Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Some reflections on Succos

I am back after taking a break for Succos.

This year I built a very big succa and for the first time really felt like תשבו כעין תדורו. For the first time in my life I slept and ate in the succa and did not feel cramped, the succa felt like a room of my house. It was great to be able to be mekayem the mitzva like that eating, sleeping, and just spending a lot of time in the succa.

The first day of Chol Hamoed, the weather in Israel was unprecedented. It was a really stormy day with a lot of rain. Everyone I spoke to (including my relatives who were born in israel) could not remember such bad weather on Succos. Other then that 1 day we really enjoyed our time on the succa.

Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah is a bit much in Israel. To go from the levity and simcha of the hakafos to yizkor and geshem seems incongrous.

The usual questions about how many days should visitors keep came up. There are 4 opinions:

1. 1 day - this is the opinion of the Chacham Tzvi and others, it seems to be the minority opinion
2. A day and a half - this is what is reported as the recommendation of the Rav to his talmidim, it means that on the second day you don't make kiddush, you daven a chol shemoneh esrei, however, you don't do any melacha.
3. 2 days - this is the majority opinion and what is observed in the Charedi community
4. 2 and a half days - you keep 2 days but on the second night you hear havdala and on the last day you put on tefillin. This is what RHS keeps (see Regarding the Second Day Yom Tov for Visitors in Eretz Yisroel for RHS nuanced view on this).

As many have pointed out a day and a half can be in some ways be considered the most machmir shita. You are machmir on the issur d'oraysa of possibly saying a bracha levatala. Everything else (melacha on the second day, the mitzvos on the second day, etc. are all only d'rabbanan's).

This is clearly 1 question where every needs to ask their own Rav a question and abide by his ruling.


Anonymous said...

Reflections on your Reflections...

I also was commenting to myself, my wife, and whoever else would listen, on how much i enjoyed sukkos this year. Didnt do much of anything except sit in the sukkah with some sefarim and my kids (save the 2nd day, as you pointed out).

Did you have issues with the wind? Here in RBS, schach was flapping all night on Motzai Shabbos and Sunday nights. MS was worse and after getting up every 20 mins or so to tie down more scach from 10:30 till 12:30, i "lost" and the schach started falling in. My son and I went into the house to finish a nights sleep. The next night, no schach caved in, but that was due to my (brilliant) idea - although our rov says to be machmir for maamid, he allowed me to tie it with the horse-hair-look-alike strings in a way in which the schach would not fall with a ruach metzuyah, and in case there is another ruach she'aina metzuyah, i tied it down with those plastic things. Dont know what they are called, or what they are really used for, but everyone around here seems to use them for something in the sukkah.

I always assumed the RHS was the most machmir shita out there in this shaila. He holds you do teh chumros of both - 2 havdalahs, 2 kiddush, no melachas, yet you have to wear tefillin. Interesting as well is the inverse of this, which RHS told me to do when i was a ben EY in US for pesach was the do the 2nd seder but with no Brochos.

Anonymous said...

Hey while I'm learning in Israel for a couple years, I've been doing 1.5 days. The second day essentially becomes a type or halachic Purgatury. Can't really do anything fun for Yom Tov yet still have all the restrictions. My wife and I spent the first 2 days in Alon Shevut and most of the Rebbeim there just sort looked at us like were crazy. At least there is no prohibition of Amira L'Yehudi and you can ask other Jews do do stuff for you on the 2nd day.

Anonymous said...

re amira l'yehudi -
dont think it is so pashut that one is allowed to tell any jew to do melacha for you. i believe it is a machlokes. see YT sheini kehilchaso chapter 14:2 who says most authorities rule that one is not allowed to ask, or even hint, to a ben EY to do melacha. in the footnotes (2) he brings this in the name of giants such as Rav Akiva Eiger, RMF, RSZA, RYSE, Minchas Yitzchok.
although he says this is the opinon on "most" authorities, he doesnt bring down the minority opinon

bluke said...

We had tremendous wind. I tied the scach to the wood poles (that we rested the scach on) using the guava(?) string that comes with the scach. That worked well and after that the scach gave me no problems.

One night (I don't remember which), I went to sleep in the succah with my son and when I woke up he was gone, he had gone inside. When I asked him why, he told me that there was such a tremendous wind he thought the whole succah was going to fall down. Of course, he left me there in the succa for it to fall on me :). I was so tired I didn't hear anything.

bluke said...

In some ways RHS is the most machmir, on the other hand he is making brachos (kiddush, shehecheyanu, etc.) on the second day which is a possible bracha l'vatala. This is one of those questions where it is impossible to be machmir and yotze all the shitos.

bluke said...

About amira l'yehudi on the second day of Yom Tov, see the Shmiras Shabbos, he is also machmir on top but quotes opinions l'kula in the footnotes.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Bluke: "Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah is a bit much in Israel. To go from the levity and simcha of the hakafos to yizkor and geshem seems incongrous.

It only seems incongrous since you grew up in Chutz LaAretz. The general purimesque behaviour seen on Simchat Torah in Ch'ul is alot less prevalent in Israel (as it should be). Simcha doesn't require levity in hakafot. One can still say piyutim with gusto during hakafot, and easily return to the proper frame of mind during Chatan Torah/Breisheit.

We started saying a new piyut last year which is at the end of the Eidot HaMizrach machzor for Sukkot. Its called "Yom Simcha L'Yisrael" -- its pretty amazing. Just make sure you don't post it to the web, or you'll be arrested for incitement.

Anonymous said...

Bluke - thats the difference between fatehrs and sons... i couldnt sleep, and i thought the scach was gonna come crashign down, but i waited there for an hour and a half, while my son slept away... couldnt leave him there alone :)

daaty said...

fROM rOSH hASHONA TO Yom Kippur to Succot to Shmini Atzeret there is a combination of noraot and simcha going on at the same time.