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Peninei Halakha > Sukkot > 06 – Hoshana Rabba > 05. Taking Leave of the Sukka

05. Taking Leave of the Sukka

The sukka should not be taken down until Sukkot is over. Even if one finished eating on Hoshana Rabba and does not intend to sleep for the remainder of the day, he should not take down his sukka. This is because the mitzva of sitting in the sukka continues until day’s end, so if one wants to study Torah or chat with friends, it is still a mitzva to do so in the sukka. However, c. 2.5 hours before sunset, one may move furniture from the sukka back into the house, in preparation for Shemini Atzeret (SA 666:1).

It is appropriate to spend time in the sukka at the end of Hoshana Rabba, in order to spend as much time as possible in the shade of a mitzva from which we are about to take leave for an entire year. Some kiss the sukka as they depart at the end of Hoshana Rabba (Shlah; MB 477:5). Some recite a prayer, found in some siddurim, when leaving the sukka, (Rema 667:1).

The sekhakh, walls, and decorations of the sukka were set aside for mitzva use, and therefore may not be used for any other purpose during the festival. Even though there is no longer a mitzva to sit in the sukka on the eighth day, they remain muktzeh then too, since the prohibition extends until the end of bein ha-shmashot of the seventh day, and at that point, the eighth day has already begun (SA 667:1;2:16 above).

Since the sekhakh, walls, and decorations are tashmishei mitzva, they do not require burial, but they may not be treated disrespectfully. For example, sukka beams may not be used as floorboards, and paper decorations may not be used as toilet paper (MB 638:24).

In Eretz Yisrael, it is forbidden to eat in the sukka on the eighth day. If one does so while intending to do a mitzva, he transgresses the Torah prohibition of bal tosif, as it is written: “Be careful to observe only that which I enjoin upon you: neither add to it (lo tosef) nor take away from it” (Devarim 13:1). Even if he does not have in mind that he is fulfilling the mitzva, he is still transgressing the rabbinic prohibition to eat in the sukka on the eighth day, because it looks like he is trying to add to the mitzva. If someone has nowhere else to eat, before the eighth day he should remove sekhakh that covers an area 4 tefaḥim long (c. 32 cm) and 4 tefaḥim wide, making it clear that he is not interested in the sekhakh (SA 666:1). The concern that one appears to be adding to the mitzva applies only on the eighth day. One who wants to eat in the sukka any time after that need not remove sekhakh, because by that late date nobody would think that he means to add to the mitzva (Rema 666:1).

Outside of Eretz Yisrael, people eat in the sukka on the eighth day, because it is treated as though it might be the seventh day. However, no berakha is recited. Since the day is primarily treated as Shemini Atzeret and not Sukkot, reciting the berakha would render the day’s practices self-contradictory (Sukka 47a; SA 668:1; see Peninei Halakha: Mo’adim ch. 9 n. 4).

On the ninth day, when Simḥat Torah is celebrated outside of Eretz Yisrael, it is forbidden to eat in the sukka, because it looks like one is adding to the mitzva. If one has nowhere else to eat, he may not remove sekhakh before the ninth day, because of the prohibition of Soter on Yom Tov. To avoid looking like he is transgressing bal tosif, he should bring dirty pots and dishes into the sukka. Since it is prohibited to do so on Sukkot, this makes it clear that he is not intending to fulfill the mitzva of sukka when he eats there (SA 666:1).

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman