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Can I secure the sechach by tying it down?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Holidays » Sukkot » The Sukkah | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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In order to answer this question, we first have to preface some basic Halachot regarding sechach.

In order for sechach to be Kosher, it must be made of "raw material" which has grown from the ground. Examples of kosher sechach are thin wooden slats, bamboo poles, and palm or evergreen branches. None of the abovementioned items have been processed into usable "utensils." The handle of a shovel is an example of "processed" non-kosher sechach.

Ideally, not only should one cover the Sukkah with kosher sechach, but also the sechach shouldn’t be directly supported by a material which is not kosher for use as sechach. Thus, the sechach should not be lying directly on metal, plastic or another sort of non-kosher sechach material. Instead, a piece of wood should be placed atop the metal or other material, and the sechach should be placed on the wooden slat. However, although this is the preferable way of placing the sechach, the sukkah does remain kosher even if the sechach is supported by non-kosher sechach material.

Ideally, not only should one cover the sukkah with kosher sechach, but also the sechach shouldn't be directly supported by a material which is not kosher for use as sechach
Rope or string is not kosher for sechach.

Now, as long as the sechach would remain in place under normal wind conditions, the rope is not considered to be a significant "support." Thus, there is no problem whatsoever with tying down the sechach in order to keep it secure in the event of an unusually strong wind. If, however, the weight of the sechach is not sufficient to keep it in place even under normal wind conditions, then the non-kosher sechach is considered a support -- which means that the sukkah is kosher, but this is not the optimal way to perform the Mitzvah.


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Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Sukkah
The temporary structure in which we are required to dwell for the duration of the holiday of Sukkot. The Sukkah must have at least three walls and its roof consists of unsecured branches, twigs or wooden slats.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Halachot
Laws governing the Jewish way of life.
sechach
The roof of foliage which covers the sukkah (the hut used during the holiday of Sukkot).