Hello dear readers,
My family’s upcoming kosher Sukkot vacation got me thinking about performing the mitzvah of sukkah when you are on the road. Specifically, what are you supposed to do if you want to do an overnight trip on chol hamoed, are you allowed to go somewhere if you won’t have a sukkah? It’s easy enough to pack your lulav and etrog in the car with you, but the sukkah itself – well, that’s a little trickier, isn’t it? My family had this concern a few years back, when we were doing Sukkot at home but wanted to do an overnight camping trip upstate. I did a little research back then, and now feels like a good time to share what I learned. Okay, so here goes.
First of all, do you want to guess what masechet of the Talmud deals with rules related to the mitvah of the sukkah? [waiting … waiting … waiting …] Yep, you guessed it, it’s masechet sukkah! On page 28b, we see the idea of that you should live in your sukkah in the same way you live in your house, which means that you don’t need to live in your temporary home (sukkah) in a manner that is above and beyond the way you live in your regular home. From this, commentators like Rashi write that in the same way that you would leave your home during the year to travel for a few days, you can also leave your sukkah to travel for a few days during the holiday of Sukkot.
A few pages earlier (page 26a) of masechet sukkot, we see a similar idea: if you’re traveling during the day you don’t need to do sukkah during the day, but at night you are obligated; and similarly, the reverse is true, namely, if you are traveling at night, you don’t need to do sukkah at night but during the day you do. The Talmud then puts both pieces together and says that if you’re traveling for both night and day, you don’t need to do sukkah for either night or day.
Now, that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t keep the mitzvah of sukkah while traveling if you have the chance. If it is possible to find a sukkah while you’re away, by all means you should find a way to use it! Also on page 26a of masechet sukkot, the tosafot writes that if you are traveling to place like a town where there are already Sukkot, you should try to use them.
Fortunately, at my Sukkot hotel, there is a beautiful sukkah ready for all us travelers to use!
Hope you learned something useful!
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