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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 10 Apr 2020 05:41 PM and ends Sat 11 Apr 2020 06:40 PM

Halochos for Succot

ג' תשרי ה' אלפים תשס"ט

From the Rav’s desk: Sukkos

See also Laws of Yamim Noraim

The Sukkah walls may be constructed from any material sufficiently sturdy to withstand normal winds of the given area. The sechach (covering) must be of vegetable origin, not subject to ritual defilement, and severed from the ground. The sukkah should not be built under any tree/house projection, and decorations hung from the ceiling should preferably not extend downward (including their own length) more than 31 cm. Should the decoration be more than 31cm wide, no person should sit underneath. Questions concerning its construction should be addressed to the Rav.

The Mitzvah: All males above the age of thirteen years should endeavour to eat, learn, sleep, etc., in the sukkah for the entire seven day Yom Tov. (Women choosing to sit in the sukkah should recite Laishev Basukkah).

On the first two nights of Succos one is obligated to eat a minimum of an olive sized piece of bread in the Sukkah following the Kiddush, which is recited after dark. The “Kiddush order” on the first night is (a) blessing over the wine, (b) Kiddush sanctifying the day, (c) Laishev Basukkah, and (d) Shehechiyanu.

The latter may be recited prior to the Birchas Laishev Basukkah on the second evening, depending on one’s custom.

Water, fruits and vegetables may be consumed outside the Sukkah, but one performs a mitzvah by eating everything in the Sukkah.


There is a biblical commandment for a male above thirteen years to lift in his hands on the first day of Succot, during the daytime, four species:

  1. Esrog (citron), with or without a pitum (protuberance at opposite end of point throughout Yom Tov. It should be as spotless as possible, tower shaped, not punctured, not dried out and not smaller than an egg. of detachment from tree). An esrog grown with a pitum must retain the pitum
  2. Lulav (Palm branch) spine, should be a minimum of 4 handbreadths (approx. 14”/35.56 cm) long. The tip should not be split, nor should the majority of leaves be split, broken off or dried out.
  3. Hadasim (x 3) (Myrtle branches) each stem should be a minimum of 3 handbreadths long (10½”/26.67 cm), must be covered in its majority by clusters of three leaves emanating from the same point on the stem. Tips should be whole and leaves fresh.
  4. Aravos (x 2) (Willow branches) minimum length should be 3 handbreadths, edges of leaves should be smooth not wilted. Tips should be whole and leaves fresh.

The Rabbis decreed that the minim should be taken into hand for the entire seven day period excluding Shabbos.

The proper procedure for “taking the lulav” for a right-handed person is as follows: Lift the “assembled lulav” (haddasim on the right side of the lulav spine, a fraction higher than the aravos placed in the left side of lulav holder) into right hand, followed by raising the esrog in inverted fashion in one’s left hand, join the two groups together, recite the brachah (shehechiyanu added the first day), turn the esrog upright and wave them three times directionally in the following order; front, right, back, left, up & down. The blessing should optimally be recited before one partakes of any food.

Left-handed persons typically take the lulav in their left hand and estrog in their right.

One must legally own one’s own set of 4 species to fulfil one’s obligation during the first two days of Sukkos. Ashkenazic women who “bentsch lulav” recite the proper brachos.

All species - excluding the esrog - are forbidden to be handled on Shabbos and Sh’mini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.


Ya’aleh V’Yavoh is inserted in the Sh’moneh Esray and Birchas Hamazon throughout the Yom Tov.

A Hakafoh (counter-clockwise circling of the Bimah) with the 4 species is held daily (except Shabbos) with seven hakofos performed on Hoshanah Rabah.

Mourners should not join in these hakofos. Mashiv Haruach U’morid Hageshem is inserted in our recitation of Sh’moneh Esrai beginning with Musaf on Sh’mini

On Sh’mini Atzeres, Yizkor is recited. It should be said as well by mourners in the 12 months of Aveilut.


Simchas Torah is a Yom Tov earmarked for expressing our joy with and obedience to the Torah. As such, all forms of festivities must conform to Torah-prescribed methods of rejoicing.

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