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Is it permissible to make a sukkah with walls made of flowing water (assuming that schach can be suspended over these 'walls')?

Furthermore, would the water need to be 'continuous' or 'wall-like' (see image), or can it be a more broken flow as long as it covered the wall area by a certain amount (analagous to levud)?

Why would someone want to do this... may reasons. It can remind us of the well of Miriam that followed us in the desert. Water is analogous to Torah i.e. surrounded by Torah. On sukkot we performed water libations. And perhaps the most direct: we read about the splitting of the sea at the end of sukkot, with specific reference to the walls of water that the Jews walked through (Shemot 14:29): "וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָלְכוּ בַיַּבָּשָׁה, בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם; וְהַמַּיִם לָהֶם חֹמָה, מִימִינָם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָם. "

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There are two problems that come to mind.

There is a general law about building a sukkah, discussed in the Talmud (Sukkah 24b) and throughout rabbinic literature, that the walls of a sukkah should not sway in the wind. Modern responsa on canvas walls discuss this issue at great length (see, for example, Yaabia Omer O"H, vol. 9, 59:1) and the means to eliminate doubts about a wall's validity. I don't see how water will fit this criteria, since it is constantly moving with a mass never in one place. Unlike canvas or other material, there is no way to fasten it in one place (unless, you consider using ice: a separate question).

It is not clear that water can be used as a legitimate wall, especially considering that many (including Ashkenazim) do not consider water a mechitza (Sh"A O"H 363:29). That halakha concerns the problems of an ocean as a boundary for an eruv. Discussing a sukkah water-wall would require examining what other situations, such as in an eruv, where water does or does not constitute a boundary.

  • 1) if it is a 'water-wall' then it would not sway. 2) you could easily suspend schach above the 'water-wall' at a higher fixed point but hanging directly above the water. 3) an ocean is not a 'raised wall' above sea level, this case would be different, i dont think you can apply this to the case of sukkah. – bondonk Sep 19 '15 at 22:30
  • @bondonk thanks for pointing out the solution for the roof problem. I didn't consider suspending it above the water, only imagining that the schach would be floating on it. So I deleted that from the answer. – Aryeh Sep 20 '15 at 6:46

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