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Eating Outside of the Sukkah
The Torah (Vayikra 23:42) commands us to live in a sukkah for the seven days of Sukkot. This mitzvah is not limited to eating in the sukkah. It includes many activities that one would normally perform in one's home. Nevertheless, eating in the sukkah is one of the activities that is central to this mitzvah. As such, there are specific halachot relating to what one must eat in the sukkah and what is permissible to eat outside of the sukkah. This article will discuss the parameters of these halachot.
What Constitutes Achilat Arai?
The Mishna, Sukkah 25a, rules that one may eat a snack (achilatarai) outside of the sukkah. The Gemara, Sukkah 26a, states that the quantity of an achilat arai is the amount of food a yeshiva student eats in the morning on his way to the beit hamidrash. Tosafot, ad loc., s.v. Tarti, state that this amount is a k'beitzah (the size of an egg). [The different opinions regarding the halachic standard of k'beitzah were presented in a previous issue.] This means that it is permissible to eat less than a k'beitzah outside of the sukkah. This ruling is codified by Shulchan Aruch 639:2.
The Gemara, Yoma 79b, presents two opinions regarding eating fruit outside of the sukkah. Tosafot, op. cit., rule in accordance with the opinion that it is permissible to eat fruit outside of the sukkah, even if one eats a large amount of fruit, because the eating of fruit is always considered an achilat arai. According to Tosafot, the only food item that must be eaten in the sukkah is bread. Rabbeinu Asher, Sukkah 2:13, cites the opinion of Rabbeinu Meir (Maharam MiRutenberg) who follows the stringent opinion in the Gemara that one may not eat fruit outside of the sukkah. Rabbeinu Asher notes that Rabbeinu Meir would agree that it is permissible to eat less than a k'beitzah of fruit outside of the sukkah. Rabbeinu Asher then quotes the opinion of Rabbeinu Peretz that the leniency of eating fruit outside of the sukkah does not apply to meat, fish and cheese (meal-food items).
Shulchan Aruch, op. cit., rules that one may eat fruit outside of the sukkah. Although Shulchan Aruch does not rule explicitly regarding meat, fish and cheese, Mishna Berurah 639:13, notes that Shulchan Aruch implies that it is permissible to eat these items outside of the sukkah. Nevertheless, Mishna Berurah 693:15 presents a compromise to this discussion. He rules that if one establishes a meal with these items, he should (but is not required to) eat in the sukkah. If not, he is technically exempt from eating in the sukkah.
There is a further discussion regarding non-bread products of the five grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt). Rabbeinu Asher, op. cit., notes that even if one disagrees with Rabbeinu Peretz regarding meat, fish and cheese, one might include food items made of the five grains among the list of food items that must be eaten in the sukkah. Rabbeinu Asher's son, Rabbeinu Ya'akov, Tur, Orach Chaim 639, codifies this position, as does Shulchan Aruch, op. cit. Nevertheless, Tur notes that one is not required to eat an item of the five grains (that is not bread) in the sukkah unless it is part of an established meal. Mishna Berurah 639:15, defines established meal for these purposes as either eating with a group of people or eating a large quantity of food. Magen Avraham 639:6 (according to the understanding of R. Akiva Eger, ad loc.) disagrees (with Tur) and maintains that one may not eat more than a k'beitzah of the five grains outside of the sukkah. Mishna Berurah 639:15, does mention his opinion. [Regarding pat haba'ah b'kisnin (cakes and cookies), R. Mordechai Karmi, Ma'amar Mordechai 639:2, rules that one should recite a beracha if he eats in an established manner, even if he does not eat the quantity that would require him to recite hamotzi. This ruling is codified by Mishna Berurah 639:16.]
When does one recite a Beracha?
The Gemara, Sukkah 45b, records a dispute regarding the frequency of the beracha of Leisheiv BaSukkah. Shmuel is of the opinion that the mitzvah of yeshivat sukkah is one elongated mitzvah. Therefore, one beracha is recited at the beginning of Sukkot and one does not recite any more berachot after that first beracha. R. Yochanan is of the opinion that one recites the beracha of Leisheiv BaSukkah all seven days of Sukkot. Tosafot, ad loc., s.v. Echad, note that R. Yochanan does not limit the frequency to once a day. Rather, according to R. Yochanan, every time one enters the sukkah to eat, drink or sleep, he recites a new beracha.
Rabbeinu Tam (cited in Mordechai, Sukkah no 5765) is of the opinion that one should only recite the beracha of Leisheiv BaSukkah upon eating a meal. All other activities are covered by the beracha that one recites at the meal. This ruling is codified by Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 639:8.
One can question whether the ruling of Rabbeinu Tam to only recite Leisheiv BaSukkah upon eating a meal is a function of eating constituting the only activity that warrants a beracha, or whether the beracha is a function of performance of an activity that would otherwise be prohibited to perform outside of the sukkah. This seems to be the subject of a dispute between R. Ya'akov of Lisa, Derech HaChaim, Dinei Yeshivat HaSukkah, no. 16, and R. Avraham Danzig, Chayei Adam 147:13. Derech HaChaim is of the opinion that one should not recite a beracha unless he eats a k'beitzah of bread in the sukkah. He is clearly of the opinion that one only recites a beracha in a situation where it would be prohibited to eat that food item outside of the sukkah. However, Chayei Adam maintains that one may recite a beracha upon eating a k'zayit (if he is established in the sukkah). He seems to be of the opinion that the beracha is not a function of the prohibition to eat outside of the sukkah. Rather, eating is the only activity that warrants a beracha and when one eats a k'zayit, he may recite a beracha.
Mishna Berurah (639:46 and Sha'ar HaTziun 639:84) rules in accordance with the opinion of Derech HaChaim. Mishna Berurah also applies the discussions of what one is required to eat in the sukkah to the discussion of whether to recite a beracha. [See Mishna Berurah 639:13, 639:15 and 639:16. One noteworthy exception is Mishna Berurah's ruling that if one eats a small quantity of Mezonot for Kiddush on Shabbat or Yom Tov, he should recite Leisheiv BaSukkah (see Mishna Berurah 639:16).]
Other Exemptions from Eating in the Sukkah
There are certain situations where one is exempt from eating in the sukkah. The Mishna, Sukkah 25a, states that those who are traveling to perform a mitzvah are exempt from eating in the sukkah. The Gemara, Sukkah 26a, cites a Beraita that states that travelers who are not traveling for mitzvah purposes are exempt from the sukkah during the daytime but not during the nighttime hours. The Mishna also exempts the infirmed and their caretakers from eating in the sukkah.
R. Moshe Feinstein, Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 3:93, rules that the leniency for travelers who are not traveling for mitzvah purposes is limited to business travelers. If someone is traveling for leisure purposes, he is not exempt from eating in the sukkah.
The Mishna, Sukkah 28b, states that one is not required to eat in the sukkah if it is raining. [This exemption does not apply to the first night of Sukkot. See "Eating in the Sukkah on the First Night of Sukkot".] The Gemara, Sukkah 29a, cites a Beraita that states that one is not required to return to the sukkah after it stops raining. [Rashi, ad loc., s.v. V'yardu implies that the exemption from returning to the sukkah after it stops raining only applies if one sat down insider to start the meal. This is codified by Mishna Berurah 639:38.]
Ritva, Sukkah 29a, s.v. Tannu Rabanan, writes that one is not required to eat in the sukkah if there are rain-clouds in the sky and it appears as if it is going to rain. R. Shalom M. Schwadron, Da'at Torah, Orach Chaim 639:5, notes that most poskim reject Ritva's opinion. However, he is unsure whether one should recite a beracha if one eats in a sukkah while a storm is approaching.
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