ה׳ באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ד (February 5, 2014)

Sukka 2a-b: A Sukka Over Twenty Cubits High

The first Mishna in Massekhet Sukka opens with some basic rules about how a sukka should be erected. If the walls are too tall – over 20 amot  high – the Tanna Kamma rules that the sukka cannot be used, a ruling disputed by Rabbi Yehuda.

Rabbi Yehuda said: There was an incident involving Queen Helene in Lod where her sukka was more than twenty cubits high, and the Elders were entering and exiting the sukka and did not say anything to her about the sukka not being fit. The Rabbis said to him: Is there proof from there? She was, after all, a woman and therefore exempt from the mitzva of sukka. Consequently, the fact that her sukka was not fit did not warrant a comment from the Elders. Rabbi Yehuda said to them in response: Didn’t she have seven sons and therefore require a fit sukka? And furthermore, she performed all of her actions only in accordance with the directives of .

It appears that Queen Helene and other members of her royal family are buried in some of the ornate burial chambers in Jerusalem. As is mentioned in several places in the Talmud, Helene was a giyoret tzedek – a sincere convert to Judaism – who accepted upon herself the constraints of halakha as taught by the Sages.

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