One question many Jews wonder is whether it is permissible to travel during the holiday of Sukkot. According to the OU [link here], the short answer is that Sukkot Travel is permitted on Chol Hamoed even if it is clear that the participants will not be able to eat and sleep in a sukkah. However, if the travelers are spending the night in a place where it is possible to build a sukkah — they must do so.
This blog post will discuss the various rabbinic sources with specific consideration for how this may apply to youth groups on trips to Six Flags.
The Talmud Records the Following Passage in Sukkah (26a):
“The Rabbis taught: Those traveling during the day are exempt from sukkah during the day and obligated at night; those traveling during the night are exempt during the night and obligated during the day; those traveling during both the day and night are exempt both during the day and at night.”
The Rif, the Rambam, and the Shulchan Aruch all pretty much quote this passage as Halacha.
Rashi explains that the rationale comes from the fact that we are commanded to live in our sukkah as we live in our house.
Obviously, one is allowed to arrange a trip even if it means they would not be at home. Why should one avoid a journey if it means that one would not sleep or eat in a sukkah?
Problem: Self-Induced Discomfort is Forbidden
The Or Zarua (Hilkhot sukkah #299) discusses those who let blood (an archaic medical practice) on Sukkot. He argues that those who let blood are still required to participate in the mitzvah of Sukkah despite having undergone a medical procedure.
The thought process is twofold:
- The bloodletter should have scheduled the procedure for after Sukkoth
- This procedure is self-induced and therefore does not exempt the bloodletter from the mitzvah.
FULFILLING BOTH NEEDS
The above conversation discusses the question as an either-or. Should the traveler stay home and fulfill the mitzvah, or should the travel go on their journey and refrain from sleeping and eating in the sukkah.
Obviously, if it is possible to live in a sukkah in the city where one travels to then, you should do so.
Similarly, if it is possible to build a sukkah once you’ve arrived at your destination, you definitely should.
- Sukkot travel is permissible even if you will not be able to fulfill the mitzvah of the sukkah.
- If it is possible to eat or sleep in a sukkah during the natural course of your travels, you must do so.
- If you reach your destination at a normal eating or sleeping time and it is reasonable to do so, you must build a sukkah.
- If you reach your destination too late at night to build a sukkah, you no longer need to do so.
Leisure Time Tours
Contact us at Leisure Time Tours if you are looking to get away for this year’s Sukkot! Our pioneering efforts for Kosher Passover programs sparked an industry that has spread to hotels from coast to coast and leading resorts abroad. Get in touch with us today to experience our Kosher program at some of the finest hotels in the United States!