- Question: [Monday, 7th Tishrei 5781]
We plan on going on trips during Sukkos and want to know if it’s possible to make a portable Sukkah from a children’s play tent that we can take with us? The tent material is made of plastic and contains a metal frame, that is foldable. On top there is a large space onto which we can place the Sechach.
A children’s play tent can be turned into a valid Sukkah if certain conditions are fulfilled. These conditions are as follows:
- The inner dimension of the tent is at least 57.2 x 57.2 cm and contains a height of at least 82 cm from the ground.
- The hole on top of the tent contains a dimension of at least 57.2 x 57.2 cm onto which the Sechach will be rest on, hence having at least 57.2 x 57.2 cm of kosher Sechach that will be hovering over the tent. [If it has less than this amount, then it is possibly invalid and depends on certain factors which is beyond the scope of this answer.]
- One places a material that is kosher for Sechach, such as a few branches of wood, on top of the whole of the tent, and uses it to create a frame onto which he will then rest the Sechach. This is necessary in order so the Sechach rest on material that is valid for Sechach.
- The surface that one is eating on is entered into the sukkah while eating there.
Explanation: Turning a child’s play tent into a sukkah runs into various halachic issues which can all possibly invalidate the sukkah, and practically depends on its size, height, and the amount of Sechach that will hover over the inside of the tent. It likewise runs into the issue of Mamad, having the Sechach be supported by the material of the tent which is invalid for Sechach. Even in the event that it fulfills all the conditions to validate a sukkah, as explained in the conditions above, it still runs into the question of whether it is permitted to take apart the sukkah during Sukkos when one desires to take it apart and fold it back up, and practically the matter is subject to debate in the Poskim. The best thing to do in such a case is to make sure to initially erect it only during Chol Hamoed on condition to then take apart. Now, regarding the validity of the walls of such a sukkah, seemingly, although it is made from tent material, it is valid even without Lavud being that it is very strongly attached to the metal frame and is considered all one unit and hence does not require a backup Lavud wall as insurance, as required by regular walls made using tarp. Now, regarding the fact that he can be blown away with the wind, aside from the fact that it does not blow away with the common wind, even when it does blow away, it blows it away in its entirety, and wind is only a possible validation if it has ability to knock off the actual walls from the rest of the sukkah.
Sources: See regarding taking apart a portable sukkah on Chol Hamoed: Michaber 666:1; Mishneh Sukkah 48a; Ikarei Daat 2:68; Shoel Umeishiv Mahadura Daled 3:28; Piskeiy Teshuvah 116; Kaf Hachaim 636:9; Admur 638:5; Avnei Nezer 34:18; Lehoros Nasan 7:48-49; SSH”K 67 footnote 177; Piskeiy Teshuvos 637:1 footnote 2; See regarding the dimensions of the sukkah: Michaber 633:10; Sukkah 4b and 5b; Michaber 634:1; Rav Huna Sukkah 2a-3b and 16a; See regarding the dimensions of the Sechach: Michaber 632:1; Rama 631:10; Tur 631; Beis Yosef 631 and 632; M”A 632:3; Elya Raba 632:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 632:6; See regarding using sheets as the walls of the sukkah: Michaber 630:10; Aruch Hashulchan 630:32; Piskeiy Teshuvos 630:9; See regarding wind: Admur 628:4; Michaber 628:4; Mishneh Sukkah 22b; Sefas Emes Sukkah 23a; Piskeiy Teshuvos 628:2