When there's no place for everyone in the Succah, who takes the precedence:

  1. one's sons (underage and grown-ups)
  2. one's parents/grandparents
  3. women (wife, grown-up daughters)
  4. the guests (male/female)?

Please specify about sitting the first night, following days, and sleeping in the succah.

This looks simple, but, in fact, it is a very complicated question as it compares seemingly unrelated Mitzvot - Succah, Chinuch, Honoring Parents and Hospitality. Each one of them is well known, but when they come together ... I couldn't figure out how do I even start to weight them.

  1. The homeowner is out of the question and even compared to his father, he takes precedence (B"M).

  2. What rights do his wife and the grown-up kids and the guests have on his Succah? Is he lending it - is it a property? Can the homeowner expel the kids just because it is his property, and then let in whoever he wants?

  3. תשבו כעין תדורו - does the precedence of his own house apply - like he his father would take precedence around his Shabbos table over his sons I suppose. But in this case, his wife would be the first, for she does have some obligation so she can even say the blessing.

  4. If one invites a [male] guest, does it automatically imply that he shares his Succah?

Let's limit it to the Litvakes communities.

  • 3
    Why invite guests if you don't have room?
    – Double AA
    Sep 2, 2018 at 20:05
  • 2
    @DoubleAA Shuccos happens, somebody's gotta leave.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 2, 2018 at 20:08
  • Don’t forget that the women aren’t actually obligated in Sukkah, so they would take last precedence when compared to the men who actually are obligated. The children have a mitzvah of chinuch, which means they at least have a mitzvah d’Rabbanan, which is more than the women have.
    – DonielF
    Sep 3, 2018 at 15:47
  • @DonielF To tell the truth, the question was inspired by a story about R' Diskin of Kohl Torah's Yeshivah here in Jerusalem, whose wife refused to leave Succah when guests arrived claiming that after all Rabeynu Tam, by allowing to sey the blessing agreed that there's ome sort of obligation still.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 3, 2018 at 17:39
  • @AlBerko What was the psak? To me that sounds like a terrible reading of that Rabbeinu Tam on her part.
    – DonielF
    Sep 3, 2018 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 640:1-2:

נשים ועבדים וקטנים פטורים מן הסוכה...‏

קטן שאינו צריך לאמו שהוא כבן חמש כבן שש חייב בסוכה מדברי סופרים כדי לחנכו במצות:‏

Women, slaves and minors are exempt from the sukkah...

A minor who does not need his mother, i.e. around age five or six, is obligated in the sukkah rabbinically, in order to educate him in mitzvot.

So the order of precedence would be:

  1. All adult males (over 13) - obligated biblically
  2. All male children older than five / six - obligated rabinically
  3. Everyone else (females, male children younger than five/six) - exempt

The obligation to eat and sleep in the sukkah would seem to be equivalent (see Shulchan Aruch 639:1-2).

If they all have the same level of obligation, they all need to eat in the sukkah. If they can't all fit, I guess they need to eat in shifts...

  • +1 but the interesting part is between father, grandfather, sons > 13, guests, etc. I have been wondering since reading the question ...
    – mbloch
    Sep 3, 2018 at 12:59
  • @mbloch Is there any reason to think that there should be a distinction between these people? If they all have the same level of obligation, they all need to eat in the sukkah. If they can't all fit, I guess they need to eat in shifts...
    – Joel K
    Sep 3, 2018 at 13:00
  • Agree. So who goes first? Is there a specific order? I would guess father first, then maybe grandfather, then maybe guests (because of the mitzvot of kibud va'em and hakhnassat orkhim)
    – mbloch
    Sep 3, 2018 at 13:10
  • I'm not convinced this answer is right. The grandmother for instance might become before her grandchildren because of תשבו כעין תדורו. If I had a choice between my grandmother eating with my grandfather in the house and me eating outside, or me eating with my grandfather in the house and my grandmother outside, I would 1000% pick the former.
    – Heshy
    Sep 3, 2018 at 14:30
  • @Heshy I understand the logic of what you’re proposing, but it would be a huge chiddush. I would be very surprised if you can find a source that paskens that way.
    – Joel K
    Sep 3, 2018 at 14:47

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