There is a custom followed by Jews of German extraction to wash for Hamotzi before making Kiddush. See OC 271 (12) MB{61}. This is very convenient for those who have an outside sukka and don’t want the trouble of returning to the house to wash. Several questions:

1) Is it OK to adopt this minhag for Sukkos only?

2) The MB {62} refers to acharonim who do not favour the practice and the Piskei Teshuvos does not generally favour it. Are there contemporary poskim who support it?

3) I have heard that there are factors that make the minhag less supportable for Kiddush in the day rather than at night. What might these be?

4 Answers 4


Take a look at OC 271 (12) MB{58} where the משנה ברורה (quoting the מ"א) states that the entire discussion of when to wash refers to the person making Kiddush.

The rest of the family (and guests) can always wash before Kiddush.

This would be a solution for those who want to have "the best of both worlds" on Sukkoth; especially if you provide the MeKadesh with a bowl and a cup of water in the Sukkah.


I can't give a full answer to all of your questions, but seeing that a week has gone by and no answers were given....

The idea behind adopting this Minhag just for Sukkos is that saying "לישב בסוכה" on the wine and then leaving the Sukka can be a problem. We do say the Sukka blessing on wine if we plan on drinking wine (eg. a large amount of wine) in the Sukka. Since most people will only drink a sip of the Kiddush wine, the Sukka blessing is actually on the rest of the meal. (In households where not everyone partakes in the Kiddush wine, this is doubly true)
Saying this blessing (on the rest of the meal) and then leaving the Sukka before actually starting the meal, while not being a הפסק, still is not ideal.

This is why the Minhag exists to do this only during Sukkos.

Additionally, opinions exist that the Sukka blessing should be said every time we enter the Sukka (Yeminites hold according to this opinion) and this may also have something to do with adopting this Minhag.

  • Also note this disscusion: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/20601/…
    – Gidil
    Oct 9, 2012 at 12:10
  • 1
    Why is it not ideal? You are leaving with intent to come back, and moreover you are doing exactly what you would have done had it been your home: תשבו כעין תדורו
    – Double AA
    Oct 9, 2012 at 23:38
  • But you are saying the blessing to sit in the Sukka and before you actually eat (and eating is the "cause" behind the blessing) we leave the Sukka! An alternative might be to simply consume a larger amount of wine or have some cake (or the like) and then go to wash your hands.
    – Gidil
    Oct 10, 2012 at 5:41
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    @Ze'ev When I have a meal in my dining room i go wash in the kitchen. I do this even if i have guests. A sukkah is not a kitchen. Your kitchen is a kitchen.
    – Double AA
    Sep 12, 2013 at 14:57
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    @Ze'evFelsen So why don't you bring a chamber pot into the sukkah too? Why don't you bring in a fridge, stovetop, and microwave? People back then cooked outside too, whereas now we cook inside. If I had to walk just outside my front door to wash then yes, we would do that and not move in with friends. You seem to be missing the point, though, about which rooms are supposed to be represented by the Sukkah. (Please remember to ping me in comments @DoubleAA.)
    – Double AA
    Sep 12, 2013 at 21:38

While I don't have any written sources to back up what I will say however I think it's still worth stating...

I'm not so convinced that there is a problem of making a leishiv and then leaving the Sukkah to go wash. The minhag is as brought down in Shulchan Aruch Siman 643 to make the bracha leishiv by kiddush. Leaving the sukkah to go wash ones hands is all l'tzrich the seudah and v'dei the leishev is going on the mitzvas that one will be doing now in the sukkah (eating, sleeping, learning, "tiul", etc.)

Many do have the ability to wash in the sukkah itself or perhaps right near by making this less of a problem. However someone who lives on the 4th floor an an apartment building and builds their sukkah on the street can run into this problem.

However that which people adopt the minhag that the Rema brings down makes a lot of sense. It takes care of the problem as well of being a hefsek between washing and hamotzei which is also a problem (perhaps even more so then being mafsik between the leishev and the start of the seudah.) It's also more convinient as to not bother the family and guests to go back into the house to wash for the seudah especially in a situation where the sukkah is far from the house. Being somach on the Rema (even if others argue) in such a situation I believe is perfectly ok. I heard b'shem Rav Padva (from England) that one can always be somach on what is brought down in Shulchan Aruch when it's needed.


Only a partial answer, but:

In answer to question 1, the acceptability of doing this only for Sukkot, Rebbetzin Blu Greenberg says in her book "How to Keep a Traditional Jewish Household" that her family does this (i.e. On sukkot they wash before kiddush and the rest of the year they wash after kiddush). I'm not sure a maaseh rebbetzin qualifies as a source, but presumably it is no worse than any observer saying "Rabbi Yitz Greenberg does x".

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    It could be worse if we trust R X to be less likely to be making a mistake. What are her qualifications that we should trust her?
    – Double AA
    Sep 12, 2013 at 15:01

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