Eating and Drinking in the Sukkah

 Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah

Question: Which foods must one eat in the sukkah?

Discussion: The following foods must be eaten in the sukkah:

  • Bread and all mezonos foods consumed in a quantity of more than a kebeitzah.
  • Meal foods120 such as meat, fish, cheese, etc. that are eaten as part of a meal. (If one is not eating them as a meal, one may eat any amount of these foods outside of the sukkah.121)

The following may be eaten outside of the sukkah in any quantity:

  • Fruits and melons
  • Non-mezonos snacks such as potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, etc.

All beverages may be drunk outside of the sukkah in any quantity, with the following exceptions:

  • A revi’is122 of wine [especially if one is specifically getting together to drink with others].
  • People getting together over coffee, hot chocolate, or beer should preferably do so in a sukkah.123 This includes, for example, family members who sit down together for coffee in the morning.124
  • A person in the middle of a proper meal is forbidden to drink outside of the sukkah.125

Question: Must the wine drunk after reciting the berachos at a bris milah be drunk in a sukkah?

Discussion: One is not required to drink a revi’is from the cup of wine at a bris milah. Hence, it does not require a sukkah.126

Note: all of the above notwithstanding, it is praiseworthy to make a point of eating or drinking anything, even just water, in the sukkah.127

Question: Does this mean that one who wishes to drink, but has no sukkah available, should refrain from drinking until he can get to a sukkah?

Discussion: One could argue that while it is praiseworthy to drink even water in the sukkah if one is available, refraining from drinking for lack of a sukkah would seem pointless. If one anyways will not be able to drink in the sukkah, what does he accomplish by refraining from drinking?128 In fact, it may even be problematic, since refraining from drinking when one is thirsty may compromise the requirement to enjoy Yom Tov.129

Nevertheless, despite the above concerns, there is merit in refraining from drinking outside a sukkah in all cases.130

Question: Must one make havdalah in the sukkah?

Discussion: Mishnah Berurah rules that since one generally makes havdalah at home, he should make it in the sukkah.131 However, it is unclear whether or not one should recite the berachah of leisheiv over havdalah.132 It is therefore advisable to eat more than a kebeitzah of some mezonos-item after havdalah and to then stay in the sukkah for some time (as above). A person following this suggestion would recite the berachah of leishev basukkah not before drinking the havdalah wine but, rather, before the berachah of mezonos.133 Additionally, if one has the mezonos on the table while making havdalah, the mezonos should be covered.134

120. Meal foods can include even non-protein foods. For example, R’ Avraham Min Hahar (27a [end]) indicates that vegetables may also require a sukkah—presumably because it is eaten as part of a meal (contrary to fruit or snacks). Therefore, one should presumably refrain from eating potatoes, or even a green salad, as a meal outside the sukkah. See, also, Sefer Hasukkah, new edition, I, 29, footnote 13.

121. Mishnah Berurah 639:15.

122. See Beiur Halachah 639:2, ד”ה ויין; 639:3 ד”ה ולא יאכל; Hilchos Chag Bechag I, p.25-26.

123. Mishnah Berurah 639:13; Sha’ar Hatziyun 639:33.

124. This includes even two people sitting together (Sefer Hasukkah, new edition, I, 29, footnote 11).

125. This definitely applies to wine and possibly to other beverages as well (Sha’ar Hatziyun 639:29).

126. Halichos Shlomo 9:9.

127. Shulchan Aruch 639:2.

128. Chiddushei R’ Akiva Eiger (Sukkah 25a) states that the mitzvah of sukkah entails a positive commandment to eat in the sukkah, rather than a negative commandment to refrain from doing so. Hence, one who has no ability to eat in the sukkah is not accomplishing anything by refraining from eating.

129. Beiur Halachah (639:7, ד”ה וכל הפטור) cites Olas Shmuel (98), who explains that it is for this reason that one who eats in the sukkah when it is raining is termed “a boor.” Shalmei Mo’ed (27, footnote 44) states that when R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was younger, he would refrain from drinking outside of the sukkah when he went to the kosel, but he later changed this practice because it compromised his enjoyment of Yom Tov.

130. Talmud Yerushalmi (2:5) records that R’ Huna refrained from drinking when traveling on Sukkos, even though he was (a) a traveler, (b) thirsty, and (c) unable drink in the sukkah anyway. This Yerushalmi is cited by Magen Avraham (640:16), and Bikkurei Ya’akov (640:26) states that it is praiseworthy to act accordingly. Evidently, bearing the discomfort of thirst is praiseworthy even on Yom Tov, since it is done for the purpose of a mitzvah. This is unlike eating in the sukkah in the rain (for which one is termed “a boor”). Eating in the rain does not fulfill the mitzvah of sukkah at all, since it is not the manner in which one would live in his home (teshvu k’ein taduru). As for the first argument raised above, that one ostensibly accomplishes nothing by refraining from drinking outside the sukkah if he in any event cannot drink in a sukkah, R’ Nachum Perzovitz inferred from Rambam (6:6) that it is in fact praiseworthy to simply refrain from eating or drinking outside the sukkah. However, Kovetz Halachos (Kaminetzky p. 192) states that, indeed, it is only praiseworthy if one will later have this drink in a sukkah; otherwise (e.g., he has no ability to take the drink with him), he accomplishes nothing by waiting until later. See, also, Toras Hahalachah (Oved, p. 247).

131. 639:30. That is, irrespective of the issue of whether drinking wine requires a sukkah, havdalah, as an activity that is ordinarily done at home, should be done in the sukkah. Based on this reasoning, it would ostensibly apply even according to the opinions that wine does not require a sukkah; it would apply to one who is not drinking a full revi’is and to a person who is not actually drinking the wine, but merely hearing it from someone else. However, Sha’ar Hatziyun there states that one who ordinarily hears havdalah in shul may do so on Sukkos as well.

132. See Lu’ach Eretz Yisro’el.

133. Since the wine may not warrant the berachah, the berachah should rather be recited over the mezonos; see Luach Eretz Yisrael; Sefer Hasukkah, new edition, I, chapter 33, footnote 18. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, however, would recite the berachah before borei pri hagafen even when relying on the mezonos he ate afterwards (see Halichos Shlomo, 9, footnote 85; Sefer Hasukkah (new edition) II, p. 600.

134. Shulchan Aruch 299:9.