Building a Sukkah – Building Yourself
Sukkah Daf 11
From the words חג הסכת תעשה in Devarim 16:13 we learn that a sukkah has to be made and not be from that which has already been made – תעשה ולא מן העשוי.
Our daf enters into a discussion between the opinions of Rav and Shmuel regarding this matter. According to Rav – A Sukkah is invalidated due to not fulfilling the requirement of תעשה ולא מן העשוי in the case similar to that of digging out a wheat pile in order to have an empty space inside for the Sukkah. In that case one didn’t build the walls or the roof of the Sukkah. Such a Sukkah would be invalid.
Shmuel expands the ruling saying that if a Sukkah is built with invalid Sechach that is attached to the ground, such as a grape vine that had not been cut, and then the vine is cut, the Sukkah is still not Kosher as it does not fulfill the requirement of תעשה ולא מן העשוי. This is because it is as though the Sechach covered the Sukkah on it’s own. To correct this issue one would need to take an action such as lifting and putting down the Sechach – לנענע. We follow Shmuel’s ruling. Today many people, who have an enclosed porch covered by a pergola with thin wood slats, build their Sukkah by simply pushing up the slats with a broom or mop and then letting them down gently.
The requirement of תעשה ולא מן העשוי is applied to Sukkah, Tzizit and Mezuzah. It is the requirement that the item has to be made and cannot be from that which has already been made. This requirement reminds me of the story Rabbi Sack’s zt”l told regarding his visit with the Lubavitcher Rebbe when he was a young student:
So I [Rabbi Sacks] started the sentence, “In the situation in which I find myself…” – and the Rebbe did something which I think was quite unusual for him, he actually stopped me in mid-sentence. He says, “Nobody finds themselves in a situation; you put yourself in a situation. And if you put yourself in that situation, you can put yourself in another situation.”
The above life lesson resonates on our daf in the Halacha of building a Sukkah. We learn the importance of requiring ourselves to live actively and engage our experiences with the ideal of תעשה ולא מן העשוי.
By Susan Suna