Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. He who sleeps under a bed in the succah, has not acquitted himself of his whole duty. 1 R. Jehudah said, "We were in the habit of sleeping under a bed in the presence of the elders, and they never said anything to us [against it]." R. Simeon said, "It happened that Tabbi, the bondman of R. Gamaliel, used to sleep under a bed." But R. Gamaliel said to the elders, "Do you see my bondman Tabbi; he is a disciple of the sages, and knows that bondmen are exempt from [the obligation of dwelling in] the succah; therefore, he sleeps under a bedstead [in the succah]." From this [observation of Rabbon Gamaliel] we in our usual way deduce, that he who sleeps under a bed [in the succah] has not acquitted himself of his whole duty.
§ 2. If a man support his succah with his bedstead, it is valid. R. Jehudah saith, "A succah which cannot stand by itself [without extraneous support] is not valid." A succah which is irregularly covered, and the shade [covered part of which] is greater than that open to the sun, 2 is valid; should the covering be close, like the roof of a house, although the stars are not visible through it, it is nevertheless valid.
§ 3. If a man construct his succah on the top of a waggon, or on a vessel, it is valid, and he may ascend thereto on the festival. If he has constructed the succah on the top of a tree, or on the back of a camel, it is valid; but he must not ascend thereto on the festival. 3 [If] two [side walls of the succah are formed] by a tree, and one by
human hands, or two [are formed] by human hands, and one by a tree, the succah is valid, but he must not ascend thereto on the festival. If three [side walls] are formed by human hands, and the fourth by a tree, the succah is valid, and he may ascend thereto on the festival. This is the rule, Whenever the succah can stand by itself, even should the tree [which partly supports it] be removed, the succah is valid, and it is lawful to ascend thereto on the festival.
§ 4. If a man construct his succah between trees, and the trees form side walls, the succah is valid. Persons deputed on a pious mission are exempt from [the duty of dwelling in] the succah; so likewise are sick persons, and those who attend on [nurse] them. Men may occasionally eat or drink something out of the succah [during the festival].
§ 5. It happened that a dish [of victuals] was brought to R. Jochanan ben Sachai [for him] to taste; and that two dates and a jar of water, were brought to Rabbon Gamaliel; each of them said, "Bring it to the succah." But when food, less [in quantity] than an egg, was brought to R. Zadok, he took it in the napkin, 4 and eat it out of the succah, but did not say grace after it.
§ 6. R. Eleazar saith, "A man is bound to eat fourteen meals in the succah, one in the morning, and one at night [of each day of the festival]:" but the sages say the thing has no legal limitation [is not fixed by law], except [that he is bound to take his meals in the succah], on the first night of the festival. R. Eleazar also said, "He who has not taken his meal [in the succah for the first night of the festival] can make amends for it [by taking his meal therein] on the last night of the festival:" but the sages hold that no amends [can] in that case be made; and they apply thereto the text, "That which is defective cannot be amended, and what is deficient cannot be made up." 5
§ 7. If the head, and the greater part of a man's body be in the succah, and his table in the house, Beth Shammai declare it not valid; but Beth Hillel declare it valid. The school of Hillel said to the school of Shammai, "Did it not happen that the elders of the school of Shammai, and those of the school of Hillel, went to visit R. Jochanan ben Hachoroni, and they found him sitting with his
head and the greater part of his body in the succah, while his table was [placed] in the house; and they said nothing to him [on the subject]." But the school of Beth Shammai replied, "[Do you adduce that] as a proof [in support of your opinion]?" They [the elders] did say to him "If such has [always] been thy custom, thou hast never throughout thy whole life properly obeyed the commandment [to dwell in the succah]!"
§ 8. Women, bondmen, and minors, are exempted from [the obligation of dwelling in] the succah. A boy, who no longer needs [the nursing of] his mother, is bound to [obey the commandment of] the succah. It so happened that the daughter-in-law of Shammai the elder, 6 gave birth to a son [on the festival] when he caused the ceiling to be removed, and covered [the vacancy] over her bed [with a vegetable covering] on account of the [new-born] infant.
§ 9. During the whole seven days of the festival, a man is to constitute the succah his regular domicile, and his house [is to be only] as an occasional abode. If rain fall, when is it permitted to clear out [remove from the succah]? When a mess of porridge has been spoiled, they [the elders] illustrate this by a comparison, "What does such a circumstance resemble? It is as if a servant pour out a goblet for his master, who throws a bowl full in his face."
132:1 The duty of residing in the succah comprises the duty of sleeping therein; but it is unlawful to interpose another roof under that of the succah; and a bed ten hands high is considered as a tent.
132:2 This is rendered according to one explication of the text given in the Talmud; but, according to another opinion, the Mishna here intends to establish two distinct rules:—1. If the covering is irregular, so that it leaves gaps, or openings, while parts of the covering hang down, while, if properly extended, there is sufficient material to cover the whole. 2. If the shaded part exceed that open to the sun. In either case the succah is valid.
132:3 He may, however, use it on the middle days.
133:4 He did not touch it with his naked hand, because, not having washed previous to eating, he did not wish to expose the food to any uncleanness that might attach to his hands.
133:5 Eccles. i. 15.
134:6 The founder of the school which bore his name, contemporary with Herod the Great, lived about eighty years before the destruction of the Temple.