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Laws of building the Succah

The Succah

Note: The figures given in this chapter are approximate. When the measurements of one’s succah are close to these figures, a rav should be consulted.

19. What is the minimum size of a succah?

  • The inside of the succah must measure at least 70cm long by 70cm wide. This is the smallest area in which a person could reasonably be expected to sit.

20. May the succah be long and narrow?

  • Even if the succah is very long, it should still measure at least 70cm wide.

21. May a low balcony wall be included in the width?

  • Some narrow balconies lack the required width in the floor measurement but meet the requirement when including the width of the balcony wall. This could also occur if the balcony is wider than 70cm but an overhanging roof invalidates some of the floor width. The width of the wall may be included in the measurement provided that:

·          the wall is less than 80cm high, and

·          the s’chach is at least 1m higher than the wall.

22. What is the required measurement of a different shaped succah?

  • A different shaped succah, e.g. circular or triangular, must be large enough to contain a square area measuring 70cm by 70cm.

23. What is the maximum size of a succah?

  • There is no maximum size.

24. What is the minimum height of a succah?

  • The internal height should measure at least 1m and this is normally the case.

25. What is the maximum height of a succah?

  • The s’chach must not be higher than twenty amos from the floor of the succah (approximately ten meters). This is rarely applicable.

26. How many walls must a succah have?

  • The minimum requirement is three walls. However, the custom is to build a succah that has four walls.

27. May one have gaps in the walls?

  • Besides the door, the walls should ideally be complete without any gaps. A succah whose walls have gaps should be checked by a rav to ascertain if it is kosher.

28. May sheets be used for the walls?

  • Ideally, one should not use sheets even when firmly tied down on all sides. The reason is that one may not notice that they have become detached, which could invalidate the succah.
  • In extenuating circumstances, one may use sheets that are tied down on all sides.
  • If three walls are made from sturdy materials, one may certainly use sheets for the fourth wall.

29. How could sheets be made perfectly acceptable?

  • By tying several horizontal strings around the succah at intervals of less than 24cm, to a height of at least 80cm (preferably to a height of 1m). This method invokes a halachic principle that considers the strings to be equivalent to a complete wall.

30. Must the walls reach the s’chach?

  • No. One may support the s’chach on posts, if the walls are the minimum height. The remaining spaces may be left open or filled with sheets or any other material. In this situation, the s’chach should preferably reach the line directly above the wall (compare question ‎44).

31. Must the walls touch the ground?

  • No, but the space between the bottom of the wall and the ground must be less than 24cm.

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