A Canvas Sukkah

By Rabbi Chaim Chazzan

 

Is it permissible to make a sukkah with walls of canvas?

 

A sukkah wall which billows in regular winds, even if the wind does not have the strength to it knock down, is not considered a kosher wall for a sukkah[1].

There is a machlokes among contemporary poskim how much, if at all, the sheets can billow in the wind before the sukkah becomes posul. Some say[2] that if it is stretched tightly and does not wave more than three tefachim it is kosher. Others[3] invalidate any sukkah with walls made of canvas or plastic sheets.

Poskim grapple with an additional problem concerning a sukkah made of sheets. The Shulchan Aruch[4] states, “It is improper to make all the walls [of a sukkah] out of sheets of linen, even if he tied down the sheets well, because they can get untied without him noticing and they will then be a ‘wall that cannot stand before a regular wind’ [which is not valid as a sukkah wall].”  The Shulchan Aruch suggests adding rods around the walls of the sukkah with less than three tefachim between them, to serve as independent halachic walls. This is based on the principle of ‘lovud,’ that two objects less than three tefachim apart from each other are considered to be connected.

Some poskim[5], in an effort to justify the widespread use of canvas sukkos, say that today’s sheets are different than the sheets referred to in the Shulchan Aruch. Today’s canvas’ are tied down on all four sides and are made of strong durable material, often with special holes made to allow the canvas to be fastened to the frame. This holds the fabric tight and secure without a realistic concern that they’ll become dislodged, and therefore the issue raised by the Shulchan Aruch no longer applies.

As mentioned, others nevertheless categorically invalidate canvas sukkos. Consult your posek for a final psak. Rav Moshe Feinstein points out[6] that nothing can be concluded from the fact that such sukkos are sold, because this was not necessarily done after consultation with rabbonim.

Reprinted with permission from  Lmaan Yishmeu – a project of Mercaz Anash. To see more articles visit Mercazanash.com


[1] משנה ברורה סי’ תר”ל ס”ק מח ושעה”צ ס”ק מה בשם רש”י, ר”ן, ריטב”א, ואור זרוע

[2] חזון איש הל’ ערובין סי’ עז סק”ו. והביא סיוע לדבריו בשו”ת קנין תורה ח”ד סי’ ע

[3] יחוה דעת ח”ג סי’ מו, וחיזק דבריו בספרו יביע אומר ח”ט הנמ”ח

[4] סי’ תר”ל ס”י. [סי’ זה בשוע”ר לא הגיע לידנו]

[5] שו”ת שלמת חיים סי’ רנג, משנה הלכות ח”ה סי’ עז, וראה במהדורות החדשות מה שהביא מהמהרי”ל הל’ סוכה, מועדים וזמנים ח”א סי’ פד, ספר משנת יעקב הו”ד בספר סוכת שלם על הל’ סוכה פ”ה הע’ כו וכבר נשתברו הרבה קולמסין בראיות לכאן ולכאן, ולא עת האסף פה.

[6] אג”מ או”ח ח”ה סי’ מ סוף אות ב, וראה שם סי’ לט אות ג.

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