כ״ה באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ד (February 25, 2014)

Sukka 22a-b: A Sukka Meduvlelet

Our daf opens with a new Mishna, which teaches one of the most basic rules of a sukka – that its shade must be greater than the sunlight in the sukka. In that context we are taught that a sukka meduvlelet is kosher.

What is a sukka meduvlelet?

  • According to Rav it is an “impoverished” sukkaaniyah – i.e. one whose sekhakha – roofing – is sparse.
  • According to Shmuel it is a “disordered” sukkamebulbelet – i.e. one with some pieces of sekhakha pointing upward and others downwards.

Several of the commentaries feel a need to explain Rav’s position. If the sekhakha is not very thick, but there is more shadow than sunlight, then the sukka is kosher. Why does a separate clause need to be added to the Mishna to teach this obvious law?

  • The Ritva explains that this teaches that we do not need to be concerned lest for some reason some sekhakha may be removed and there will not be enough shade.
  • The Sefat Emet suggests that an “impoverished” sukka is one that is just the minimum size. We may have thought that such a sukka would at least need to have thick sekhakha to compensate for its small size. According to Rav, the Mishna teaches that it is unnecessary.

In explaining the case as presented by Shmuel, most commentaries follow Rashi’s lead that because of the height differential of the different pieces of sekhakha in the “disordered” sukka there is actually more sunlight than shadow (the angle of the sun finds the openings in the sekhakha and makes its way into the sukka). This, in fact, is the explanation presented by the Jerusalem Talmud.

Some commentaries (the Me’iri, for example) suggest that even according to Shmuel it is essential that there be more shadow than sun in the sukka, and what is unique about Shmuel’s teaching is that we do not perceive this case as a sukka with two sets of sekhakha, a situation that would present halakhic problems regarding the kashrut of such a sukka.

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