Not Too Tall, Not Too Small - Guided Learning - Part 2

Neot Kedumim is a Biblical landscape preserve in Israel. They have planted trees mentioned in the Bible and they have built examples of the sukkot mentioned in the Mishnah. Below is the photo of the too tall sukkot at Neot Kedumim. Does it look similar to what you drew?

Photo from the Sukkot Exhibit, curtesy of Neot Kedumim Park

How do you think it would feel to sit in the very tall sukkah?

Why do you think a 30 foot sukkah is too tall?

Ovadia Bartenura was an Italian rabbi who lived in the 1400’s. Later in life, he moved to Jerusalem. His commentary is indispensable to those learning the Mishnah. Click on the text of the mishnah to open the resource panel. Select “commentary” and open “Bartenura. Bartenura’s first comment gives a reason why too tall isn’t good for a sukkah. What is it?

(א) סֻכָּה שֶׁהִיא גְבוֹהָה לְמַעְלָה מֵעֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה, פְּסוּלָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה מַכְשִׁיר. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ גְּבוֹהָה עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים... פְּסוּלָה.

(1) A sukka that is more than twenty cubits high is unfit. Rabbi Yehuda deems it fit. Similarly, a sukka that is not even ten handbreadths high... [is] unfit.

Looking at your drawing of a too tall sukkah and the photo from Neot Kedumim, can you think of any other reasons why a very tall sukkah isn’t a good idea?

Now let’s think about the too short sukkah. Look at the photo from Neot Kedumim.

Photo from the Sukkot Exhibit, curtesy of Neot Kedumim Park

How do you think it would feel to sit in the very short sukkah?

Bartenura’s third comment gives a reason why a sukkah can’t be too short. What is his reason?

Looking at your drawing and the photo of the very small sukkah, can you think of any other reasons why a very short sukkot isn't allowed?

What do you think is the perfect height for a sukkah? Why?