A sukkah or succah (/ˈsʊkə/;
Sephardic Hebrew Hebrew: סוכה,
plural, סוכות sukkot ; sukkoth, often translated as "booth") is
a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish
festival of Sukkot. It is topped with branches and often well
decorated with autumnal, harvest or Judaic themes. The Book of Vayikra
(Leviticus) describes it as a symbolic wilderness shelter,
commemorating the time God provided for the Israelites in the
wilderness they inhabited after they were freed from slavery in
Egypt. It is common for Jews to eat, sleep and otherwise spend time
in the sukkah. In Judaism,
Sukkot is considered a joyous occasion and
is referred to in Hebrew as Yom Simchateinu (the day of our rejoicing)
or Z'man Simchateinu (the time of our rejoicing), and the sukkah
itself symbolizes the frailty and transience of life and its
dependence on God.
1 Associated activities
2.1 Roof covering
3 Associated prayers
4 Notable examples
5 See also
7 External links
The halakha requires eating and traditionally sleeping in the sukkah.
However, Jews are not expected to remain in the sukkah if they would
be very uncomfortable there. For this reason, Jews living at
northern latitudes will generally not sleep in the sukkah due to the
low temperatures of autumn nights. Some Jews in these locales will
spend some time in the sukkah eating and relaxing but go indoors to
When rain falls on the sukkah, one is not required to stay inside. The
Sukkah 28b compares rain falling on a sukkah to a master who
receives a drink from his servant and then throws it back in the
servant's face. The analogy is that through the rainfall, God is
showing displeasure with the performance of the mitzvah by not
allowing the Jews to fulfill their obligation of sitting in the
In Israel and other temperate climates (such as Florida, Australia,
Texas, and Southern California), observant Jews will often conduct all
their eating, studying, and sleeping activities in the sukkah. Many
Jews will not eat or drink anything outside the sukkah. Others will
drink or eat fruit outside the sukkah.
In Israel, it is common practice for hotels, restaurants, snack shops,
and outdoor tourist attractions (such as zoos) to provide a Kosher
sukkah for customers to dine in.
All Lubavitcher Hasidim and some Belzer Hasidim (especially
outside Israel) do not sleep in the sukkah due to its intrinsic
holiness. Though the halakha doesn't obligate one to eat or sleep in
the sukkah if it is raining, Lubavitcher Hasidim will still eat there.
A popular social activity which involves people visiting each other's
Sukkot has become known as "
Sukkah hopping". Food is laid out so that
participants will be able to recite the various required blessings.
Sukkot on graded apartment balconies in Jerusalem
Porch sukkahs in Bnei Brak
According to halakha, a sukkah is a structure consisting of a roof
made of organic material which has been disconnected from the ground
(the s'chach). A sukkah must have 3 walls. It should be at least three
feet tall, and be positioned so that all or part of its roof is open
to the sky. (Only the part which is under the sky is kosher.)
In practice, the walls of a sukkah can be constructed from any
material that will withstand a normally anticipated terrestrial wind.
If the material is not rigid and therefore will sway in the wind, the
sukkah is not kosher (Talmud,
Sukkah 24b). Accordingly, there is a
discussion among contemporary halakhic authorities whether canvas may
be used for walls: Some, such as R. Ovadiah Yosef (Shu"t Yechaveh
Da'at 3:46) hold that even the slightest degree of swaying in the wind
will disqualify the sukkah walls, and thus canvas cannot realistically
be employed. Others, such as the Chazon Ish, permit motion to and fro
of less than three handbreadths, thereby facilitating the usage of
canvas walls. The specific details of what constitutes a wall, the
minimum and maximum wall heights, whether there can be spaces between
the walls and the roof, and the exact material required for the
s'chach (roofing) can be found in various exegetical texts.
A sukkah can be built on the ground or on an open porch or balcony.
Indeed, many observant Jews who design their home's porch or deck will
do so in a fashion that aligns with their sukkah-building needs.
Portable sukkot made of a collapsible metal frame and cloth walls have
recently become available for those who have little space, or for
those who are traveling (in order to have a place to eat one's meals).
The roof covering, known as s'chach in Hebrew, must consist of
something that grew from the earth but is currently disconnected from
it. Palm leaves, bamboo sticks, pine branches, wood and the like can
all be used for s'chach, unless they were processed previously for a
There must be enough s'chach that inside the sukkah there should be
more shade than sun. However, there must be sufficient gaps between
the pieces of s'chach so that rain could come through.
Many people hang decorations such as streamers, shiny ornaments, and
pictures from the interior walls and ceiling beams of a sukkah. Fresh,
dried or plastic fruit — including etrogs and the seven species for
which Israel is praised (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates,
olives and dates; see
Deuteronomy 8:8) — are popular decorations.
Some families also line the interior walls with white sheeting, in
order to recall the "Clouds of Glory" that surrounded the Jewish
nation during their wanderings in the desert. The
Chabad custom is not
to decorate the sukkah, as the sukkah itself is considered to be an
object of beauty.
One turn-of-the-century Sabbath Observer decorated a Succah wall with
his stack of "Pink Slips" that he had convinced multiple employers to
give: "one small favor." (the timing approximates the beginning of
this practice, 1910)
Different types of kosher s'chach serve as roofs for sukkot: woven
bamboo mats (far left and right); palm leaves (center)
Safra Square Sukkah, Jerusalem, 2009
Jewish law, one must recite the following blessing when
using the sukkah. The blessing is normally recited after the blessing
made on food, such as on bread or cake:
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, אשר
קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לישב בסכה.
Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, asher
kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu leishev ba‑sukah.
Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to dwell
in the sukkah."
During the holiday, some Jews recite the ushpizin prayer which
symbolizes the welcoming of seven "exalted guests" into the sukkah.
These ushpizin, or guests, represent the seven shepherds of Israel:
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David. According to
tradition, each night a different guest enters the sukkah followed by
the other six. Each of the ushpizin parallels the spiritual focus of
the day on which they visit.
Chabad tradition, an additional set of corresponding "chasidic"
ushpizin enter the sukkah, beginning with the
Baal Shem Tov
Baal Shem Tov and the
Maggid of Mezeritch and continuing with the consecutive rebbes of the
Chabad Hasidic dynasty.
Bet Shira Congregation
Bet Shira Congregation in Miami, Florida, erected a tent as a
drive-through Sukkah, dubbed "McBet Shira Sukkah", in the parking lot
of the synagogue.
Sukkah City was a public art and architecture competition planned for
New York City's Union Square Park. The winning design was chosen as
the City Sukkah, to stand, starting on September 22, 2010, for the
requisite seven days of the harvest holiday. A committee of art
critics and celebrated architects selected the 12 finalists from a
field of entries.
Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, a Canadian legal case on the building
^ "Live in sukkot for seven days, so your descendants will remember
that I [the Lord] had the Israelites live in wilderness shelters when
I brought them out of Egypt." Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 23:42-43
^ Shelter of Faith
^ Shulchan Aruch 640:4
^ Silverberg, Rabbi David. Sukkot. The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit
Sukkah and Sleeplessness
^ Nitei Gavriel, Hilchos Rosh Hashanah Ch. 29 note 9 (5754 Edition)
Sukkot 5761". Ascentofsafed.com. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
^ Distribution of s'chach in Israel
^ How To Build Your Sukkah
David (1981). Torah Tavlin. Israel Bookshop Publications.
pp. 473–474. ISBN 978-1-60091-077-7.
^ "Among those let go: the pink slip itself".
^ Cf. Mayonei HaYeshua.
^ Hines, Bea (September 20, 2010). "New senior pastor finds a Sweet
Home". Miami Herald. Retrieved June 24, 2011. [dead link]
^ "Watercooler Stories". UPI. October 5, 2009. Retrieved June 24,
^ Miami Herald. October 2, 2009
archive-url= missing title (help). Archived from the original on July
13, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
^  "A
Sukkah Bound For New York; A Competition Opens and Designers
Enter," Samuel Gruber, Published June 23, 2010, issue of July 02,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sukkah.
Sukkah City - slideshow by The New York Times
What On Earth Is A Sukkah? - slideshow by NPR
Sukkahs - 4 Modern Examples
Hilchot Succah by
Sukkot Nehalim Knai Suf
sukkahsoftheworld.org pictures of sukkahs from Sharon to Shanghai
Sukkah worldwide listing of sukkahs available for public use
The Laws of the Succah by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed
Simchat Beit HaShoeivah
Hut dwelling designs and semi-permanent human shelters
Icelandic turf house
Musgum mud huts
Sassi di Matera
Wigwam, wickiup and wetu
Yurt and ger
Alpine club hut
Bill Putnam hut
Charit Creek Lodge
Granite Park Chalet
High Huts of the White Mountains
High Sierra Camps
Len Foote Hike Inn
New Pelion Hut
Old Pelion Hut
Cabanes du Breuil
Village des Bories