The Tur in Orach Chaim siman 668, when dealing with the issue of sitting in a succah on Shmini Atzeres outside of Eretz Yisroel out of doubt, brings a Rosh who explains the reason why sitting there is not a blatant bal tosef considering the Shmini Atzeres point of view, is because it is common for people to sit in shady booths anyway this time of year, so there is no reason to assume someone is sitting there specifically for the mitzvah. His words read:

"ולא שייך בישיבתו בה לומר היאך נעשנו חול שכך דרך בני אדם לפעמים לישב בצל סוכה אפילו שלא לשם מצוה".

However, the Tur in the very beginning of hilchos succah, siman 625, also asked why do we sit in succos in the fall and not the spring when we actually left Egypt? The answer given is that people normally sit in booths in the springtime so our sitting there would not be apparent as done for a mitzvah. We therefore wait until the fall when everyone leaves their booths and goes into their houses, whereupon we go sit in booths when nobody else does, to show it is only for the mitzvah. His words again:

"ואף על פי שהוציאנו ממצרים בחודש ניסן לא צונו לעשות סוכה באותו הזמן לפי שהוא ימות הקיץ ודרך כל אדם לעשות סוכה לצל ולא היתה ניכרת עשייתנו בהם שהם במצות הבורא יתברך ולכן צוה אותנו שנעשה סוכות בחודש השביעי שהוא זמן הגשמים ודרך כל אדם לצאת מסוכתו ולישב בביתו ואנחנו יוצאים מן הבית לישב בסוכה בזה יראה לכל שמצות המלך היא עלינו לעשותה".

How do these two statements coexist?


3 Answers 3


The way I understood the Tur is that its not about the weather. The weather in Tishrai and Nissan are around the same. The issue is the BUILDING of the Sukka. People generally do not buy patio furniture to sit outside in the fall. You generally build your outdoor huts in the spring because the spring is the start of good weather. The fall is the end of it so why would you take the time to build it in the Fall?

Both statements easily coexist because the statement of the bal tosef is just about sitting, not building.

  • +1 That is a very nice pshat! Of course the words ואנחנו יוצאים מן הבית לישב בסוכה become slightly complicated, but they are easily answerable. Thank you.
    – user6591
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:28
  • 1
    Ed Rosenberg, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for posting this interesting and compelling interpretation! I look forward to seeing you around. I hope you'll look around and find other content of interest, perhaps starting with our other tur questions.
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:29
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    Interesting. It nicely fits the words of the Tur as quoted in the question, except "ודרך כל אדם לצאת מסוכתו ולישב בביתו ואנחנו יוצאים מן הבית לישב בסוכה"... but even that can easily be interpreted to mean "people stop using their gazebos and start staying home whereas we start using our gazebos" (rather than "people don't use their gazebos and stay home whereas we use our gazebos"), which would fit your explanation.
    – msh210
    Oct 8, 2015 at 18:36
  • I kept meaning to come back and accept this answer. I especially appreciated it when confounding the focus put on the BUILDING of the succah on Motzai Yom Kippur. This idea of yours sheds light on that as well.
    – user6591
    Nov 1, 2015 at 20:22
  • TY - - I kind of love this site - awesome Nov 2, 2015 at 20:46

I saw a very nice explanation of the Tur here. While the author is coming to answer a slightly different question there, the answers there, especially the second answer, would answer your question as well.

There are two possible approaches to the Tur. One is that although the weather is pleasant, the rainy season is close and it does rain sometimes. Hashem could have worked it out the weather was even better, that Succos would have been celebated during the best time to go out to the succah. And, since sometimes it does rain and a person would not go out into the booth when it rains, therefore it shows that it is for the sake of the mitzvah. Even if the weather is pleasant at this time of year, it would still be less apparent in the spring that we are building succahs for the sake of the mitzvah.

The other possibility is that we have to take a new approach to what the Tur meant. It could be that the Tur’s focus is not that the rainy weather already has begun at the time of Succos. But rather that the rainy season is imminent. In the spring, when it is beginning to get hot, it is normal for a person to go outside and build a booth, which he will then use as his summer home, his summer bungalow, for the hot spring and summer. However, a person would not leave his home and build a bungalow in order to use it for a week or two and then run back into the house when the rain begins. That is what is strange about going out into succot now. It is not that the weather is presently unpleasant, but rather it is very close to the beginning of the rainy season. Therefore, it is clear that a person is going out for the sake of a mitzvah and not due to personal conveniences based on the weather conditions.

  • +1 Thank you. That second answer seems to be the same as the one suggested by @Ed above.
    – user6591
    Sep 21, 2020 at 15:49

The actual words of the Tur/Rosh which you quoted seem to answer themselves.

Here is how I see the plain meaning:

The Tur/Rosh says that the general concept of scheduling the Sukkos holiday for 7 days was to be in the "rainy season". This would show that the holiday is Divinely mandated because normal people wouldn't schedule a week's vacation camping in booths during a rainy season as opposed to springtime.

However, if during those seven days, there are days where it did not rain,(because rain days exempt one from the Sukkah anyway) then it is perfectly normal for a man to sit in a booth in the fall season for enjoyment. The fact that such unscheduled sitting in booths occurs during the fall, is enough to remove the stigma associated with bal tosef. (However, all agree that no one sits in a booth at all in the winter.)

  • So you are saying the words ודרך כל אדם לצאת מסוכתו ולישב בביתו. Are not to be taken literally?
    – user6591
    Oct 8, 2015 at 2:40
  • @user6591 No. Just that it is the "way of people" to generally schedule leaving the booths due to expected rain, but not due to expected cold. So if it doesn't rain (against expectations) people will venture back to the booth because it is still somewhat warm outside. Oct 8, 2015 at 2:42
  • But again, that makes the word כל not literal. And why are you mixing cold into the equation?
    – user6591
    Oct 8, 2015 at 2:48
  • @user6591 you can still use "all people" literally if you like. Notice that the key words used in 625 are שהוא זמן הגשמים. "..because it is the time of rain..." This automatically begs the question: What if it doesn't rain? 668 therefore says that people do sit in booths in the fall (I add, because it is still not too cold, obviously.). Oct 8, 2015 at 3:52
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    @user6591 625 deals with schedule in advance. (All people leave the booths for the rainy season.). 668 deals with what usually happens after the fact. ("..it is common for people to sit in shady booths anyway this time of year..") Oct 8, 2015 at 3:56

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