ממה צריך להיות הסכך. ובו יט סעיפים
דבר שמסככין בו צריך שיהיה צומח מן הארץ ותלוש ואינו מקבל טומאה אבל דבר שאינו צומח מן הארץ אע"פ שגידולו מן הארץ ואינו מקבל טומאה כגון עורות של בהמה שלא נעבדו שאינם מקבלי' טומאה או מיני מתכת אין מסככין בהם (וכן אין מסככין בעפר) (ר"ן): What materials can be s'chach, 19 Seifim: 1. Schach must grow from the ground, be detached [from the ground], and not be susceptible to ritual impurity. However, if [a substance] does not grow from the ground, even if it grows on the ground and is not susceptible to ritual impurity, such as unprocessed animal hides that are not susceptible to ritual impurity, or metal items, it may not be used as schach. (We not use dirt as schach either) (R"an).
וכן דבר שמקבל טומאה כגון שפודין וארוכות המטה וכל הכלים אין מסככין בהם ואפי' אם נשברו שלא נשאר בהם שיעור קבלת טומאה: 2. Similarly, everything that is susceptible to ritual impurity, such as [metal] spits, bed frame posts, and all [other] tools, may not be used as schach, even if they broke so that no piece remains that is big enough to receive ritual purity.
סיככה בחיצים שאין להם בית קיבול כשרה ושיש בהם בית קיבול פסולה: 3. Arrows that do not have a socket can be used as schach. Those that have a socket are invalid.
סיככה בפשתן שלא נידק ולא ניפץ כשרה דעץ בעלמא הוא אבל אם נידק וניפוץ פסולה: 4. Flax that was not ground or crushed is valid, because it is just a tree. However, if it was ground or crush, it is invalid.
בחבלים של פשתן פסולה של גמי ושל סיב כשרה: 5. Ropes made of flax are invalid. If they were made of reed-grass or palm-tree bast they are valid.
במחצלת של קנים וקש ושיפה וגמי בין שהיא חלקה שהיא ראויה לשכיבה בין שאינה חלקה שאינה ראויה לשכיבה אם היא קטנה סתמא עומדת לשכיבה ומקבלת טומאה ואין מסככין בה אלא אם כן עשאה לסיכוך: הגה דהיינו שרוב בני אותה העיר עושין אותה לסיכוך (הרא"ש פ"ק דסוכה) ואם היא גדולה סתמא עומדת לסיכוך ומסככין בה אלא א"כ עשאה לשכיבה (דהיינו שמנהג המקום לשכב עליה) והני מילי שאין לה שפה אבל אם יש לה שפה בענין שראויה לקבל אפי' אם ניטל שפתה אין מסככין בה: הגה במקום שנהגו לקבוע מחצלאות בגגין כעין תקרה אין מסככין בהם (כל בו): 6. Regarding a mat made of reeds, straw, papyrus, or bulrushes, whether or not the mat is smooth and thus fit to lie on or not smooth and not fit to lie on, if it is small, it is presumably intended to be lied on and is thus susceptible to ritual impurity and may not be used as schach, unless it was made to be schach. RAMA: That is, the majority of the city residents make them for schach (Ros"h chapter 1 of Sukkah). If it is large, it is presumably intended to be schach and may be used for schach, unless it was made for lying on (meaning that the local practice is to lay on it). This is so if it does not have a rim. But if it has a rim and could thus serve as a receptacle, even if the rim is removed it may not be used as schach. RAMA: In a place where it is customary to affix a mat to a roof like a kind of ceiling, it may not be used for schach (Kol Bo).
יש להסתפק אם מותר להניח סולם על הגג כדי לסכך על גביו: הגה ולכן אין לסכך עליו ואפי' להניחו על הסכך להחזיקו אסור וה"ה בכל כלי המקבל טומאה כגון ספסל וכסא שמקבלין טומאת מדרס (מהרי"ל): 7. It is questionable whether it is permitted to lay a ladder on the roof so that the schach can be placed upon it. RAMA: Therefore, we do not put schach on it. Even laying it on the schach in order to hold it in place is forbidden. This is the law for any object that is susceptible to ritual impurity, such as a bench and a chair that receive midras uncleanness (Maharil).
לחבר כלונסאות הסוכה במסמרות של ברזל או לקשרם בבלאות (פי' חתיכות של בגדים בלוים) שהם מקבלים טומאה אין קפידא: 8. Attaching the beams of the sukkah with iron nails or tying them with cloths (meaning pieces of worn clothing) that are susceptible to ritual impurity is not a problem.
כל מיני אוכלים מקבלים טומאה ואין מסככין בהם: 9. All foods are susceptible to ritual impurity and may not be used as schach.
ענפי תאנה ובהם תאנים וזמורות ובהם ענבים אם פסולת מרובה על האוכל מסככין בהם ואם לאו אין מסככין בהם ואם קצרם לאוכל יש לידים תורת אוכל לקבל טומאה וצריך שיהא פסולת כדי לבטל האוכל והיד ואם קצרם לסיכוך אז אין לידים תורת אוכל ואדרבה הם מצטרפים עם הפסולת לבטל האוכל ואם קצרם לאכול ונמלך עליהם לסיכוך אין המחשבה מוציא' הידות מתורת אוכל עד שיעשה בהם מעשה שניכר שרוצה אותם לסיכוך כגון שידוש אותם: 10. Concerning fig branches that have figs on them and vines that have grapes on them, if the non-food is more than the food, they may be used as schach. Otherwise, they may not be used as schach. If they were harvested for food, the handles are considered food with respect to receiving impurity and the non-food needs to be enough to nullify both the food and the handles. If they were harvested for schach, the handles are not considered food and, on the contrary, they can be combined with the waste to nullify the food. If they were harvested for food and then one decided to use them as schach, this thought does not remove the handles from being considered food until an action is done with them to show that they are intended to be used for schach, like threshing them.
מסככין בפי נונו הנקרא בערבי שומר. והוא מאכל בהמה ואין בני אדם אוכלין אותו אלא לרפואה: (רבינו ירוחם נ"ח ח"ב וכל בו): 11. One may use befinogo, which is called "shomer" in Arabic, for s'chach. It is animal food that a person only consumes as medicine (Rabbeinu Yerucham 8:2, Kol Bo).
סיכך בירקות שממהרין לייבש אף על פי שפסולים לסכך מפני שמקבלים טומאה אין דינם כסכך פסול לפסול בד' טפחים אלא כאויר חשיבי לפסול בשלשה ואם אין דרכם ליבש דינם כסכך פסול ופוסלים בארבעה טפחים: הגה וכל מה שדרכו לייבש תוך שבעה מיד דיינינן ליה כאלו הוא יבש (ר"ן פ'ק דסוכה) והוי אויר ופוסל בג' אפי' מן הצד: (הגהות מיימוני פ"ד דסוכה): 12. If one used vegetables that dry out quickly as schach, even though they are invalid schach because they are susceptible to ritual impurity, they are not like invalid schach, which invalidates in four tefachim. Rather, they are like the open air, which disqualifies in three tefachim. If they do not dry out, they are treated the same as invalid schach and invalidate in four tefachim. RAMA: Anything which customarily dries within seven days is considered dry from the outset (R"an chapter 1 of Sukkah) and is treated like air and invalidates in three tefachim, even at the edge [of the sukkah] (Hagahot Maimoni chapter 4 of Sukkah).
כל דבר המחובר אין מסככין בו ודינו כדין האילן: 13. One may not use a substance that is [still] connected to the ground as schach and it is treated the same as a tree.
יש דברים שאסרו חכמים לסכך בהם לכתחל' והם מיני עשבים שאינם ראויים לאכילה ואינם מקבלים טומאה וריחם רע או שנושרים עליהן דחיישינן שמא מתוך שריחן רע או שעליהן נושרים יצא מן הסוכה: 14. There are things that our Sages forbade to be used as schach initially: certain types of grass that are not fit to be eaten and are not susceptible to ritual impurity that have a bad smell or whose leaves fall from them. We are worried that a person may leave the sukkah because of the unpleasant smell or because of the falling leaves.
וכן אסור לסכך בחבילה מפני שפעמים שאדם מניח חבילתו על גג הסוכה ליבשה ואחר כך נמלך עליה לשם סוכה ואותה סוכה פסולה משום תעשה ולא מן העשוי בפיסול וגזרו על כל חבילה אטו זאת וכיון שמפני זה אסרוהו לא הוצרכו לאסור אלא בחבילה שדרך ליבשה ואין זה בפחות מכ"ה קנים הלכך כל חבילה שהיא פחותה מכ"ה קנים מותר לסכך בה ואם כ"ה קנים או יותר הבאים מגזע אחד וקשרם בראשם השני אינה נקראת חבילה כיון שעיקרן אחד ואם אגד עמהם קנה אחר ויש בין שניהם כ"ה הויא חבילה: הגה וכל חבילה שאינה קשורה משני ראשיה שיכולין לטלטלה כך אינה חבילה ומותר לסכך בה (ב"י בשם הפוסקים): 15. Similarly, one may not use bundles as schach because sometimes a person may put his bundles on the roof of the sukkah to dry them and afterward decide to use them for the sukkah. This sukkah is invalid due to the principle of "'Make' not from that which was already made" invalidly. A decree was made regarding every bundle due to this situation. Because this prohibition was enacted only due to this reason, it was only necessary to prohibit the use of bundles that are commonly left to dry out: those that have no fewer than 25 sticks in them. Bundles of fewer than 25 sticks may be used as schach. If the 25 or more sticks come out of one stem, but they are separate at the other end and bound together there, this is not considered a bundle because they have the same root. If an additional stick was tied to them and together they are 25 sticks, it is a bundle. RAMA: Any bundle that is not tied on both ends such that it can be carried is not a bundle and can be used as schach (Beis Yosef in the name of halakhic authorities).
חבילה שאין קושרים אותה אלא למכרה במנין ומיד כשיקננה הקונה יתירנה אינה חבילה: 16. If a bundle was tied for the purpose of selling it in a certain quantity, and a buyer unties them immediately upon purchasing it, it is not considered a bundle.
אם סיכך בחבילה והתירה כשירה כיון שאין איסורה אלא משום גזירה אבל החבילה שהעלה ליבש ונמלך עליה לסיכוך שפסולה מן התורה אינה ניתרת בהתרה אלא צריכה נענוע: 17. If one uses a bundle as schach and unties it, it is valid, because the prohibition was only due to a decree. If, however, one placed a bundle on the sukkah to dry, and then decided decided to use it for schach, it is invalid by Torah Law. It does not become permitted by untying it except if one moves it.
וכן אסרו לסכך בנסרים שרחבן ארבעה אפי' הפכן על צדן שאין בהם ארבעה ואם אין ברחבן ד' כשרים אפילו הם משופין שדומים לכלים ונהגו שלא לסכך בהם כלל: 18. Similarly, they prohibited using boards that are [at least] four tefachim wide as schach, even they are placed on their sides that are less than four tefachim wide. If their width is less than four tefachim they are valid, even if they are filed down to resemble tools. And our custom is not to use them as schach at all.
פירס עליה סדין מפני החמה או תחתיה מפני הנשר כלומר שלא יהיו עלין וקסמין נושרין על שלחנו פסולה אבל אם לא פירס אלא לנאותה כשרה והוא שיהא בתוך ד' לסכך וי"א שסוכה שהיא מסוככת כהלכתה וירא שמא ייבש הסכך או ישרו העלין ותהיה חמתה מרובה מצלתה ופרס עליה סדין שלא תתייבש או תחתיה שלא ישרו העלין כיון שהסדין גורם שעל ידו צלתה מרובה מחמתה פסולה אבל אם לא כיון בפריסת הסדין אלא להגין מפני החמה והעלין או לנאותו כשרה ובלבד שיהא בתוך ד' לסכך ומיהו לכתחלה לא יעשה אא"כ הוא ניכר לכל שמכוין כדי להגין או שהוא שרוי במים שאז ניכר לכל שאינו שוטחו שם אלא לייבש: 19. If one spread a sheet over [the schach] due to the sun or under it due to the falling leaves — that is, so that leaves and shavings don't end up on the table — it is invalid. However, if it was only spread for decoration, it is valid, as long as it is within four [tefachim] of the schach. There are those who say that if a sukkah is properly schached and there is fear that it will the schach will dry out or leaves will fall and the sunlit area will be more than the shaded area, they spread a sheet over it so that it fall not dry out or under it so that the leaves will not fall, because the sheet ensures that the shade will be greater than the sun, it is invalid. However, if in spreading the sheet, the only intention was to protect from the sun or the leaves or to decorate, it is valid, as long as it is within four [tefachim] of the schach. However, preferably this should not be done unless it is obvious that the intention is to protect or it is soaked in water such that it is obvious to everyone that it is spread out to dry.
One may not use a substance that is [still] connected to the ground as s’chach,1 because it does not resemble “the remnants of the threshing floor and the winepress,” which have been detached from the ground.[Moreover,] if one covered a sukkah with [branches] that were connected [to the ground] and then detached [them], [the s’chach] is invalid. [This is derived from] the verse, “Make the Sukkos festival....” [Implied is that] one must make [the sukkah], and not [use] something which was already made in an unacceptable manner. Since the sukkah was originally made in an unacceptable manner, it is not considered to have been made at all. It is as if nothing was done. The fact that one later made the sukkah valid by detaching the tree [from the ground] is not considered as performing an action, for nothing new was done to the s’chach; i.e., he did not undo [his previous action] at all. Therefore there is no way to correct [such a sukkah] unless one moves about all the invalid s’chach that was detached; i.e., one must lift it up slightly and then put it down again. For at the time it was lifted, the first act — [putting it in place] when it was invalid — was nullified. When he now puts it in place, he is doing something new to the sukkah itself.
There are certain substances that our Sages forbade using as s’chach as an initial preference. Among them are: [a] grasses with an unpleasant smell, [which are invalid] even though they are not edible and are not susceptible to ritual impurity; and also [b] certain kinds of brambles whose leaves fall at all times, even when there is no wind.[The rationale is that] we are apprehensive that a person may leave the sukkah because of the unpleasant smell or because of the falling leaves. Nevertheless, if one transgressed and used these materials as s’chach, [the sukkah] is valid and one may dwell in it as an initial and preferred option.
Bundles of straw or bundles of wood may not be used for s’chach while they are bound together. [The rationale is that] on any summer evening a person will sometimes come from the fields with his bundle on his shoulder and place it to dry on the sukkah that he uses throughout the summer for his herds. [Thus he will] not [have placed it there] for the purpose of shade. When Sukkos comes, he will change his mind [and desire to use it] for s’chach. [This is not acceptable,] for [with regard to the sukkah] the Torah states, “Make [the Sukkos festival...].” [Implied is that] one must make [the sukkah], and not [use] something that was already made in an unacceptable manner. Now, this bundle was not placed there for s’chach, [nor] even for shade, but to dry. Hence, it is not considered as s’chach and this sukkah will have been made in an unacceptable manner. The Sages therefore ordained that bundles should never be used as s’chach even when they were placed on the sukkah in order to fulfill the mitzvah of sukkah for the festival. This ordinance [is a safeguard to forestall the possibility of error] involving bundles [that may have been placed there] throughout the summer.
Since this prohibition was enacted only because of this ordinance, it was necessary to prohibit [the use of] only bundles [of the kind] which are commonly left to dry out, i.e., which have no fewer than 25 canes in them. Bundles of fewer than 25 canes may be used as s’chach.
[Moreover,] even if there are 25 or more canes coming out of one stem, but they are separate at the other end and bound together there, they may be used as s’chach, for since they [emerge from] the same stem, they do not resemble a bundle that is left to dry. If, however, a person tied one cane that did not emerge from the same stem together with them, it is considered as [such] a bundle if there are 25 canes together with the additional one, and it may not be used as s’chach.
2As to canes that are bound together in bundles to be sold in the marketplace by number, a purchaser unties them as soon as he buys them. One may [therefore] use them as s’chach. The ordinance forbidding the use of bundles bound throughout the summer months is not applied [in this context], because such a bundle is not ordinarily set aside while bound. [Even one who] purchases it to dry out [the wood] unties it immediately.
[The following law applies to] bundles of willow branches whose thick ends are tied together at one extremity and whose thin ends are tied together at the other. As soon as one unties the knot at the thick end, [the bundle] may be used as s’chach, because the knot at the [thin] end is not so strong that it will hold if the bundle is carried. And any bundle that is not fit to be carried while bound is not considered a bundle at all.
If [such] a bundle was tied only in the middle, it may not be used as s’chach, because it could be carried when bound in this way.
If one transgressed and used a bundle as s’chach, he may untie [it] and thus [render the s’chach] valid. Though the sukkah was originally made in an unacceptable manner, it should not be disqualified because of [the above requirement to] “make, rather than [use] what was already made in an unacceptable manner.” [This leniency is granted] because [bundles are] deemed invalid only by Rabbinic ordinance, as explained above. If, however, one placed a bundle [on the sukkah] to dry, and when Sukkos arrived he changed his mind and decided to use it for s’chach, it is invalid by Scriptural Law, for it was not put there for shade. Hence, untying it is not sufficient to render it valid. [The rationale is that] it was not disqualified merely because it was tied together; rather, the fact that it was not laid in place for shade caused it to be disqualified by Scriptural Law. Something new must therefore be done to [the way] it was laid down. It must be lifted up slightly and then put back in place with the intent that it provide shade. The bundle must also be untied, for a bundle may not be used as s’chach because of the [safeguard] that was ordained [to forestall the possibility of error] involving a bundle [that may have been placed there] throughout the summer, as was explained above.
Boards that are [at least] four handbreadths wide may not be used as s’chach, because the ceilings of most homes are made of [such boards]. Thus, [were they to be used,] there would be cause for concern that someone might sit under the ceiling of his home and say, “What difference is there between covering my sukkah with such boards — and sitting under the ceiling of my home? It, too, is made of boards!” And the ceiling of a home is invalid [as s’chach] according to Scriptural Law, for the reason explained in sec. 626.64
Even if one did not place the width of the boards on the sukkah, but turned them and laid them on their sides, which were less than four handbreadths wide, they are, nevertheless, invalid. Once they have been deemed invalid, they are like metal spits that are invalid as s’chach, regardless of which way they are turned.
However, boards that are less than four handbreadths wide may be used as s’chach even if they have been planed and resemble utensils, despite the fact that they are wide enough to be fit for use as seats [and] are also fit to have fruit and loaves placed on them. Nevertheless, they are not susceptible to ritual impurity, for they were not set aside to be sat upon nor to be used for any other purpose, but are intended for construction or for destroying a building.
Today, when homes are roofed by boards that are less than three handbreadths wide, a sukkah should be disqualified even if boards less than three handbreadths wide are used as s’chach, because of the [safeguard] that was ordained lest one sit under the ceiling of his home that is made of such boards. However, one may use very narrow boards, such as lattices and shingles, for it is not common to make the ceiling of a home out of such narrow boards. Nevertheless, one must be careful to make the s’chach temporary and light so that rain can penetrate [the sukkah], as stated in sec. 631[:5]. It has therefore become customary not to use [boards] for s’chach at all, lest someone err and [build] a permanent [roof] that rain could not penetrate.
In a pressing situation, where people lack materials to use as s’chach, one may use boards as s’chach, even if they are [more than] four handbreadths wide, if there is no other alternative. This principle applies to all materials prohibited [as s’chach] because of a Rabbinic ordinance.