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Sukkot - Rain on the 1st Night

What do you do if it is raining on the FIRST night of Sukkot?

According to the Mishna Berura [Orech Chaim 639, note 35] the following is the recommended procedure if it is raining on the first night of Sukkot:

1. Since there are many authorities who rule that on the first night, even when a person is uncomfortable living in a sukkah [in halachic terminology - "mitz'ta'ere"], there is a special requirement to use a sukkah. Therefore, one must wait to see if the rain stops, before beginning to eat inside.

2. While some authorities suggest that one wait until mid-night, the Mishna Berura indicates that we can folllow the opinion of Sha'are Teshuva, who doesn't give an objective amount of time to wait, but rather uses the subjective measure that one should not cause his family undue aggrevation on Yom Tov, and therefore, just wait a "reasonable" period of time (definitely less than an hour or two).

3. If by that time the rain has stopped - there is no longer a problem and the meal can be eaten in the sukkah.

4. If it is still raining, kiddush must still be recited in the sukkah, but WITHOUT the blessing of "leyshev baSukkah." A motzi is then made in the sukkah and after a "kezayit" of challah is consumed (about a slice), the rest of the meal is moved indoors, where you should also "bentsch".

5. If the rain stops before one has retired for the evening, one should wash and eat a "kezayit" of bread in the sukkah - so that the bracha of "leyshev baSukkah" can be recited.

[6. On the second night of Sukkot, it is not necessary to wait to make kiddush and eat. Rather, if it is raining everything can be done indoors, and at the end of the meal, a "kezayit" of bread should be eaten outdoors. If it has stopped raining at that time a bracha of "leyshev baSukkah" can be recited, and if not, the bread is eaten as on the first night. However, there are those who recommend to follow the same procedure on the second night as on the first, but the Mishna Berura does not require this - see Sha'ar HaTziyun note 73.]


Sat, September 23 2023 8 Tishrei 5784