Honoring the Sukkah

May I bring the pot of soup into the sukkah?

By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin, Rov of Anash in Petach Tikvah.

The pasuk says that one must dwell in the sukkah for seven days. Chazal interpret this to mean that one must dwell in the sukkah in the manner one resides in his home—i.e. dining room—throughout the year (teishvu k’ein taduru). One should therefore bring into the sukkah nice vessels from the home. However, kitchen utensils used for food preparation and pantry storage should not be in the sukkah.

The Gemara teaches that “food utensils should be kept outside of the sukkah,” and two explanations are offered in the rishonim:

1) Dirty plates after eating should be promptly removed from the sukkah. Leaving them there is disgraceful to the sukkah and the mitzva of dwelling in it.

2) Based on the principle of teishvu k’ein taduru, baking pots or pans don’t belong in the “living” area, as they are generally kept in a separate area.

Bringing a pot filled with food would be allowed according to opinion concerned about disgrace, but would be precluded according to the opinion emphasizing “living space.” Whereas the obligation to remove dirty plates after eating applies only because of disgrace.

The Magen Avraham rules that one may bring in full pots, but one may not leave dirty plates, and it seems that the Alter Rebbe holds likewise. Yet, the Alter Rebbe does elaborate on teishvu k’ein taduru and accepts some of its elements in practice. Thus, one should avoid when possible bringing pots into the sukkah, especially for one who doesn’t normally bring pots to the table.

One may have a sink in the sukkah as long as the dirty water drains directly out of the sukkah. However, washing dirty dishes is considered disgraceful to the sukka; rinsing cups, however, isn’t disgraceful and is permitted.8 Likewise, a diaper should not be changed in the sukkah.

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