With regard to rain on Sukkot. Is there any way to still live in the sukkah if it rains? Can we drape a clear waterproof plastic sheet over the sukkah and remain in the sukkah (actually doing a mitzvah, and not being a hedyot).
Also, would draping the sheet over the sukkah be a problem on yom tov/shabbos? If so, why is it different than draping a tablecloth over a table?

Thank you. all the best.

Answer:

When it rains (heavily enough to penetrate the sechach) there is no point in trying to stay in the Sukkah, and one who lives in the Sukkah despite the rain is criticized by Chazal.

The definition of a Sukkah is a construction whose roof is made of sechach, and draping a cover over the sechach means that it is no longer a valid Sukkah.

This is not permitted on Shabbos or Yom Tov, because it is considered creating an ohel (a tent). In order to “waterproof” the Sukkah one can have a tarp ready to roll out over the sechach in the event that it rains: In order to permissibly extend it on Yom Tov it should already be unraveled at least 3 inches over the schach prior to extending it fully (once the ohel has been begun before Yom Tov, one can extend it on Yom Tov).

This is not similar to a tablecloth, because a tablecloth means to cover the table, and not to shelter items under the table, so that it is not defined as a “tent.”

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