From the Rav’s Desk: How to tie down Sechach from wind

Q&A relating to Sukkos

  1. Question: [Sunday 13th Tishrei 5781]

What is the best way to prevent my Sechach from flying in the wind? May I place wood boards on top of it to prevent it from flying away, and may tire down using plastic zip ties?



It is initially forbidden to tie the Sechach directly using zip ties. However, it is permitted even initially, and is even advised, to place wooden boards on top of your Sechach if the boards are less than 24 cm wide, which is the standard. For best and extra protection from wind, it is advised that in addition to the wooden boards, one should sandwich the boards together and tie them together using a plastic zip tie. This can be done in the following way: place the wooden boards on top of your Sechach, directly parallel to the boards under that support the Sechach. Then take rope of any material, or plastic cable zip ties [i.e. police plastic handcuffs] and tie the two boards to each other, thus sandwiching the Sechach in between the two boards and securing it that it will not move with the wind. Do this by each end of the two boards.

Explanation: One of the major Halachic issues that we face when it comes to fortifying the Sechach against the wind is how it can be done in a Halachically valid method, as it is initially forbidden to use any material that is invalid for Sechach as a support for the Sechach, or as a tool to fasten it [as explained in length in the previous Halacha].  Hence, while in normal construction, nails would be used to fasten down the roofing, this is not allowed to be done by the Sukkah.  Likewise, one may not place such materials on top of the Sechach for the sake of weighing it down.  Likewise, one may not use typical synthetic rope, or plastic cable ties to tie down the Sechach to the wall.  These restrictions extremely limit our ability of securing the Sechach to the walls of the Sukkah. Nonetheless, the above-mentioned Halachic options are available and are to be followed.

Sources: See Admur 629:11-12; Michaber 629:7 regarding using ladder as Sechach support; Rama ibid that it may not be placed under the Sechach, or on top to weight it down, and the same applies for any material that is Mikabel Tuma; Terumas Hadeshen 90; Rashba 1:195; Ran Sukkah 10a; Maharil Sukkah p. 363; M”A 629:9; Chayeh Adam; M”B 629 “There are some Achronim which have ruled that the direct support are to initially be made of materials Kosher for Sechach”

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