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How do I build a Sukkah?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

  

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


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1. One Size Fits All

A Sukkah can be anything from personal- to parking-lot-sized. As long as it's got three firm, wind-resistant walls 30 feet or less in height (four walls is ideal), it can be any length and width you can handle.

2. Up Against a Wall

You can keep your sukkah walls up all year round--like we said, anything stable will do. 2'x4's decked with plywood sheets, PVC or metal framework wrapped in tarp or canvas, or even pre-existing walls.

3. Got You Covered

The roof is what gives a Sukkah its temporary hut-like status. Just shoot some s'chach (pronounced s'KHAKH, Hebrew for "covering") up there, and you're set. If you've got a courtyard in your backyard, cover the overhead crossbeams with wall-to-wall bamboo beams or palm branches, and you're ready to rock. And a removable skylight or retractable roof is the epitome of convenience--just take it off and cover it with s'chach and you've got a Kosher sukkah right in the comfort of your home. Just remember to have that Chabad rabbi come down just to double-check that everything's done right.

A kosher sukkah must be more shady than sunny inside, walls windproof and floor-to-ceiling, s'chach derived from earth-grown stuff.
4. Sukkah 101

You know you've done it right if it looks like something out of Gilligan's Island. A kosher sukkah must be more shady than sunny inside, walls windproof and floor-to-ceiling,1 s'chach derived from earth-grown stuff. Sukkot must be exposed directly to the sky; they may not be erected under a tree and certainly not indoors (i.e., under an existing roof). Once Sukkot starts, eat all meals in-hut. Invite your friends and get them into the Mitzvah too. And for the ultimate in ease and convenience, you can order a prefab, collapsible/portable and reusable sukkah from various online vendors. How much easier can Internet life get?

How about a comprehensive online Sukkah guide on Chabad.org!

Footnotes

  • 1. Exceptions to floor-to-ceiling rule may apply. Consult your local Halachic authority.

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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.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
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.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.