Sukkos

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How do our children get trained in the mitzvah of Sukkos?  Find out here…

Chinuch Halachos for Sukkos

SukkahA. DWELLING IN THE SUKKAH

1. The mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah is from Vayikra 23:43 “In order that all your generations may know that I made the Children of Israel dwell in sukkos when I took them out of the land of Eqypt.” The sukkos in this verse allude to the Clouds of Glory that surrounded and protected the JEwish people from the elements throughout their 40 yrs of wandering in the desert. [2]

2. Dwelling in the sukkah is accomplished by eating, drinking, sleeping and spending one’s leisure time in the sukkah. Some poskim rule that under certain conditions one is permitted to sleep in the house. [2]

3. Under the letter of the law, one is only required to eat meals that include bread or other grain products (made from the 5 species – wheat, oat, barley, spelt and rye) in the sukkah. Minor snacks (even grain products), fruit and drinks may be consumed outside the sukkah.
Nevertheless, it is praiseworthy to consume minor snacks and drinks
exclusively in the sukkah. [2]

4. Dwelling in the sukkah is a Torah commandment applicable during the entire holiday (7 days in Israel, 8 in the Diaspora). [2]

5. Due to the time-bound nature of this mitzvah, only men are obligated by it. [1][2] However, women may choose to observe this mitzvah and say a berachah over it.

Age of Chinuch

6. The age at which the chinuch obligation for this mitzvah begins is described as “katan sheayno tzarikh l’imo” (a minor who no longer needs his mother’s care, ie. a child who is mature enough to leave his mother’s care for a reasonable period of time). For the average child, this age is 5 or 6 yo. [2]

Requirement for Children

7. Parents are required to ensure that their chinuch-age sons eat their meals in the sukkah. [1][2] It is forbidden for anyone to feed or instruct a the chinuch-age child to eat outside of the sukkah. However, others (beside parents) are permitted to place the food in front of the child, even though we can be certain that he will eat it outside the sukkah. [2]

8. Since women are exempt from this mitzvah, parents are not obligated to train their daughters to observe it, but they are permitted to train their daughters and make a beracha over the sukkah if they so choose. [1]

First 2 Nights of Sukkos

9. An individual is not obligated to actually be in a sukkah throughout the entire holiday except for the first TWO nights of Sukkos (in Eretz Israel, only the FIRST night). [2]

10. One who does not wish to eat any grain product need not enter a sukkah at all. (See #3 above). [2] [Moderators Note: See the contradicting statement in #4 above. I asked Rabbi Tendler of Baltimore, MD, to help bring clarity to my confusion, and this is what he says:
“#4 is stating that there is a requirement to eat in a Succah if you are eating foods that require a Sukkah, for the entire 7 days. However, if you choose only to eat fruit, etc. and eat out of the Succah, that is fine, except for the first two nights, as in #9.”
]

11. However, on the first two nights of Sukkos, one is oligated to eat at least a keveytza (a piece equal in volume to an egg) of bread in a sukkah. This must be done within ‘kedei achilas pas’, a time period of between 2 and 9 mins (inclusive). [2]

12. One must bear in mind the meaning of the mitzvah of sukkah, while eating in it for the first two nights of Sukkos. One must understand that “Hashem caused our forefathers to dwell under Clouds of Glory when He took them out of Egypt”.[2]

13. Parents need to ensure that their children of chinuch age eat at least a”keveitzah” of bread in the sukkah on the first two nights of Sukkosand explain the purpose of the mitzvah to them. [2]

4min2B. TAKING THE ARBA MINIM (Four Species)

First Day of Sukkos

1. The Torah obligates the men to hold the 4 species (Arba Minim) – esrog, lulav, hadasim and aravos – only on the FIRST day of Sukkos(in the Diaspora, the first TWO days of Sukkos).Rabbinic obligation extends this to the other days of Sukkos. [1][2]

2. This mitzvah is performed by taking the 4 species in one’s hands and waving them 3 times in each of the 6 directions (north, south,east, west, up, down).

Requirement for Children

3. A boy who is old enough to properly wave the species must be trained to perform this mitzvah. This age is approximately between 5and 6 yo. [1][2]

4. A boy who is old enough to recite Hallel, should be trained to wave the species during recitation of HAllel. [2]

Ownership of the 4 species

5. The 4 species must belong to the person performing the mitzvah. One who gives his lulav set to another for the purpose of performing themitzvah must grant that person the lulav as a gift. Upon completingthe mitzvah, the recipient must transfer ownership back to its
original owner. [1][2]

6. According to Torah law, minors acquire ownership of property that is granted to them as a gift, however, they cannot halachically transferownership of property to another person. This poses a major problem to the father who gives his lulav set to his minor son on the FIRST dayof Sukkos. [1][2]

7. One solution to this problem is that the father first perform the mitzvah on the first day of Sukkos, and afterwards grant the lulav tohis son. Since the mitzvah of lulav for the rest of Sukkos isRabbinic, the requirement of ownership of the lulav does not apply.
[1][2]

Lulav & Esrog Chinuch sets

8. OUTSIDE ERETZ ISRAEL, the requirement of ownership of the lulav applies to the 2nd day of Sukkos as well. Solution #7 will not workhere. Hagaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein, z”l, ruled that if possible, oneshould provide the child with his own set of 4 species also known as
the Chinuch set, that is KOSHER. However, one does not need to purchase a set for each child, because a child’s chinuch requirementis Rabbinic, and under Rabbinic law, minors can transfer ownership oftheir possesions to others. Only adults, whose obligation is Biblical,
are unable to fulfill their mitzvah with a lulav belonging to a child. [2]

9. One who is unable to purchase a Chinuch set, should not grant his own set to the child as a gift for the performance of the mitzvah.Rather, he should LEND it to the child. Many Poskim hold that onefulfills his chinuch obligation even if the child does not own the 4 species, one may follow this practice in cases of necessity. [2]

10. Some Poskim rule that the father should hold the species together with the son when the boy performs the mitzvah. In this way, thefather does not relinquish his legal ownership, but still fulfills themitzvah of chinuch with his son. Many poskim rule that because the son has not become the legal owner of the species at the time he performsthe mitzvah, the father hasn’t fulfilled his chinuch obligation. [1] [Moderator’s Note: Note the conflicting advice from #9 and #10. Please
ASK your RAV!!!

Again, I asked Rabbi Tendler to help bring clarity to my understanding, and this is what he says based on this question “There appears to be conflicting opinions on what to do outside Eretz Israelwhen the father cannot purchase a Chinuch set for his son, as in #9and #10. What is the preferred solution?”

His answer:
“The preferred solution in all situations is to allow your son to shake your Lulav, but to bear in mind that it remains yours the entiretime, and not relinquish ownership to the child.”]

C. HOSHANA RABAH

1. It is customary to take hold of a bundle containing five willow branches (hoshanas) on Hoshana Rabah, and to strike the bundle againstthe floor five times after reciting the appropriate prayers. Childrenwho have reached the age of chinuch (5 or 6 yo) should be provided with their own bundle of hoshanas so that they can be trained toadhere to this custom. [2]

D. SIMCHAS TORAH

1. On Simchas Torah, it is customary to give aliyot (calling to the Torah) for every male in the synagogue, including minor boys. (Duringthe rest of the year, a minor boy cannot be called to the Torah forany aliyah except for Maftir.) All the boys come up together for the next-to-last aliyah before Chasan Torah. One boy makes the berachahfor all those assembled, while another makes the concluding berachahon behalf of all. If the boys are unable to do this, an adult man leads them in these berachos. After the Torah reading is over, beforethe final beracha is made, the children are blessed with “HaMalachHagoel” from Bereishis 48:16. [1]

REFERENCES

[1] A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot by Rabbi Shmuel
Singer
[2] Children In Halachah by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen.

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