י״א באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ד (February 11, 2014)

Sukka 8a-b: Using a Hut as a Sukka

Our Gemara offers two lists of huts that are not built specifically for Sukkot, but can be used as a sukka if they have been “roofed in the standard sense.”

The first list contains huts referred to by the acronym – “Ganbakh”:

  • Goyim – non-Jews
  • Nashim – women
  • Behemah – animals
  • Kutim – immigrants from the city of Kutah (see II Melakhim17:24)

The second list includes huts called – Rakbash:

  • Ro’im – shepherds
  • Kayyatzim – field workers who dry figs
  • Burganin – people who guard the fields
  • Shomerei peirot – people who guard the fruit

The Gemara explains that each list has its advantages and disadvantages as far as being considered appropriate for use as a sukka. The huts in the first list are fairly permanent while the second list is seasonal; the huts in the second list are used by people who are obligated in the commandment of sukka, while the people in the first list are not.

The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the term: In the standard sense? Rav Hisda said that it means: And provided that one established the booth to provide shade of a sukka from its roofing, it may be used to fulfill the mitzva of sukka.

Several definitions are offered to explain Rav Hisda’s intent that the hut needs to be built “for shade.” Rashi suggests that it must be well-covered with branches so that it is clear that it was built for shade, and not for some other purpose, like privacy. Rabbeinu Tam explains that if the thatch is too thick – to the extent that it appears to be a wall or roof – it cannot be considered a sukka for shade. According to the Ran it is a question of intention. The hut must have been built as a place that would be used for shade, not as a storage area or a permanent structure where people will live.

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