Sukkah No.2: Equal Protection
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: כׇּל אֹהֶל שֶׁאֵינוֹ עָשׂוּי בִּידֵי אָדָם — אֵינוֹ אֹהֶל. מַאי טַעְמָא דְּרַבִּי יְהוּדָה?
Rabbi Yehuda says: The legal status of any tent that is not established by a person is not that of a tent and does not transmit impurity. The Gemara asks: What is the rationale for the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda? From where did he derive that halakha?

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מַתְנִי׳ תִּקְרָה שֶׁאֵין עָלֶיהָ מַעֲזִיבָה, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: בֵּית שַׁמַּאי אוֹמְרִים: מְפַקְפֵּק, וְנוֹטֵל אַחַת מִבֵּינְתַיִם. וּבֵית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים: מְפַקְפֵּק, אוֹ נוֹטֵל אַחַת מִבֵּינְתַיִם. רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר: נוֹטֵל אַחַת מִבֵּינְתַיִם, וְאֵינוֹ מְפַקְפֵּק.
MISHNA: In the case of a roof made of boards that are four handbreadths wide upon which there is no coat of plaster, Rabbi Yehuda says that Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagree with regard to the manner in which to render it fit. Beit Shammai say: One moves each board, and then it is considered as though he placed the board there for the sake of the mitzva of sukka, and one then removes one board from among the boards and replaces it with fit roofing. Beit Hillel say: One need not perform both actions; rather, one must either move the boards or remove one from among them. Rabbi Meir says: One only removes one from among them and does not move the others.
יָלֵיף ״אֹהֶל״ ״אֹהֶל״ מִמִּשְׁכָּן. כְּתִיב הָכָא: ״זֹאת הַתּוֹרָה אָדָם כִּי יָמוּת בְּאֹהֶל״, וּכְתִיב הָתָם: ״וַיִּפְרֹשׂ אֶת הָאֹהֶל עַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן״, מָה לְהַלָּן בִּידֵי אָדָם, אַף כָּאן בִּידֵי אָדָם. וְרַבָּנַן: ״אֹהֶל״ ״אֹהֶל״ רִיבָּה.
He derives by means of a verbal analogy that only a man-made tent transmits impurity, deriving the tent written with regard to impurity imparted by a corpse from the tent written with regard to the Tabernacle. It is written here with regard to impurity imparted by a corpse: “This is the teaching when a man dies in a tent” (Numbers 19:14). And it is written there with regard to the Tabernacle: “And he spread the tent over the Tabernacle” (Exodus 40:19). Just as there, with regard to the Tabernacle, the tent was established by a person, so too here, with regard to impurity of a corpse, it is a tent established by a person. And according to the Rabbis, because the passage dealing with impurity imparted by a corpse, i.e., tent tent, is repeated several times, this amplifies and includes any structure that provides shelter, even if it is not a standard tent.
וְתַנְיָא, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: לֹא הָיוּ מְבִיאִין דְּלָתוֹת, אֶלָּא שְׁווֹרִים. וְהָא שְׁווֹרִים, דְּאֹהֶל שֶׁאֵינוֹ עָשׂוּי בִּידֵי אָדָם הוּא, וְקָתָנֵי, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: לֹא הָיוּ מְבִיאִין דְּלָתוֹת אֶלָּא שְׁווֹרִים!
And it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: They would not bring doors; rather they would bring only oxen. The size of the spinal column and the body of the animal was sufficient to constitute a tent and therefore served as a barrier before the impurity imparted by a grave in the depths. And this is difficult, as aren’t oxen a tent that is not established by a person; and it is taught that Rabbi Yehuda says: They did not bring doors; rather they brought only oxen. Apparently, the legal status of a tent that is not man-made is that of a tent.

Detroit Jews for Justice

We envision a region that is more equitable and joyous for all, with an emphasis on supporting the rights and leadership of people of color, low-income workers, the unemployed, women, LGBTQI, immigrants, and others struggling against systemic oppression. We draw strength from Jewish tradition, thought and culture to sustain our work. Detroit Jews for Justice was founded by Congregation T’chiyah to live out their mission of making social change central to the life of their congregation and committed to being a social justice organization owned by the entire Jewish community of Metro Detroit.

וְאִי בָּעֵית אֵימָא: רַבִּי יְהוּדָה לְטַעְמֵיהּ, דְּאָמַר: סוּכָּה דִּירַת קֶבַע בָּעֵינַן. וְהָוֵה לֵיהּ מִטָּה דִּירַת עֲרַאי, וְסוּכָּה אֹהֶל קֶבַע — וְלָא אָתֵי אֹהֶל עֲרַאי וּמְבַטֵּל אֹהֶל קֶבַע.
And if you wish, say instead: In this case Rabbi Yehuda conforms to his reasoning, as he stated elsewhere: We require a sukka that is a permanent residence. The bed in a sukka is a temporary residence, and the sukka is a permanent tent; and a temporary tent does not come and negate a permanent tent. The permanent sukka is significant and that significance supersedes any temporary structure within it. Therefore, in Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion, the status of the bed is not that of a tent.

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מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא שֶׁהָיוּ בָּאִין בִּסְפִינָה, עָמַד רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְעָשָׂה סוּכָּה בְּרֹאשׁ הַסְּפִינָה. לְמָחָר נָשְׁבָה רוּחַ וַעֲקָרַתָּה. אָמַר לוֹ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל: עֲקִיבָא! הֵיכָן סוּכָּתְךָ?
There was an incident involving Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Akiva, who were coming on a ship. Rabbi Akiva arose and established a sukka at the top of the ship. The next day the wind blew and uprooted it. Rabban Gamliel said to him: Akiva, where is your sukka? It was unfit from the start.

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נהרדעי אמרי אפילו משום דינא דבר מצרא מסלקינן ליה משום שנאמר (דברים ו, יח) ועשית הישר והטוב בעיני ה'
The Sages of Neharde’a say: Even if his claim was due to the halakha of one whose field borders the field of his neighbor, we still remove him, as it is stated: “And you shall do that which is right and good in the eyes of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:18). One should not perform an action that is not right and good, even if he is legally entitled to do so.
רָבָא לְטַעְמֵיהּ, דְּאָמַר רָבָא: מִצְטַעֵר — פָּטוּר מִן הַסּוּכָּה. וְהָא אֲנַן תְּנַן: חוֹלִין וּמְשַׁמְּשֵׁיהֶם פְּטוּרִים מִן הַסּוּכָּה. חוֹלֶה אִין, מִצְטַעַר לָא! אָמְרִי: חוֹלֶה — הוּא וּמְשַׁמְּשָׁיו פְּטוּרִים, מִצְטַעֵר — הוּא פָּטוּר, מְשַׁמְּשָׁיו לָא.
The Gemara comments: Rava conforms to his line of reasoning, as Rava said: One who suffers in the sukka is exempt from the mitzva of sukka. The Gemara asks: But didn’t we learn in the mishna that the ill and their caretakers are exempt from the mitzva of sukka? By inference, with regard to an ill person, yes, he is exempt; with regard to one who suffers, no, he is not exempt. The Sages say: With regard to an ill person, he and his caretakers are exempt; however, with regard to one who merely suffers in the sukka, he is exempt but his caretakers are not.
וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים: אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמְרוּ אֵין אָדָם יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בְּיוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּלוּלָבוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵירוֹ, אֲבָל יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בְּסוּכָּתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵירוֹ, דִּכְתִיב: ״כׇּל הָאֶזְרָח בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשְׁבוּ בַּסּוּכּוֹת״, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁכׇּל יִשְׂרָאֵל רְאוּיִם לֵישֵׁב בְּסוּכָּה אַחַת.
And the Rabbis say: Although they said that a person does not fulfill his obligation on the first day of the Festival with the lulav of another, he fulfills his obligation with the sukka of another, as it is written: “All the homeborn in Israel shall reside in sukkot (Leviticus 23:42). This teaches that all of the Jewish people are fit to reside in one sukka. If the value of one sukka were divided among all the Jewish people, no individual would have a peruta stake in it; therefore, no individual could be considered even a part-owner of the sukka. The only way the entire Jewish people could fulfill the mitzva in one sukka is by residing in a communal sukka that does not belong to any of them. Apparently, there is no obligation to reside specifically in one’s own sukka.