Sukkah 30: Why Steal a Lulav?

My first introduction to the writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik was in yeshiva in Israel when I read Rabbi Abraham Besdin's Reflections of the Rav. One of the ideas therein that immediately struck me was how the Rav noted that if Orthodox Jewry is to have any hope of influencing the masses of non-Orthodox Jews it will be through integrity and scrupulousness of our business practices. Non-observant Jews are little impressed by strictures in kashrut or Shabbat but might be by such in our dealings with our fellow man.

Sukkah 27: I Love My Sukkah

Considering that one is supposed to live in one’s sukkah as one lives in one’s home one need spend very little time in the sukkah. One “who writes books, tefillin or mezuzot, they and their wholesalers and retailers and all who are involved in heavenly work, including those who sell techelet” (Sukkah 26a) are exempt from the sukkah. Travelers and others whose work takes them far from a sukkah i.e.

Sukkah 26: I'm Too Busy

"Rabbi Yossi Haglilee used to say: One who is involved in a mitzvah is exempt from another mitzvah" (Sukkah 26a). A mitzvah is entitled to one's full attention[1], and our Sages long ago understood that when one tries to multi-task, both tasks will end up the poorer for the effort. Despite the inherent logic involved in such reasoning, the Talmud looks for scriptural support for this notion.

Sukkah 11: If You Build It...

While the Jerusalem Talmud rules that one makes a bracha upon construction of a sukkah (Sukkah 1:2), our practice is not to do so, seeing the making of the sukkah as only a hechsher mitzvah, a necessary (and laudatory) preparatory stage to the mitzvah itself, that of dwelling in a sukkah. When all is said and done, it matters little who makes the sukkah[1]. The Gemara (Sukkah 9b) allows sukkot ganbach and ravkash, acronyms for sukkot made by those not obligated in the mitzvah, i.e.

Sukkah 4: Reach for the Top

The Gemara derives the minimum height of a sukkah from two separate and very distinct sources. In fact, the first “source” is no source at all. Rather it is based on simple logic. A sukkah less than ten tefachim, handbreadths (approximately three feet) tall is not fit for habitation as “it is a dira serucha, a smelly dwelling, and a person does not live in a smelly dwelling” (Sukkah 4a). No textual support is cited, as none is needed.


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