Halacha for Sunday 6 Tishrei 5782 September 12 2021

The Laws of Eating a Kezayit of Bread in the Sukkah on the First Night of Sukkot and One who is Uncomfortable in the Sukkah

In the previous Halacha we have discussed that one may not eat an established meal outside of the Sukkah anytime during the Sukkot holiday.

One must be aware that the reward for the Mitzvah of Sukkah is that it protects one during turbulent times (see Zohar, Parashat Tetzaveh).

The Mitzvah of Eating a Kezayit of Bread in the Sukkah
There is a positive Torah commandment to eat a Kezayit (olive’s volume, approximately 27 grams) of bread in the Sukkah on the first night of the Sukkot holiday (our Sages derive this from expounding several verses in Masechet Sukkah 27a). One must eat the Kezayit of bread in the Sukkah without interruption within a timespan of four or five minutes. Nevertheless, if one has only eaten the bread within a timespan of seven-and-a-half minutes, he has fulfilled his obligation.

This law also applies to the law of the Kezayit of Matzah eaten on the first night of Pesach which is also a positive Torah commandment, for any “eating” that is less than the amount of a Kezayit is not considered eating with regards to Mitzvah fulfillment. Similarly, various “eatings” cannot be joined unless they are both done within a timespan of four or five minutes (preferably). However, if one eats one crumb now and another crumb in an hour and the like, it cannot be considered that one has eaten a Kezayit; rather, it is considered that one has not eaten at all.

It is preferable for one to fulfill all opinions by eating a Kebetza (egg’s volume equal to approximately 60 grams) of bread in the Sukkah within eight minutes (Chazon Ovadia-Sukkot, page 114).

The Law Regarding One Who is Uncomfortable
The Torah states, “You shall sit in the Sukkah for seven days.” Our Sages expounded that “sitting” is tantamount to “dwelling,” i.e. that the Torah only obligates one to eat in the Sukkah in a way that is similar to how he would in his house during the rest of the year. Thus, if it begins to rain into the Sukkah, if the light turns off and one is now sitting in the dark, if there are flies or mosquitoes in the Sukkah which are disturbing the person, if the wind is blowing into the Sukkah, or if there is an unpleasant odor in the Sukkah and the like, one is exempt from eating in the Sukkah, for anyone who is uncomfortable in the Sukkah is exempt from sitting in it. According to the Rambam and many other Rishonim, this rule applies even on the first night of the Sukkot holiday; although there is a positive Torah commandment to eat a Kezayit of bread in the Sukkah, one who is uncomfortable is nevertheless exempt from sitting in the Sukkah. Although regarding other Mitzvot of the Torah one is obligated to perform them even if he is uncomfortable as a result of the Mitzvah, this rule does not apply to the Mitzvah of Sukkah, for there is an innate part of this Mitzvah is that one’s sitting in the Sukkah must be similar to the way one lives in his home the rest of the year; thus, if one is uncomfortable by sitting in the Sukkah, one is exempt from this Mitzvah. Nevertheless, according to the Rosh and others, on the first night of Sukkot, one is obligated to sit in the Sukkah even if doing so causes him discomfort. Maran HaShulchan Aruch rules leniently on this issue in accordance with the Rambam’s view that in any case of discomfort, one is exempt from sitting in the Sukkah even on the first night of Sukkot. Even if one wishes to act stringently and sit in the Sukkah even when it is raining, one may not recite the “Leeshev Ba’Sukkah” blessing, for according to Maran, this is a blessing in vain since one is exempt from sitting in the Sukkah at this time.

Wearing Warm Clothing
Hagaon Chafetz Chaim writes in his Mishnah Berura that if is cold and blustery during Sukkot, one should wear warm clothing and eat in the Sukkah. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l adds that one must make sure to wear adequately warm clothing in the Sukkah, for if one suffers from the cold, he will be exempt from sitting in the Sukkah and his “Leeshev Ba’Sukkah” blessing will have been in vain.

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