kits aren’t always flexible enough to fit your changing needs. Another underrated component, if you ask me, is that the kits all the look the same, and that it looks quite basic if you don’t invest the time to beautify your sukkah with art and decorations.
  • SCRATCH PRO: ORIGINALITY. You get to build the sukkah you want, fitting the space you want and with the materials you want.
  • SCRATCH CON: DIFFICULTY. You really need to know what you’re doing if you’re going to design and build a sukkah yourself.

More soon,


Looking for an unforgettable Kosher Sukkot vacation? Call Leisure Time Tours at 718-528-0700 to learn how your family can celebrate abroad.

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