Shabbos Candles and Netilas Yadayim in the Sukkah

 Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah

Question: Should one light the Shabbos candles in the sukkah?

Discussion: The main purpose of the Shabbos candles is to provide light in the place where one eats the Shabbos or Yom Tov meals.91 Therefore, the Shabbos candles should preferably be lit in the sukkah. However, if it is impractical, and certainly if it is unsafe, one may light the Shabbos candles indoors, in an area that he will be using.92 If one does so, it is recommended to turn on the electric light in the sukkah along with the Shabbos candles, so as to include the sukkah’s electric light in one’s lighting of the Shabbos candles.93

Question: Should netilas yadayim be done in the sukkah?

Discussion: This constitutes something of a dilemma. On the one hand, both netilas yadayim of the morning and netilas yadayim before a meal are to be done without delay; netilas yadayim in the morning should be done immediately upon wakening,94 and netilas yadayim before eating should be done as immediately before eating as possible.95 On the other hand, one is not to do undignified activities in the sukkah, and washing, in general, is considered an undignified activity.

Indeed, the Poskim differ significantly in their approaches. Some do recommend washing in the sukkah.96 Others rule that one should not wash in the sukkah. Yet other Poskim distinguish between the two types of netilas yadayim.97 Considering the ambiguity involved, in addition to the fact that there are other factors which might have bearing on the matter, one should consult with a competent halachic authority.

91. Mishnah Berurah 263:5.

92. See Mishnah Berurah 263:2.

93. It is similarly recommended that one turn on the electric lights in the area where one is lighting along with lighting the Shabbos candles. See Contemporary Halachah Discussions, Volume 3 (2), chapter 264, regarding the use of electric lights as Shabbos candles.

94. Mishnah Berurah 1:2.

95. See Shulchan Aruch 166.

96. Aruch Hashulchan (639:4) rules that netilas yadayim of the morning should be done in the sukkah, and the water should be removed immediately afterwards. Piskei Shemuos (Goldberg, p. 89) cites

R’ Chaim Kanievsky and R’ Nissim Karelitz, who rule that both forms of netilas yadayim may be done in the sukkah. This was reportedly the practice of the Chazon Ish (see Mishulchan Melachim V, p. 300; Shoshanas Yisrael, p. 167, footnote 13).

97. Aruch Hashulchan rules since washings other than the morning washing can be done outside the sukkah, they should indeed not be done in the sukkah. Halichos Shlomo (7, footnote 88) records that R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would not perform netilas yadayim of the morning, or for bread, in the sukkah. R’ Nissim Karelitz states that regarding netilas yadayim of the morning, if one can leave the water outside the sukkah but within four amos of where he sleeps, it is preferred. However, he permitted netilas yadayim for bread inside the sukkah in all cases (Chut Shani, p. 238). Rivevos Efraim I, 421:18, cites R’ Moshe Feinstein as stating that it depends on what one normally does at home.