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Thought for the Day: Living in the Sukkah the First Night/G'zeira Shava Tes-vav/Tes-vav

I don't usually want to deface an ad with graffiti.  In fact, I have never had the urge in my life until just a few months ago.  There is an ad on a bus stop near my house that features a beautiful close up, looking straight into the eyes of a tiger.  The caption underneath reads, "I am not a rug."  I have to restrain myself each and every time form appending to the caption, "Yet.  Come to Rupert and Sons Big Game Hunting Supplies and Taxidermy, and I can be a beautiful addition to your home furnishings!"

The Torah says to make the sukkah your main dwelling one week a year; "teshvu -- k'ein t'duru"/live there as your main residence.  The "k'ein t'duru" is what releases us from the obligation to live in the sukkah when it is raining, too hot, too cold, etc.  The criteria is simple:  If you experienced those conditions in your dining room, would you leave?  If yes, then you are patur.  If it is raining hard enough to ruin your soup; you are patur.  This, in fact, is a chumra as well as a kula.  Suppose conditions are such that you are patur, but you just love your sukkah so much that you want to tough it out.  Knock yourself out, but don't say the bracha of "leisheiv ba'sukka".

Except the first night (first two nights for us chutz la'aretz-niks).  That first night you have to stay to eat at least a k'zayis of bread.  Why?  Because of Pesach.  It's known as the g'zeira shava of tes-vav/tes-vav.  The Torah says to eat matzah on the 15th and it also says to live in your sukkah on the 15th; so the halachos are hooked up.  That's why, for example, you can't make early Sukkos.  One must eat a k'zayis of bread on the first night of Sukkos at night just as one must eat a k'zayis of matzah on the first night of Pesach; night mamash.

How far does this g'zeira shava push us?  There are those who say that just as the matzah must be eaten unadorned, so to that first k'zayis bread in the sukkah must be unadorned.  Halichos Shlomo says tends to go the other way, adorning the bread in the sukkah (with honey, for example) is a beautification of the mitzvah to eat that k'zayis of bread.  He suggests the first k'zayis be eaten with honey and the second without (really sounding like Pesah, now, eh?).

The details of which features of Pesach that g'zeira shava pulls into Sukkos and which it doesn't (for example, there is no bracha of "al achilas pas" in the sukkah) is fascinating.

By the way, I once tried to decorate our sukkah with a beautiful hadlakos neiros wall hanging I had given her.  She balked, worried about the rain ruining it.  A discussion ensued.  Now you know why turning that live tiger into a rug is so enticing to me -- much safer!

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