The Talmud rejects this support for R. Hisda. The baraita might refer to decorations placed on the side of the sukkah, and not placed right under the skhakh. This means that there is no tannaitic support for R. Hisda who holds that anything can be put under the skhakh as long as it is only there for decoration. Note that it doesn’t mean that R. Hisda has been proven wrong.
Today’s section continues to deal with the decorations of a sukkah.
If one hangs decorations from the sukkah it doesn’t diminish the height of the sukkah. Thus if the sukkah was 10 handbreadths high, the minimum height, but then he hung some decorations that brought the height lower than 10 handbreadths, the sukkah is still kosher.
R. Ashi limits this rule to decorations hung from the middle of the sukkah. But if one puts decorations at the side of the sukkah and thereby reduces the dimensions of the sukkah from the minimal 7 handbreadths, the sukkah is invalid. The difference between the top and the side is that these decorations are not valid as skhakh, so we can’t consider them too-low skhakh. But these decorations can count as walls, so they would reduce the minimum size of the walls.
In this story Minyamin has his shirt soaked in water and wants to spread it on top of the sukkah to dry it out. A shirt is susceptible to impurity. To prevent the impression that one could use such material as skhakh, R. Ashi, a prominent amora, tells him to take it down.
Minyamin (or the Talmud on his behalf) responds that people will see that it’s wet and they’ll know that he wasn’t using it as skhakh. So why should he have to take it down?
R. Ashi answers that he doesn’t have to take it down right now. He only has to take it down once it dries. If he leaves it up there people will think that he is using things that are susceptible to impurity for his skhakh.
This debate is about a decorated sheet that was put underneath the skhakh to serve as decoration, but it was four handbreadths away from the skhakh. According to R. Nahman, the sukkah is valid because we will know that it was put there for decoration and not to serve as skhakh.
R. Hisdah and Rabbah son of R. Huna say that they are invalid because they form a barrier with the real skhakh.
This story is told about the very two rabbis who rule that a sukkah whose decorations were separated from the skhakh by four handbreadths is invalid. When they get to the exilarch’s house (the political leader of the Babylonian community) he has them sleep in such a sukkah. They sleep there for the night and don’t say anything to him about it.
This leads the exilarch to think that they have changed their mind about the validity of the sukkah.
They respond to him that they are exempt from the mitzvah of sukkah because they are on their way to perform a mitzvah. Later in the tractate we will learn that if people are on the way to perform a mitzvah, they are exempt from the mitzvah of sukkah.
Today’s section discusses a person who sleeps in a sukkah but in a bed with some sort of netting on top. The question is: does this netting form a barrier between him and the skhakh such that he hasn’t fulfilled his obligation.
Rav Judah allows one to sleep in a bed with a canopy that has a flat roof. We might have thought that this flat roof would count as invalid skhakh and would therefore invalidate the sukkah. The one caveat is that the canopy must be less than ten handbreadths from the bed. If it is more than ten handbreadths then it would form a barrier to the skhakh and one who sleeps there would not have fulfilled his obligation.
The Talmud now cites a baraita that directly contradicts Rav Judah. This baraita clearly states that if one sleeps in a sukkah with a canopied bed he has not fulfilled his obligation.
The Talmud resolves that this baraita was disqualifying a case where the canopy was more than ten handbreadths from the bed.
The Talmud has a new objection, again from a tannaitic source, this time a mishnah. The mishnah rules that one who sleeps under a bed inside the sukkah has not fulfilled his obligation. The same should be so for one who sleeps under the canopy in a sukkah—the canopy blocks the skhakh and he has not fulfilled his obligation.
The resolution to this difficulty is brought from a different statement of Shmuel. The person sleeping under the bed has not fulfilled his obligation only if the bed is more than ten handbreadths high. Such a bed forms a barrier to the valid skhakh. But if the bed is less than ten handbreadths high, one can sleep under it. The same is true with the canopied bed.
A third difficulty is raised. If one spreads a canopy over a four-post bed, the sukkah is invalidated.
The same resolution is brought yet again. The mishnah rules that this is invalid only if it is higher than ten handbreadths. In all cases, if the barrier is lower than ten handbreadths one can sleep there.
The Talmud now rejects the previous resolution. There are two types of canopied beds—one’s with two posts, one at each end, and one’s with four posts, one on each corner. If one spreads a canopy over a two-posted bed, the sukkah remains valid because this doesn’t form a roof. But this is true only if the naklitin are less than ten handbreadths high. If they are higher, the sukkah is in any case invalid. The baraita also states that one cannot sleep under a four-post canopy. There is no caveat about 10 handbreadths. The implication is that one can never sleep in a four-posted canopied bed, even if it is less than ten handbreadths high. This contradicts R. Judah.
Kinofot are permanently fixed into the bed. Therefore, even if they are lower than ten handbreadths, one cannot sleep under them in a sukkah.
However, if the canopy is not fixed into the bed, one can sleep under it, as long as it is not ten handbreadths high. In other words, only permanent structures are always invalid.
This is a case we had above on daf tet. If one sukkah is above another sukkah the bottom one is invalid, but only if the top sukkah is ten handbreadths high, according to Shmuel. This proves that Shmuel says that even for a permanent structure (at least as permanent as a sukkah might be) the bottom one is valid if the top one is not ten handbreadths high.
The Talmud now resolves the difficulty. In the case of the sukkah on top of the sukkah, we had one sukkah invalidating another sukkah. So for that to happen, the top one had to be ten handbreadths high. But in the case of the four post canopy bed, the canopy doesn’t make a sukkah because it is invalid as skhakh. The canopy just forms a tent that would act as a barrier. So even if it is less than ten handbreadths high, the sukkah is invalidated.
Today’s section is a side discussion connected to someone who is sleeping in a canopied bed.
One is not allowed to read the Shema while naked. So if one is sleeping naked in a canopied bed he can stick his head out of the canopy and read the Shema. The canopy counts as his clothing.
The Talmud raises a difficulty from a baraita that states the exact opposite. One is not allowed to simply put his head out of the canopy and say the Shema.
Similar to yesterday’s section, here too the Talmud resolves the difficulty by stating that the baraita refers to a case where the canopy is ten handbreadths high. Such a canopy counts as a structure and not as something similar to clothing. This is also proven by the comparison the end of the baraita makes to a house. One couldn’t count the house as his clothes. So too if the canopy is large enough, it doesn’t count as clothes.