Halacha for Tuesday 18 Tishrei 5781 October 6 2020

Rain in the Sukkah

There are certain places, such as New York, where it commonly rains during the holiday of Sukkot. Even in Israel it has happened in the past that rain has fallen during Sukkot.

In the Land of Israel, rain during the Sukkot holiday is an ominous sign, as our Sages taught that this is comparable to a servant who pours a beverage for his master and the master throws the cup in the servant’s face. So too, when it rains on Sukkot and everyone leaves the Sukkah, it is a sign that Hashem does not want us to be sitting in the Sukkah.

Nevertheless, we must discuss how one should behave when it rains in the Sukkah. If one was sitting and eating in the Sukkah and it suddenly begins to rain strongly (to the extent that if a plate of food was before him, the food would get ruined, see Rashi’s commentary on Sukkah 29a), one should exit the Sukkah and return home and continue one’s meal there. Although there might not be an actual plate of food on the table getting ruined, for instance, if one is eating cake and they do not get ruined from such rain, nevertheless, one still need not remain in the Sukkah in this case and one should return home (See Shulchan Aruch Chapter 639, Section 5).

If during one’s meal at home, the rain stops, there is no obligation to continue one’s meal in the Sukkah and doing so is merely a stringency (see Yabia Omer Volume 9, Chapter 63). The above applies on any other day of the Sukkot holiday. However, on the first night of Sukkot, one is obligated to return to the Sukkah and eat a Kezayit of bread there as soon as the rain stops.

Similarly, if one begins to eat at home because he sees that it is raining and then he realizes that the rain has stopped, he need not go out to the Sukkah in order to finish his meal; rather, one may conclude one’s meal at home. This law does not only apply to rain, rather, if one was sitting in the Sukkah and strong winds start gusting suddenly and pieces of the Sechach start falling into the Sukkah and it makes it difficult to remain in the Sukkah, one may finish one’s meal at home (see Sukkah 29a).

If it is raining outside but the Sechach on one’s Sukkah is so thick that the rain does not penetrate the Sukkah, one must eat in the Sukkah and even recite the blessing of “Leeshev Ba’Sukkah.” (Chazon Ovadia- Sukkot, page 185 quoting the Bikurei Yaakov)

If one is exempt from the Mitzvah of Sukkah because of rain and the like and nevertheless acts stringently and eats in the Sukkah anyway is considered a fool and does not receive reward for this (see Rama in Chapter 639). If one recites the “Leeshev Ba’Sukkah” blessing in such a case, this blessing will have been in vain.

If one must leave the Sukkah as a result of rain and the like, one should not kick it on one’s way out; rather, one should leave in a subjugated manner similar to a servant that had a beverage thrown in his face by his master in that he must act in a subjugated manner and not with anger and the like.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

The Blessings on Thunder and Lightning

One who sees lightning recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Oseh Ma’aseh Bereshit.” One who hears thunder recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Kocho Ugvurato Maleh Olam.” Until When Can On......

Read Halacha

Women and the Shabbat Meals-The Custom of Maran zt”l

Question: Are women obligated to eat all three Shabbat meals as are men? Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have explained the primary laws regarding the Shabbat meals, including the obligation to eat three meals on Shabbat: One on Shabbat night, one on Shabbat morning, and one on Shabbat after......

Read Halacha

“And Your Camp Shall Be Holy”

Question: May I pray when my child is walking around the house in a dirty diaper? Answer: We derive from the verse in the Torah, “And your camp shall be holy”, that one may not recite words of Torah, pray, or perform any acts of holiness (for instance donning Tefillin) in the restroom......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Mentioning “Mashiv Ha’Ruach”

We Begin Reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is a praise we recite to Hashem during the winter months within the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing of the Amidah as is printed in all Siddurim. We begin recitin......

Read Halacha

Using Frozen Bread for “Double Bread”

We have already discussed that there is a Mitzvah to recite the Hamotzi blessing during the Shabbat meals on “double bread,” i.e. two loaves of bread. It is fairly common that one does not have two loaves of bread for this Mitzvah and would like to join a frozen loaf of bread from the fr......

Read Halacha

“Double Bread”

In the previous Halacha, we have explained the laws of Seuda Shelishit and would also like to discuss the laws of women regarding Seuda Shelishit. However, since this issue is connected to the laws of women and “double bread” on Shabbat, let us first discuss the basic laws of “doub......

Read Halacha

Speaking Between Washing One’s Hands and the “Hamotzi” Blessing

Question: Is one permitted to speak between washing one’s hands and reciting the Hamotzi blessing? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (42a) states: “Immediately following hand-washing, one must recite the blessing.” The Rishonim disagree as to the explanation of this Gemara......

Read Halacha