Traveling on Sukkos

 Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah

Question: May a person flying on Chol Hamoed of Sukkos eat and sleep on the airplane?

Discussion: The obligation of sukkah is defined by the dictum of teishvu k’ein taduru — “You shall dwell [in the sukkah] as you reside [in your home].”135 Therefore, since people commonly leave their homes in order to travel — at which time they will invariably eat and sleep away from home — travelers136 who have no sukkah available in the vicinity may eat and sleep outside the sukkah (see footnote regarding one who travels just for pleasure).137 Therefore, one may eat and sleep freely on a flight, as well as in the airport while waiting for a flight.138 This also includes other forms of long-distance travel and short, domestic flights as well.139 However, it is questionable whether or not one may eat a full meal on a flight if it is not mealtime and one’s final destination will be reached by mealtime.

Question: Is it permitted to doze on a city bus ride?

Discussion: Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv140 was of the opinion that only a person traveling from one city to another has the status of a ‘traveler,’ who is exempt from sukkah obligations. Therefore, in his opinion, a person riding on a city bus may not sleep en route.141 Following this reasoning, if one realizes that he is likely to fall asleep on the bus, it is questionable whether he should take the ride in the first place. A similar notion is mentioned about one who is concerned that he might fall asleep in the middle of a shiur.142

Question: Does a person who works out of the city have the status of a ‘traveler,’ which would allow him to eat and/or nap at his workplace, without a sukkah?

Discussion: No. This is not comparable to a traveler, who is outside his normal setting. One is required to see to it that he will have a sukkah available at his regular workplace, just as he is required to ensure that he will have a sukkah at home.143 In fact, the Poskim state that the same is true for a yeshivah student who goes to a Sukkos celebration in his yeshivah and will stay there overnight. He, too, is required to see to it that he will have a sukkah available, and he is not exempt from the sukkah while at his yeshivah, even if it is in a distant city from his home.144

However, in the event where it is impractical to build a sukkah near one’s office (e.g., in a major commercial area or the like), one would be allowed to eat outside the sukkah.145

135. Sukkah 26a.

136. Shulchan Aruch 640:8.

137. Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim III:93, Even Ha’ezer 32:5) states that one may travel for business purposes even though it will mean that he will not eat in a sukkah; but traveling for pleasure does not justify this. See there for qualifications. R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (He’aros, Sukkah 26a) disagrees and rules that the exemption applies even to a person traveling for pleasure. He concedes, however, that it is best to avoid this (see Kovetz Teshuvos, II:37). See, also, Kovetz Halachos (Kaminetzky), p. 221; Yechaveh Da’as, III:47; Sefer Hasukkah, new edition, II, p. 604; Chut Shani, p. 267; Hilchos Chag Bechag, II, p. 115.

138. Sefer Hasukkah (new edition I: 39:9, p. 510).

139. Shevus Yitzchak, Zeman Simchaseinu, p. 16, cites R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as ruling that this includes anyone who leaves the city, even for a trip he makes every day (e.g., to work). See, also, Yalkut Yosef, p. 792.

140. Shevus Yitzchak, Zeman Simchaseinu, p. 16.

141. See, also, Chut Shani p. 240.

142. See Shevus Yitzchok, Zeman Simchaseinu 1:1.

143. See Mishnah Berurah 640:46.

144. Shevus Yitzchak, Zeman Simchaseinu, 2:2; Halichos Shlomo (9, footnote 133).

145. See Shulchan Aruch 640:10; see, also, Mishnah Berurah there, 14, and see Chut Shani, p. 268.