Showing posts with label succot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label succot. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Aruch HaShulchan on Pitom falling off, part i: a definition of terms

The Aruch HaShulchan
As a followup to the preceding post, it is fitting to provide some background into the sugya. And for this, a wonderful place to turn is naturally the Aruch HaShulchan, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein:

סימן תרמח סעיף יז[עריכה]

יש באתרוג שני מיני עצים דקים:
  • האחד בסופו העוקץ, שהוא תלוי בו בהאילן כבכל הפירות, והוא הזנב של הפירי בתחתיתו. ובלשון המשנה הוא "עוקץ" (לד ב). ואצלינו ההמון קורין לזה פיטום, והוא יושב עמוק בתוך האתרוג, עד שאם ניטלנו כולו מעיקרו – תשאר גומא.
  • והשני מעבר האחר בראש האתרוג, כפרח שבמיני תפוחים. ובאתרוג יש שאין להם זה כלל, ויש שיש להם. ונקרא בלשון המשנה "פיטמא", ובלשונינו "שושנתא", מפני שהיא מייפית את האתרוג כשפת פרח שושן. והיא אינה נכנסת בעומק האתרוג, אלא בראשו.
ולפי שהלשונות מתחלפות בזה, לכן בארנו זה: שיש לדעת שהעוקץ הוא התחתון הנכנס בעומק, והשושנתא הוא העליון. ויש אתרוגים שאין להם שושנתא כלל, והיינו אתרוגי קארסיק"א – אין להם שושנתא. וכן אתרוגי ארץ ישראל – יש שיש להם, ויש שאין להם. ואתרוגי קורפו וגינובא ומאראקא – כולם יש להם שושנתא.
ועתה נבאר דיניהם לפי דיעות רבותינו בסייעתא דשמיא.

"There is in the esrog two types of small stems. One is on its end, the Uketz, by which it hangs from the tree as is the case by all fruits, and it is the tail of the fruit on its bottom. And in the language of the Mishna it is the עוקץ (Sukkah 34b). And by us we call it the Pitom [!], and it sits deep within the esrog, such that if we take it all out from its base, there would be a furrow left.

The stalk connects to the tree. The calyx on
the bottom is the outer floral envelope.
And the second is on the other end, at the head of the esrog, like a blossom in types of apples. And among the esrogim, there are some which do not have it at all, and there are some which have them. And this is called in the language of the Mishna Pitma, and in our language Shoshanta, because its beautifies the esrog like the lip of a lily. And it does not enter the bottom [עומק] of the esrog, but rather at its head.

And since the languages can readily be accidentally switched, one for the other, therefore we have explained this: For there is to know that the Uketz is the bottom which enters into its depth, while the Shoshanta it the upmost part. And there are esrogim which do not have a Shoshanta at all. And these are the esrogim of Corsica -- they do not have a Shoshanta. [Josh: Corsican citrons are sweet.]

Corsican esrogim

And so too the esrogim of Eretz Yisrael, some have them [Shoshantas], and some do not have them. And the esrogim of Corfu, Genova, and Morocco, all of them have a Shoshanta.
Morrocan esrog
And now we will explain their dinim accordin to the opinions of our Rabbis, with the help of Heaven."

Perhaps to be continued...

My pittom broke -- now what?

Note: Consult your local Orthodox rabbi for any practical halachic advice.

This year I decided that my hiddur mitzvah for esrog would be in the realm of chinuch. And so I bought a second set for Junior, who is still a few years shy of bar mitzvah, but would still get something nice out of being responsible for, and possessing, his very own lulav set.

His esrog is pictured to the right. On the second day of Yom Tov, he dropped it on the floor, and the pittom broke. You can click to zoom.

To explain, and define the terms I plan on using in this post: At the top of the esrog is a short stem, called the dad. This is not where it attaches to the tree -- the stem which attaches to the tree is called the uketz, and is on the bottom of the esrog. So we are referring to the dad. The dad is thin, vertical, and yellow, and emerges from the top of the esrog. And at the top of that dad is a decoration, brown in color and perhaps somewhat crusty, alternately called the pittom or the shoshanta.

Basically, like the diagram to the right, but with Pitom being a synonym for Shoshanta rather than encompassing both the Dad and Shoshanta.

When Junior dropped it, half of the shoshanta broke off, and a diagonal cross section of the dad broke off as well. You cannot really tell this so well from the image (click to zoom in), because a new brown crusty layer formed over the break.

So what happens, then? Is the esrog now passul?

I looked it up in my Mishnah Brurah, and the conclusion is that it is not pasul bedieved. Even had the entire shoshanta broken off, it would have been kosher bedieved. And as for the stem (the dad), so long as some of it still exists, and it was not broken off in such a way that there is an furrow in the actual fruit below the stem, it is not considered chaser (deficient) and also is kosher bedieved. See Mishna Brurah siman TaRMaHH (548) inside for the details, but they essentially match what I said above, with some nuance in just what bedieved means in this case. Should one ideally borrow (or acquire) someone else's esrog if available? It seems so, based on what he writes... [I am not so convinced by the imperative to be choshesh for all possible opinions, as is the general directive of the Mishna Berurah.]

To see this inside, let us start with the Shulchan Aruch:

7) If its dad was taken off -- and this is the small head upon which the shoshanta exists -- it is invalid. Rema: And some are stringent if its shoshanta -- which is that which we call pitma is taken off (Ran). And it is good to be stringent

in the case where it is possible. However, as a matter of law, one should not invalidate unless the dad, which is the step upon which the top, the pitma is upon it, and the top is called the shoshanta (haMaggid). And all of this is specifically where it is taken off. But, if it never ever had a dad, it is valid. And so are most of the etrogim which they bring in these countries (the Rosh).

[Beer Hetiv: 11) its dad -- this is the step on the top of the etrog, and the shoshanta is upon it. And see the Taz.]

Mishna Berura:
"29: if its dad was taken off: this is the stem on the top of the etrog, like the tip [nipple] of the breast, and it is inserted into it [the etrog] and the shoshanta is upon it.
30: it is invalid: For it is like it [the etrog] is deficient. And behold, from the language of 'the dad was taken off', the implication is that the stem was taken off, even that which is embedded inside the etrog, such that it is made like a depression, and therefore it is invalid. However, if only that which above the etrog is taken off, there is not to be stringent, and so the Taz agrees as a matter of law. However, there are some of the decisors who side with the idea of being stringent, even if only that which is above the etrog is taken off, and they maintain that this is within the scope of 'deficient' as far as it is concerned. And, if there is left from the stem above the etrog even the slightest amount, the opinion of the Magen Avraham is that one should not be stringent in this.
31: where it is possible: this is where it is possible to take [aquire?] a better one than this. But if this is the best, one should not be stringent because of the shoshanta. And still, it appears that this is just if it is missing the shoshanta, but if it is missing as well some part of the stem, even if there is still some part of the stem above the etrog, it is better to take a different one, if it is possible, since there are those who are stringent as well in this."

End quote.

There is also an interesting discussion of this in Aruch Hashulchan, here. Maybe fodder for a follow-up post.

See also Halachipedia on the topic, which gives a much more negative outlook on it. More encompassing than my post above, but also omitting some important detail and thus nuance in the Rema, for example. And they also use the term pittom differently than I defined it above for the sake of this post.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Succot-related posts

Nothing new on Succot (yet) this year. Here are posts from past years:

YU's Sukkot To-Go, 5774

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is rain a negative omen on Succot?

Two years ago, at a Succos table, I was telling a friend of mine the parable of the kiton shel mayim, from the Mishna in Succah:
מתני' כל שבעת הימים אדם עושה סוכתו קבע וביתו עראי ירדו גשמים מאימתי מותר לפנות משתסרח המקפה משלו משל למה הדבר דומה לעבד שבא למזוג כוס לרבו ושפך לו קיתון על פניו:

Junior, who was carefully listening to every word of the conversation, was extremely upset with the mashal, before I got to the nimshal. He could not understand why the master would do such a thing to his servant, that the servant brought him a pitcher of water and he threw it in his face. So upset that I didn't try to give him the nimshal, that we, trying to sit in the Succah, are like the eved and Hashem is the Master.

What is the point of this allegory? There are two possibilities. One strong one is as a counter to those who would subject themselves to the pouring rain to sit in the Succah, regardless. Hashem doesn't want this, and it is then a bit impetuous. A second one is that we should consider rain on Succot, when we are trying to sit in the Succah, as a mark of Hashem's displeasure with us. Perhaps.

This year, on the first night of Succot, we had just finished kiddush, hamotzi and our challah, and had brought all the food of the main course into the succah when the sky opened up on us. Soon thereafter, we began eating the meal in the house, as the rain was not stopping. Junior was very upset. Why would Hashem do this to us, not letting us fulfill the mitzvah of eating in the Succah.

I wasn't about to use the mashal of the kiton shel mayim and besides, I didn't want to start him thinking of reasons Hashem would be displeased with us, for various reasons I won't go into, but the least of which is that he would take it extremely to heart and be incredibly sad, which is counter to the idea of simchat yom tov. But I told him the halachic explanation for leaving the succah. The mitzvah is teishvu ke'ein taduru, that you should treat the succah like your house and live in it as you live in your house. If it were raining cats and dogs into your house, and ruining your soup, wouldn't you leave and seek shelter elsewhere? This amused him, and made him happy.

So what are we to make of the rain on Succot. Besides the rain on the first night, there were other days it was raining heavily, such that we did not eat in the Succah. Is this is sign of Divine displeasure?

I am not so sure.

Consider the following pesukim from Shmuel Aleph, perek 12, just after the Bnei Yisrael asked for a king, to be like all the other nations:

טז  גַּם-עַתָּה הִתְיַצְּבוּ וּרְאוּ, אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה, אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה, עֹשֶׂה לְעֵינֵיכֶם.16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes.
יז  הֲלוֹא קְצִיר-חִטִּים, הַיּוֹם--אֶקְרָא אֶל-יְהוָה, וְיִתֵּן קֹלוֹת וּמָטָר; וּדְעוּ וּרְאוּ, כִּי-רָעַתְכֶם רַבָּה אֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה, לִשְׁאוֹל לָכֶם, מֶלֶךְ.  {ס}17 Is it not wheat harvest to-day? I will call unto the LORD, that He may send thunder and rain; and ye shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.' {S}
יח  וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל-יְהוָה, וַיִּתֵּן יְהוָה קֹלֹת וּמָטָר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא; וַיִּירָא כָל-הָעָם מְאֹד אֶת-יְהוָה, וְאֶת-שְׁמוּאֵל.18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
יט  וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָל-הָעָם אֶל-שְׁמוּאֵל, הִתְפַּלֵּל בְּעַד-עֲבָדֶיךָ אֶל-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--וְאַל-נָמוּת:  כִּי-יָסַפְנוּ עַל-כָּל-חַטֹּאתֵינוּ רָעָה, לִשְׁאֹל לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ.19 And all the people said unto Samuel: 'Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not; for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.'

The reason it was clear that this was a sign from heaven, rather than a natural occurrence, was that besides being right after Shmuel's prediction, it was the day of the wheat harvest. I read this as rain not being expected during this time.

Consider if Shmuel had stood in Seattle and predicted rain. Here are some Seattle weather jokes:
What do you call two straight days of rain in Seattle?
A weekend. 

It only rains twice a year in Seattle:
August through April and May through July. 

What does daylight-saving time mean in Seattle?
An extra hour of rain. 

What's the definition of a Seattle optimist?
A guy with a sun visor on his rain hat. 

What did the Seattle native say to the Pillsbury Doughboy?
"Nice tan."
Succot, in the time of the Mishna, was right before the rainy season. It was possible for rain to come then, but not as likely. But then, the Hebrew calendar was fixed, and there is seasonal drift of this lunar calendar compared with the solar calendar. To cite Wikipedia on this:
The seriousness of the spring equinox drift is widely discounted on the grounds that Passover will remain in the spring season for many millennia, and the text of the Torah is generally not interpreted as having specified tight calendrical limits. On the other hand, the mean southward equinoctial year length is considerably shorter, so the Hebrew calendar has been drifting faster with respect to the autumn equinox, and at least part of the harvest festival of Sukkot is already more than a month after the equinox in years 1, 9, and 12 of each 19-year cycle; beginning in Hebrew year 5818 (2057 CE), this will also be the case in year 4. (These are the same year numbers as were mentioned for the spring season in the previous paragraph, except that they get incremented at Rosh Hashanah.) This progressively increases the probability that Sukkot will be cold and wet, making it uncomfortable or impractical to dwell in the traditional succah during Sukkot. The first winter seasonal prayer for rain is not recited until Shemini Atzeret, after the end of Sukkot, yet it is becoming increasingly likely that the rainy season in Israel will start before the end of Sukkot.
Once mashiach comes and we reestablish the calendar according to moon sighting, bet din could simply not make one leap year NOT a leap year, and we would be more or less back on track. But as it stands, as the years progress, it becomes more and more likely that it rains on succot. Nishtaneh hateva. This is derech hateva, and not necessarily a sign of Divine displeasure.

Succot-Related Posts

Nothing new on Succot (yet) this year. Here are posts from past years:

  • The surprising kosher Succah in Queens College. A photo.

  • Must one sit in a succah when one works in Manhattan? I think there is good reason to say that it is not required.

  • The Maharil on maamid, and why he holds that there is no basis for this requirement.
  • Covering one's sukkah with the Arba Minim, a practice of the Samaritans, but also partially a practice of us Prushim, in various forms. A discussion of the practices and their bases. Inpart one, noting the Samaritan practice and analyzing the pesukim to see if they support it. In part two, how Rabbi Yehuda actually holds like this, though his stated reason is far from the literalist reading. In part three, what the Karaites have to say. In part four, the Maharil speaking of how they covered their succahs with aravos.
  • May one buy a lulav / etrog from a minor? Why I have a strong inclination that the question is without foundation, but even if so, yes.
  • The prayer for a beautiful esrog, said on Tu BeShvat, and why I think such a tefillah is out of place today.
  • All of Rif on masechet Succah.
  • Succot To Go, 5770

  • Regarding Succah Intentions
    • Hirhurim has a post about a post-Talmudic innovation, require intention to remember the historical origin of succah, as a requirement for fulfilling the mitzvah. I suggest a Talmudic basis for this requirement.
  • Lima'an Yed'u *Diroteichem*
    • And this Talmudic basis is a derasha in masechet Succah which requires knowledge of sitting in the sukkah. Further, I claim it is an al tikra, "so that the people should know their dwelling," rather than "so that their generations should know."
  • Clouds as Schach, and Phytoplankton
    • How phytoplankton can change the weather to be more suited to their lifestyle. Plus a hook-in to succah, and whether clouds arose from above of below.
  • King David's Fallen Succah
    • hanofelet vs. hanofalet, and the distinction between the two. Plus, what is this fallen succah?
  • A Succah Higher Than 20 Amot
    • The same derasha as above.
  • Why Do We Sit In A Succah?
    • Homiletics. Three reasons for sitting in the succah.
  • HaGān, Mashiv HaRuach and the pseudo-pausal
    • should morid hatal be with a patach or kametz? The pseudo-pausal, and why thekametz is appropriate even if you say hageshem rather than hagashem.
  • Orthopraxy II - Sitting In A Succah
    • If you don't believe in God, how can you fulfill the obligation that God sat us in Succot when we left Egypt, and thus fulfill the mitzvah?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Kew Gardens Hills eruv is up, after the Tornado! The Forest Hills eruv is NOT!

There was a worry that the eruv in Kew Gardens Hills would not be up by Shabbos. If so, it would be have been forbidden to carry food from the house to the succah, without making your own private eruv. Baruch Hashem, this is not a concern, and the eruv is up.

But last I heard, the Forest Hills eruv is expected to be down this Shabbos, due to the recent tornado. Indeed, it may be down for the foreseeable future, due to lack of funds to reconstruct it. If so, there is a problem carrying 4 cubits outdoors, and there is a problem of transferring items from your house to the outside, and from the outside to the succah.

It is better to eat your meal in the house than to violate Shabbos by carrying, or from your house into the public domain (even if it has the status only Rabbinically), into your Succah. Shev ve'al taaseh adif. The best thing to do is consult your local Orthodox rabbi now, so that you can figure out appropriate steps.

These steps may be -- but consult your local Orthodox rabbi to make sure that the approach is valid, and would work for your specific situation:

  1. construct an eruv which encompasses your house and succah
  2. make an eruv chatzeiros if it is jointly-owned property
  3. make other plans, such as alternate meals
  4. maybe place your succah right next to your window and pass food from the window of the house directly into the window of the succah
  5. finding out if amira le'akum is acceptable in such a situation (shevus de'shevus be'makom mitzvah).
  6. leave the meals for Shabbos inside the Succah before Shabbos begins
If you've been in this situation in the past, then you likely know what to do. But for those of us who grew up with an eruv, we may well want to consult an expert to find out what to do.

Again, this post is not intended to be halacha lemaaseh. Consult your local Orthodox rabbi for some practical advice.

Update: From the Vaad Harabonim of Queens
Please be advised that our updated information is as follows:

Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, and the Eruv to Booth (NY Hospital) WILL BE in

Please look out for the updates to come for Forest Hills and others as they come in.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Succot-Related Posts

The surprising kosher succah at Queens College

Click on the image to see it larger.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Must one sit in a succah when one works in Manhattan?

Note: Not halacha lemaaseh. Consult your local Orthodox rabbi.

This is something that occurred to me back when I was working in Manhattan. On a typical non-Succos day, I would eat at my desk. It was not such a schlep to eat in a Succah, since Chabad made a nice Succah on 42nd Street, in front of the public library. But depending on where one worked, it could be a trip many blocks out of the way. And perhaps if one factored in the time to order lunch, go to the succah, and return to work, there would be no time to eat. And eating in restaurants which did not have a succah (say, on a date, or for work) is also problematic. And undoubtably, some people took non-motzi and mezonot to sort of avoid the issue.

But is such really necessary? It seems to me that it is nowhere near clear-cut. In fact, I would lean heavily towards saying that it is not necessary. Though according to Magen Avraham, it might well be necessary. Of course, this post is not intended halacha lemaaseh, so consult your local Orthodox rabbi who could likely explain why I am an ignoramus here. And your individual case may easily be different from the case I am envisioning. At the very least, if we mattir this, the typical Jew in New York will end up not entering into a succah for most of Succos. After all, we don't sleep in a succah. If we eliminate most chol hamoed day meals, and many restaurant meals, from the obligation, how will we feel that it is Sukkos? And how will we have teshvu?

Also, regardless of whether it is strictly obligatory, the gemara records a praiseworthy chumra that some adopted to not eat anything outside a succah. And one presumably gets sechar for eating in a succah even if not obligated. (Indeed, it is quite possible that even a non-Jewish person gets such sechar.)

But still, it seems to me that it is not necessarily obligatory.

Let us start at the beginning, in the gemara in Succah, daf 26a. The gemara there states:
ת"ר הולכי דרכים ביום פטורין מן הסוכה ביום וחייבין בלילה
הולכי דרכים בלילה פטורין מן הסוכה בלילה וחייבין ביום
הולכי דרכים ביום ובלילה פטורין מן הסוכה בין ביום ובין בלילה
הולכין לדבר מצוה פטורין בין ביום ובין בלילה
Thus, those who travel by day are exempt from Succah by day and obligated at night; those who travel at night are exempt from Succah by night and obligated by day; those who travel by day and night are exempt from Succah during both day and night; and those who travel for the sake of a precept are exempt whether by day or night.

Why should this be?

Rashi explains (there):
הולכי דרכים ביום פטורין מן הסוכה ביום - דכתיב בסוכות תשבו כעין ישיבת ביתו כשם שכל השנה אינו נמנע מלכת בדרך בסחורה כך כל ימות החג שאינו יום טוב לא הצריכו הכתוב למנוע:
Since the pasuk states Basukkos teishvu, and Chazal darshen that teshvu means ke'ein taduru, as one typically dwells, that it should be as he typically dwells in his house, then just as throughout the year he would not refrain from traveling on the road to do business, so too throughout all the days of the chag which are not Yom Tov, the Scriptures do not require him to refrain.

Tosafot say the same thing, though also connect mitztaer pater min hasuccah with the same derivation:
הולכי דרכים ביום. כל זה נפקא מתשבו כעין תדורו שכשם שאדם בביתו אינו נמנע מלצאת לדרך. וכן מצטער דפטרו לעיל מן הסוכה היינו מתשבו כעין תדורו דאין אדם דר במקום שמצטער:

This carries over to practical paskened halacha.

Moving now to Tur, Orach Chaim, siman 640, the Tur says (image reconstructed by pulling different parts from the page):

Looking to the right, we see that Tur basically cites the brayta from masechet Sukkah, lehalachah.

Bet Yosef, in his commentary on Tur, states that it is a brayta in Succah 26a, and then cites Tosafot on that page that it is because of teshvu ke'ein taduru -- just as a person in his house does not refrain from going out on the road.

But this is not all that he says. He has another followup comment, which is unfortunately too small too see as an embedded image on my blog. Right-click and open the image in a new window or tab to see it larger.

Alternatively, all that he does is cite the Orchos Chaim, hilchot Succah, seif 33, from Rabbi Aharon HaKohen miLunil, which I will provide next, so simply look at the next image. But to translate: It is written in Orchos Chaim that "those who travel by day are exempt from Succah by day and are exempt by night. And if they are on the road, or in a place where there is no settlement, they are exempt even by night, for he is not able to make a dwelling there. And those who travel at night are exempt by night, etc., to explain, that if he can go on the road but he knows that he will need to eat before he finds a succah, he does not need to refrain because of this." And he writes further that "And so {since} those who travel by day are obligated at night, there is to say that those who travel to towns to claim their debts of chol haMoed of the chag, they must return to their homes at night to eat in a Succah, if they do not have a Succah in that town. And even though there is room for a litigant to argue, one who is stringent, blessings shall come upon him."

Orchos Chaim, inside:
"33: Agents going to perform a precept are exempt from Succah, whether by day or night.

Those who travel by day are exempt from Succah by day and are obligated at night. And if they are on the road, or in a place where there is no settlement, they are exempt even at night, for he is not able to make there a dwelling.

Those who travel by night are exempt from Succah at night and are obligated by day. To explain, that if he is able to travel on the road and knows that he will need to eat before he will find a Succah, he is not required to refrain {from traveling} because of this, because he is exempt from this. And the reason is that teshvu means ke'ein taduru, as you typically dwell. And just as, when he is in his house, he does not refrain from traveling for his business dealings, whether by day or night, so too here.

And since those traveling by day they are exempt {by day}, {but} at night they are obligated, there is to say that those who travel to the towns to seek out their debts {owed to them by gentiles, which one is permitted to collect on chol haMoed, as a davar haavud} on chol haMoed of the chag, they are required to return to their homes at night in order to eat in the Succah, if there is no Succah in that town. And even though there is room for a litigant to argue, one who is stringent, blessing should come upon him.

Those who watch the town by day are exempt from Succah by day and are obligated at night. Those who watch the town by mohjy are exempt from Succah at night and are obligated by day. Those who watch gardens and orchards are exempt whether by day or night, for if the watchman makes a Succah, the theif knows that there is an established place for him {the watchman}, and he will steal from another place. And Rabbi P. {?} za"l wrote that this is a support for those who make wine amongst the gentiles, that they do not make a Succah whether by day or night, for they must make a watch over the wine, because of Nisuch {from the gentiles}, end quote."
This is what Beis Yosef says, and cites in his commentary to Tur. Turning now to Shulchan Aruch, we can see what he says:

Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim siman 640. We see that Rav Yosef Karo only cites the words of the Tur, but not the words of the Orchot Chaim.

I would note that Orchot Chaim said two things. The first was a commentary of what peturin means, that he need not refrain from traveling even if he won't encounter a Succah, and that the Mechaber chooses briefer language does not mean that he argues. The second, about those traveling to towns of gentiles to collect their debts, I would say was a chumra. For it is "obvious" that this was part of their travels and that they are unable to make a Succah there, such that it is like a yishuv. The reason Bet Yosef cited it, and indeed the language of the Orchos Chaim, that it is because they are obligated by night, is because of the chumra of it, that they need to return to their home towns at night. That the Mechaber doesn't bring this down lehalacha in Shulchan Aruch seems to me more meaningful, that he is something of a "litigant" and thinks that this is a chumra rather than actual halacha.

At any rate, that would be for Sefardim. We Ashkenazim rely on the Rema, who does bring it down.

First the Rema cites the Ran, who gives the explanation we saw some of before, as explanation: that this that they are "obligated by night" is specifically where they are able to find a succah, but if they are not able to find a Succah, they are able to go on their way, even if they will not be able to settle their during either day or night. Just like the other days of the year, that one does not abandon the road because of his home. And even though he only travels by day, he is exempt even by night.

And then he cites the aforementioned Orchos Chaim, via the Beis Yoseif: And those who travel to towns to claim their debts and do not have a Succah in those towns, they should be stringent upon themselves to return to their homes every night to eat in a Succah. And even though there is room to be lenient, still, one who is stringent, blessings shall come upon him.

Turning now to Magen Avraham, on the side of Shulchan Aruch.
And they are obligated at night: When they sleep over at night in a settled area (Tosafot and Ran). It imples that he needs to make there a Succah, and as is written in Orchot Chaim, and this is his language: "And since those traveling by day are obligated at night, there is to say that those who travel to towns {to collect debts} should be stringent upon them selves to return to their homes if there is no succah in that town. And even though there is room for a litigant to argue, one who is stringent, blessings shall come upon him." End quote from the Bet Yosef. To explain this, by law they are obligated to make there a Succah, and if they do not make one, they are obligated to return to their homes, even though there is to say that if they do not have a succah at the time of eating, they are exempt, just as if rain fell, that they do not need to wait. Even so, one who is stringent, blessings should come upon him, for this is called negligence, since he should have made a succah there. And all of this is about those who travel from one town to another in order to collect their debts, but if one remains in one town three or four days, he is obligated to build a succah there, and as is written at the end of this siman.

And the Levush writes that one is not obligated to make a succah among the heathens, and this that it states "they are obligated at night" is where there is a succah there in the place that they sleep. And this is not precise. For behold, Tosafot write that then one reaches the settled area he is obligated; and the place of heathens is also called a settled area. And furthermore, since this that it states "they are exempt by day," this is that they need not wait until they reach a succah. And if so, day and night are equal, and it should have stated plaintly that if he wishes to eat and there is no succah, he need not wait; and what is it to me that he is traveling on the road or staying in his house. Rather, perforce, this is what it means to say: Those who travel by day are exempt by day -- even if they reach an inn, they are not required to establish themselves there and make a succah there, since their intent is to travel immediately, and they are obligated at night to make there a succah. And so seems implied from the language of Rashi and the Ran precisely. And therefore one should be stringent.

And so writes the Bet Yosef in the name of the Orchos Chaim that they are only exempt when they sleep on the road, or in a place where there is no settlement, see there. However, if he comes to a town close to the time of eating, he does not need to wait for the construction of a succah, just as by the falling of rain. And if he is in the field even all the days of the chag, he does not need to trouble himself and construct there a succah, as is stated in the gemara, at the beginning of daf 26, that there is no settlement there.

Skipping his comments on shomrei hair, and going to the next comment now.

In Magen Avraham, the next comment: Those who sit in a shop, even though they are used to, in most times, to eat during the day there, even so, during Sukkot, there are obligated to eat in a succah, similar to how those who watch by day are required to make a succah there, so too they are obligated to make a succah there, even if they dwell outside the city while their shops are in the city, they are obligated to construct there a succah in the city, for there is his house.

In the Yerushalmi, Rav Huna was traveling on the road and was thirsty, and he did not wish to drink until he reached a succah.

This ends my citation of Magen Avraham. From here, I can see plenty of reason to require one to eat in a succah when working in Manhattan. But I don't find this Magen Avraham entirely convincing.

Firstly, he seems to make a diyuk from "if there is no succah in this town." But that is obvious, that if there is a succah readily available, if one is being machmir, one should only be machmir to go sleep in that succah in the town, rather than going all the way home.

Secondly, it seems to me that he is ignoring the major diyuk in the Orchos Chaim. The whole requirement in this chumra was predicated on the idea that "one is travels by day is exempt by day and is obligated by night." So the Orchos Chaim is talking about what to do by night. Since he traveled to the town during the day, the entirety of the day was exempt, and so he need not eat in a succah if the town does not have one, and need not construct one. Only at night does the brayta say he is obligated, and this is used by Orchos Chaim as a foothold for his chumra. Now at night he is obligated, so he must either sleep in a succah if such is available in town, or else go home to his hometown where he has his succah. And Orchos Chaim even admits that such is a chumra, and tavo alav bracha, but that there is room for a litigant to argue. The very valid argument is that this is part of his travels. His travels took him to a place where there is no succah available to him, and so he does not have a choice. (Plus, the idea of constructing other succahs in other locations might be questionable, as being soter his original succah at home.)

The reasoning behind all this is indeed teshvu ke'ein taduru. There is no negligence involved in not constructing a succah there! He should treat his succah in his home town as his residence. For a meal, he would not return all the way home. (And by extension, if work took him to a distant town, he would not go all the way home to sleep, but would rest there. Which is why the litigant has a very good counterargument against this chumra.)

If this was indeed what Orchos Chaim meant, then he should have also said that one should return home during the day to eat if there is no succah; or else build a succah there. Rather, I think he means something much like the Levush.

And in terms of saying "if there is no yishuv", this is just speaking about the instance where he was traveling by day, and needs to sleep at night, that since at night he is obligated, I would think he would be obligated to find or build a succah. Therefore Orchos Chaim says that if there is no yishuv, he is exempt even at night. But he certainly is agreeing here to the day / night distinction.

Thus, in my humble opinion, I don't believe that Magen Avraham is reading Orchos Chaim correctly, and Orchos Chaim rather maintains that there is a general exemption over the course of the day for someone who has traveled for business purposes during the day.

I am not the only one astounded by Magen Avraham. Aruch Hashulchan differs with him as well
Let us look to Aruch Hashulchan's write-up as well. In Aruch Hashulchan, Orach Chaim, siman 640, seif 17. He cites the brayta from Succah 26a about those who travel by day, those who travel by night, etc.

Then, he cites Rashi and Tosafot's explanation that this comes from teishvu keein taduru, that one would not refrain from going from his house on the road, or for some other matter, and so he will not refrain from leaving the Succah.

And then he expands his commentary: When one travels by day, he is exempt from Succah even when he encounters a Succah, and need not delay there in order to eat, but rather may continue on his way, and should simply eat on the road {without a Succah} when he reaches the time he would normally eat. But at night, when he does not travel, but rather sleeps, he is obligated in Succah, and so he should sleep there, and is not permitted to travel from there and sleep in a place where there is no Succah.

And those who travel at night are obligated during the day to eat in a Succah when they encounter it. But if they do not encounter a Succah, they are exempt. And we do not say to him to make a Succah. And just as we would not expect him to build a house on the road, so too he would not build a Succah on the road.

And there is one who obligates him to make a Succah (namely the Magen Avraham, seif katan 15), and these are astonishing things! For certainly if he needs to be in some place for a long time, behold it is to him there like his house, and he is obligated to make a Succah. But when he merely sleeps over there or is delayed there a day or two, how do we obligate him to make for himself there a Succah. [And this that a watchman of grain is obligated is because he dwells there many days, as was explained.]

In seif 18, Aruch Hashulchan continues: And so is made clear from the words of Rabbeinu the Rema, in seif 8, and these are his words: "and this is specifically where they are able to find a Succah, but if they do not find a Succah, they are able to travel on their way even though they do not dwell therein during either day or night. {Just as} During the rest of the days of the year, where one does not leave off from his travels because of his house. And even though he only travels during the day, he is exempt even during the night, for he cannot make for himself there a dwelling. And those who travel to towns to collect their debts and do not have for themselves a succah in those towns, they should be machmir upon themselves to return to their homes every night in order to eat in a succah; and even though there is to be lenient, even so, one who is stringent, blessings should come upon him."

That is to say that those who always travel to the towns which are about the city, it is the case that at times even during the rest of the year they return to their houses every night. And therefore, one should do this during succot as well. And this is within the realm of teshvu keein taduru. And yet, by law, one cannot obligate them , because in the majority of cases they do not return to their homes, for we going after the majority of days [see Bava Btra 29b, regarding peddlars etc., see there]. And therefore, he wrote the language of chumra for it is fitting to be stringent, since at times they return every night. However, at any rate, we learn from his words that there is no obligation to make a succah, but rather, if he finds a succah, he is obligated to dwell there in it.

Now, in terms of a worker in Manhattan eating outside a Sukkah, there are other possible inputs. For example, how does this factor into those who sit in a shop in a town, and whether they need to build a succah. And I think there is a relevant Maharil as well.

But it seems to me that, ignoring the Magen Avraham for a moment, someone in Manhattan who is not allowed (by law) to build a succah and does not have a succah available to him should be able to eat a sandwich outside of a succah. He should be exempt from Succah just like the fellow who went to another town without a succah in order to collect his debts.

Indeed, the idea of bassukot teshvu is teshvu ke'ein taduru, and what person who works in Manhattan travels back to the suburbs to his home in order to eat breakfast or lunch?! He certainly goes home to sleep, but this eating is not part of his teshvu.

This if he regularly eats at his desk. If he goes to a restaurant and eats there, and there is no succah in that restaurant, what of it? He wouldn't order take-out and then take his lunch to his house outside of Manhattan! So why should he need to sit in a succah. He traveled to Manhattan to work, and is thus patur min hasuccah during the day.

Of course, if there is a succah immediately available, he should eat in it. But what if the Succah is annoying, such that he would typically not eat there from the aggravation? Mitztaer patur min hasukkah, for the same reason of teshvu keein taduru. By aggravation, I mean smell and crowds. Chabad does a wonderful job of setting up sukkahs all over the place, but years ago I bought food from a restaurant, walked the 5 blocks over to the sukkah (such that my lunch break was almost over), and saw that people hadn't properly disposed of their garbage because there were many people and not enough garbage bins. I didn't like how crowded it was, I didn't like the smell, and I didn't like the mess. Were I at home, I would have taken my food and eaten it outside. But out of guilt, I ate my food in the only succah available to me.

Of course, this is nowhere near simple, and different situations would have different analyses and different results.

I am not sure we should even give Magen Avraham a second thought. Especially since if we do, it means we are being choshesh for him and so we in effect pasken like him, the more stringent position. But if we do, it is much more complicated.

If one is a poshea for not building a succah during the day to use, and we were only talking about being patur for the period immediately after arrival, then what is involved in finding or constructing such a succah? Then we have more of a need for the modern innovation of a pop-up succah. Now, one cannot simply construct a Succah anywhere in Manhattan. It is against the law, and to stay within the law one needs to apply for a permit, which may or may not be granted. But the time that it would take to construct a Succah could also be spent traveling 10 or 20 blocks to a Chabad succah or to a restaurant with a succah where you can buy a meal. If, as per Magen Avraham, one is actually obligated in the non-immediate case, then such an effort, even if a hassle, might be mandated. Or maybe not. This would once again be travel; whereas in his area there may not be a succah. How much of an effort, and how much travel, should be required? And if we say that while traveling, he need not wait until he reaches a succah, perhaps this can be comparable. So according to Magen Avraham, it seems possible that there would still be this requirement.

But if we don't maintain like the Magen Avraham, but like me as I laid out, or like Aruch Hashulchan for Aruch HaShulchan's reasons, then it seems to me that in many (but not all) cases, a commuting worker to Manhattan should be patur from Succah, and can eat at his desk or local restaurant.

Also, see Mishnah Berurah here.

Once again, to stress: Talk to your local Orthodox rabbi, because besides the fact that I might be wrong, everything is dependent upon the details of the particular situation.


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