Skip to main content

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!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…