Awnings & Sukkah roofs

Building a Sukkah under a retractable roof-Placing Kosher Sechach under non-Kosher Sechach and then removing the non-Kosher Sechach:[1]

No need to replace the Sechach: Such as if one built a Sukkah under a removable roof, then if one removes the non-Kosher Sechach from above, then the Sukkah is valid.

The reason for the validation here is because the Sechach had received a Sechach definition already prior to removing the roofing from over it, and thus removing the invalid roofing is not what is causing it to be defined as Sechach[2]. [Seemingly the reason for why when placing the Sechach over the non-kosher Sechach it is not defined as Sechach, while when placed over it, it is defined as Sechach is because in the latter case the Sechach directly hovers over the Sukkah, in contrast to the former case in which it hovers over the non-kosher Sechach, and thus was never at all part of the Sukkah roofing.]

The requirement to completely remove the invalid Sechach/roofing: It does not suffice to simply open the roof and leave it on hinges in a way that it can be opened and closed constantly, but rather the entire roofing must be removed. [To note however that one may avoid needing to remove the entire roofing by rather simply replacing the Sechach on the Sukkah, by lifting it slightly and placing it back down, while the roofing is open, as in such a case it is now considered that he now placed the Sechach in a totally valid way, as will be explained in the next Halacha.]

The reason for this requirement is because although the Sechach already has a Sechach definition, nevertheless since when the Sechach was placed it was invalid due to an external hovering, therefore in order to now kasher it for use a complete action must be done to the external roofing, and not just a mere action, and thus the entire roofing must be removed as opposed to being left on its hinges.


Placing Sechach under a Sukkah awning[3]:

If the awning was closed when one placed the Sechach under it: See above.

If the awning was opened when one placed the Sechach on the Sukkah: Then even if one later closes the awning, he does not need to completely detach the retractable awning from the Sukkah in order to validate it once again, and rather simply opening the awning validates it. It is thus permitted to close the awning without restriction, and have it opened when one desires to be in the Sukkah.

The reason for this is because at the time that the Sechach was placed it was effectively kosher Sechach, and thus since it was originally fully useable it no longer requires a complete action to be done to the hovering, and thus opening it suffices.


May one build the Sukkah inside his house and remove the ceiling tiles?[4]




What is one to do if he placed the Sechach under the awning while the awning was closed and it is now Yom Tov?[5]

Some Poskim[6] allow one to eat in the Sukkah with a blessing, by simply opening the awning, despite not having removed it or shaken the Sechach [which is not allowed to be done on Yom Tov].


If one placed the Sechach under an open awning, must the awning also be open during the entrance of the holiday?[7]

This is not required from the letter of the law, although some Poskim[8] suggest that it is proper to do so in order so the Sukkah be valid when the holiness of the holiday penetrates.


When one is not eating in the Sukkah should the awning be left opened or does it not make any difference?[9]

Although it is not required from the letter of the law, it is proper to leave the awning opened even at times that one is not found in the Sukkah, with exception to when it rains in which it is proper to close it to prevent wetting ones Sechach.[10]


Is there any reason for why one should try to have a retractable Sukkah awning?[11]

It is a Mitzvah to have a retractable Sukkah awning over ones Sukkah in order to prevent the Sechach from getting wet in times of rain,[12] as well as so he be able to stay in the Sukkah even when raining outside. See next question!


If one closed the awning due to rain is there any meaning behind still remaining in the Sukkah?[13]

By a wood, plastic, or glass awning within 10 Tefach of the Sechach, which does not have a metal frame: Although there is no requirement to remain in the Sukkah, it is proper to still remain in the Sukkah, as it is presently only Rabbinically invalid due to the awning, however Biblically it remains valid.[14]

By a metal awning, or an awning above 10 tefach from the Sechach, or any awning with a metal frame: Then the Sukkah is even Biblically invalid and thus no Mitzvah at all is fulfilled by remaining there. Nevertheless some[15] have written that it is proper to remain in the Sukkah even then being that it is a place of holiness.


If it is raining on Yom Tov may one place a sheet or the like over or under the Sechach?[16]

Yes, as long as the sheet is not distanced more than a Tefach from the Sechach in order so one not transgress the prohibition of making an Ohel on Yom Tov.


If rain water has gathered over ones awning or Sechach covering, may it be removed if it will subsequently cause the water to fall onto earth or grass and the like?[17]

If the ground is already anyways very wet due to the rain, then one may be lenient to remove the covering, having the water fall on the ground. If however it is not very wet then it is forbidden to be done due to a possible planting prohibition.

[1] 626/17-18

[2] However see 629 where it is implied not like the above. As well, despite the above explanation that the removal does not define the Sechach as Sechach, nevertheless seemingly the required removal of the invalid roofing is not just to remove the non-kosher Sechach from over the kosher Sechach but also in order to kasher the kosher Sechach, as will be explained later.


[4] Igros Kodesh 12/66

[5] Piskeiy Teshuvos 626/5

[6] Kaf Hachayim 626/36

[7] Piskeiy Teshuvos 626/5

[8] Mateh Efrayim 625/29

[9] Piskeiy Teshuvos 626/5

[10] Mateh Efrayim ibid

[11] Piskeiy Teshuvos 626/5

[12] Mateh Efrayim 625/64; Shaareiy Teshuvos 639/6

[13] Piskeiy Teshuvos 626/7

[14] So rules Biur Halacha beginning of 629; Peri Megadim A”A 626/9, Machatzis Hashekel and others

[15] Munkatchur in Nemukei Orach Chaim 639

[16] Piskeiy Teshuvos 326/6; See Admur 640/10

[17] Piskeiy Teshuvos 626/6

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