Checklist for Erev Sukkos
- Cut hair and nails
- No eating past 10th
- Bind Lulav
- Verify validity of Sukkah
- Increase in Tzedakah on Erev Sukkos.
- Bake Challahs for Yom Tov in the honor of Yom Tov.
- Cut the nails on Erev Sukkos in honor of Yom Tov.
- Get a haircut on Erev Sukkos.
- Prepare sweets for children in fulfilling Mitzvah of Simcha.
- Buy wife jewelry or clothing for Simcha.
- Do not eat a meal from the 10th hour of the day until the Yom Tov starts. This is approximately three hours before sunset. The above is only with regards to a set meal [i.e. 55 grams of bread] however it is permitted to eat a mere snack up until sunset and there is no need to refrain from doing so. If one transgressed or forgot and did not eat prior to the 10th hour, then on Erev Sukkos he may not eat a meal past the 10th
- Bathe one’s body in hot wateron Erev Sukkos in honor of Yom Tov.
- Whenever Sukkos falls on Thursday one performs an Eiruv Tavshilin on Erev Sukkos [Wednesday] in the Diaspora.
- Bind the Lulav in the Sukkah. One should be meticulous to bind the Lulav himself as opposed to having someone else do it for him.
- Verifying the validity of the Sukkah: Before leaving to Shul for Mincha on Erev Sukkos, one is to verify the validity of the Sukkah and confirm that everything is in order.
- Candle lighting: One first lights the candles and then says the blessing of “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bimitzvosav Vetzivanu Lehadlik Neir Shel Yom Tov”. This blessing is then followed by the blessing of Shehechiyanu.
- Light the candles prior to sunset at the same time that they are lit on Erev Shabbos.
- The candles are to be lit within the Sukkah. If this is not possible [such as due to safety reasons] then one is to light inside.
1. Erev Sukkos
A. Increasing in charity:
- One should increase in Tzedakah on Erev Sukkos. This includes inviting over the poor for meals.
B. Purchasing Jewelry and clothing:
- It is a Biblical positive command and obligation for one to rejoice and be of happy spirit on Yom Tov. This obligation applies to oneself, his wife, his children and his entire household [even non-relatives]. The head of the household is responsible for rejoicing his household during this time. One is to buy his wife [and adult female children and other adult female household members] jewelry or clothing in accordance to his affordability. If one cannot afford to purchase clothing or jewelry, then he is to purchase them new shoes in order to fulfill this Mitzvah.]
C. Baking Challahs:
- One is to bake Challahs for Yom Tov which will be used for Lechem Mishneh and is not to buy them at the bakery as is done during the week, just as is the law on Erev Shabbos. This matter of baking one’s own Challah is included in the honoring of Yom Tov. One is not to divert from this custom.
- How much is one to bake? One is to bake at least the amount that requires one to remove Challah from the dough.
D. Bodily preparations:
- Cutting the nails: It is a Mitzvah to cut one’s nails on Erev Sukkos in honor of Yom Tov, just as is the law on Erev Shabbos. [One is to cut his nails prior to immersing.]
- Getting a haircut on Erev Sukkos: It is a Mitzvah upon each person [who did not get a haircut on Erev Rosh Hashanah] to get a haircut on Erev Sukkos in honor of Yom Tov, in order so one does not enter into the holiday looking unrepresentable. It is permitted to get a haircut throughout the entire day of Erev Sukkos, even past the time of Mincha. This applies even to a professional haircut that is being done by a Jew in exchange for payment.
- Bathing on Erev Sukkos: It is a Mitzvah to bathe one’s body in hot wateron Erev Sukkos in honor of Yom Tov.
E. Eating past the 10th hour of the day:
- It is forbidden to eat [a meal] from Mincha and onwards [i.e. the 10th hour of the day] until the start of Yom Tov. [This is approximately three hours before sunset]. The above is only with regards to a set meal [i.e. 55 grams of bread], however, it is permitted to eat a mere snack up until sunset and there is no need to refrain from doing so. If one transgressed or forgot and did not eat prior to the 10th hour, then on Erev Sukkos he may not eat a meal past the 10th
F. Inviting the needy to one’s meal:
- It is an obligation for one to invite orphans, widows and those which are in need to the Yom Tov meals. If one does not do so then it is not considered a meal eaten in honor of the Mitzvah but rather for the satiation of his abdomen.
H. Binding the Lulav:
- One should bind the Lulav in the Sukkah. One should be meticulous to bind the Lulav himself as opposed to having someone else do it for him.
I. Verifying the validity of the Sukkah:
- Before leaving to Shul for Mincha on Erev Sukkos one is to verify the validity of the Sukkah and confirm that everything is in order. If one’s Sukkah contains an awning to protect from rain, it is to be opened before Yom Tov.
J. Candle lighting:
- One first lights the candles and then says the blessing of “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bimitzvosav Vetzivanu Lehadlik Neir Shel Yom Tov”. This blessing is then followed by the blessing of Shehechiyanu.
- When are the candles lit?The custom is to light the candles prior to sunset at the same time that they are lit on Erev Shabbos. [One who did not light the candles prior to sunset is to light the candles at night, on Yom Tov, from a preexisting flame. It is to be lit at the very least prior to the return of the men from Shul.]
- Where are the candles to be lit: The candles are to be lit within the Sukkah. If this is not possible [such as due to safety reasons] then one is to light inside.
- If a man is lighting candles when is he to say the blessing of Shehechiyanu, by lighting or by Kiddush? A man always says the blessing of Shehechiyanu by Kiddush and not by candle lighting, even in the event that he is lighting candles. However, in such a case he is to light candles directly before Kiddush, hence having the blessing of Shehechiyanu also go on the candle lighting. If, however he said the blessing by candle lighting he does not repeat the blessing by Kiddush. [However, on the first night of Sukkos this only applies if he lit the candles in the Sukkah. Otherwise he must repeat Shehechiyanu for the sake of the Mitzvah of Sukkah that he is now fulfilling by Kiddush.]
- Preparing a 24-hour candle: It is proper to prepare a 24-hour candle on Erev Sukkos in order to have a preexisting flame available to use on Yom Tov.
Binding the Lulav:
- Bind the Lulav on Erev Sukkos inside the Sukkah. [The Rebbe would do so after midday.]
- One is to personally bind the Lulav. Women and children are not to do so for a man’s Lulav.
- The Chabad custom is not to use the Lulav pockets.
- One makes two knots on the Lulav itself using Lulav leaves. One then places a Hadas on the right, left and center of the Lulav, placing the Aravos in between in an inconspicuous fashion. The Hadassim should cover over the 2 knots on the Lulav. One then binds three knots onto the Hadassim and Aravos, all three should be within the space of 1 handbreadth (8 centimeters). It is proper to bind the Hadassim and Aravos towards the bottom of the Lulav in order to also hold on to them when doing the mitzvah. If one did not do so, he has nevertheless fulfilled the Mitzvah.
- The spine of the Lulav must reach at least one Tefach above the Hadassim/Aravos of the Lulav. The top of the spine is defined as the area where it begins to split into other leaves.
Checklist for night of Yom Tov:
- The Seder of Kiddush: Askinu, Hagafen, Asher Bachar Banu, Leisheiv, Shehechiyanu. Rebbes custom to look at Sechach when says Leisheiv.
- Having in mind by Shehechiyanu: The Shehechiyanu is going on both the holiday and the Sukkah
- Dip Chalah in honey
- Leisheiv Basukkah for the household: The household members which heard Kiddush rather than said it themselves are to say the blessing of Leisheiv Basuka after saying the blessing of Hamoitzi.
- How much to eat: One must eat over a Kebeitza of bread in the Sukkah on 1st and 2nd night [in the Diaspora]. One should try to eat before midnight.
The blessing of Leisheiv Bassukah
When is the blessing of Leisheiv said? The blessing of ‘Leishev Basukkah’ is only said when eating a Kebeitza [55 grams] of Mezonos or Hamotzi [within Achilas Peras]. It is not said prior to other actions of dwelling such as a set drinking session, or spending time of leisure or sleeping in the Sukkah.
Is the blessing of Leisheiv Basukkah said before or after the blessing over food? The blessing of Leisheiv is recited after saying the blessing of the food, but prior to eating it. Thus if one eats bread he first says Hamotzi and then say Leisheiv and then eat. If he is eating a Kibeitza of Mezonos he first says Mezonos, then Leishev and then eats the Mezonos. [The Rebbe’s custom is to look at Sechach upon saying Leisheiv.]
How often does one say the blessing of Leishev over eating in a Sukkah: Every time one eats a Kebeitza of Mezonos or Hamotzi in the Sukkah he is to say a blessing of Leisheiv Bassukah, if there was an interval between the previous time he ate and the current eating. If however no interval was made then he does not repeat the blessing, as the previous blessing still covers his current eating. This applies even if one remained in the Sukkah throughout all seven days of Sukkos without an interval, in which case he would only say the blessing on the first meal he eats in the Sukkah. The definition of an interval is either intent or time. This means as follows: If one left the Sukkah after eating and had intent to not return within one to two hours then even if he returns immediately he must repeat the blessing prior to eating a Kibeitza of Mezonos. Likewise even if one intended to return within one to two hours, but in actuality returned after one to two hours, then it is considered an interval and he must repeat the blessing prior to eating a Kibeitza of Mezonos.
Must one repeat the blessing of Leishev Basukah when eating in a second Sukkah? One must say the blessing of Leisheiv in every Sukkah that he eats a Kibeitza of Mezonos. This applies even if he had in mind to eat in the second Sukkah at the time he began eating in the first Sukkah, and applies even if both Sukko’s are next to each and a new first blessing is not required to be repeated, nevertheless a new blessing must be said.
Saying the blessing of Leishev on simply relaxing or sleeping in someone else’s Sukkah: If one enters into someone else’s Sukkah in order to spend time of leisure, or in order to sleep in it, and he does not plan to eat a Kibeitza worth of Mezonos in that Sukkah then he must say the blessing of Leishiev Basukkah prior to relaxing or sleeping in it. However, if one plans on eating a Kibeitza of Mezonos in that Sukkah, or if he already ate a Kibeitza there, then these acts are exempt with the blessing made on the food.
If one forgot to say Leisheiv before eating: If one forgot to recite Leisheiv Basukkah prior to eating he is to say it upon remembering. If he has already finished eating and then remembered to say the blessing, then if he is still in the Sukkah he is to say the blessing upon remembering [even if he has already Bentched].
Must one sift flour in the Sukkah?
Seemingly one is not to do so as it is a belittling act to the Sukkah.
What is the law if one left the Sukkah without any intent and returned within one to two hours?
Example: If one left the Sukkah to take a walk without intent to return or not return, if he returned does he repeat the blessing?
Seemingly so long as one did not intend to not return within 2 hours it is valid. Meaning if one did not intend anything before leaving then if he returns within 2 hours it is valid, and only when he specifically has intent to not return must he say another blessing.
The reason: The reason for this is because the blessing of Leisheiv which is said over food covers all acts of dwelling that one does in the Sukkah. This applies even if one will be eating after these forms of dwelling as these acts are secondary and included in the future blessing. The reason for why the blessing is only said on food is because eating food in the Sukkah is the main Mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah. [ibid]
 From the letter of the law it is proper to say the blessing of Leisheiv before Hamotzi as one becomes obligated in the blessing as soon as he sits down to eat even prior to eating. Nevertheless the custom is to say the blessing after Hamotzi as the custom is to only say Leisheiv on a meal and hence we first say Hamotzi which is the start of the meal and only after do we say Leisheiv. This blessing is not considered a Hefsek between the blessing of Hamotzi and the eating being that this blessing is needed for the meal and any matter which is needed for the meal is not considered an interval. [ibid]
 This implies that so long as one did not intend to not return within 2 hours it is valid. Meaning if one did not intend anything before leaving then if he returns within 2 hours it is valid, and only when he specifically has intent to not return must he say another blessing. [ibid]
 Such as one switched Sukkos after eating a Kezayis of bread or Mezonos.
 639/15; So brings also Hiskashrus 949 p. 12
The reason: As although all blessings must be said prior to the Mitzvah, nevertheless here since also the sitting in the Sukkah, which he is doing after eating, is also part of the Mitzvah therefore he may still say the blessing, as it is considered as if he is blessing prior to the Mitzvah. [ibid] The M”B 639/48 adds that one is to eat a small amount after saying the blessing prior to Bentching. Admur does not mention this detail.
 M”B 639/48
The reason: As Admur rules that one is not to bring the flour vessels into the Sukkah, and hence the same would apply regarding sifting flour.