Who may build the Sukkah-Sukkas Ganbach

  1. Who may build the Sukkah-Sukkas Ganbach:[1]
  2. The general law:

A Sukkah that was built by the people included in the Roshei Teivos [initials] of Ganbach, is valid, even though these people do not build their Sukkah for the purpose of the Mitzvah, but rather for shade. It is valid even if the Sukkah was entirely made by these people, including the Sechach. [However, Lechatchila, one is not to have a person listed in Ganbach place the Sechach on the Sukkah, as explained next regarding women and children.[2] If the Sukkah was built prior to thirty days before Sukkos, then part of the Sechach must be renewed before Sukkos, as explained in Halacha 12 regarding an old Sukkah.[3] Furthermore, some Poskim[4] rule that even if the Sukkah was built within 30 days before Sukkos by the above people, it should have part of it renewed according to the qualifications brought in Halacha 12D.[5] Nonetheless, this is a mere Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar and does not invalidate it from the letter of the law.[6]]

The word Ganbach stands for the following people:[7]

  • Goyim/Gentiles
  • Women
  • Animals
  • Kuti

  1. May women or children even initially help to build the Sukkah?[8]

The building of a Sukkah is a fun activity, and great Mitzvah that many enjoy doing each year. Nonetheless, just as there are various laws associated with the validity of a Sukkah, so too regarding its construction. Only men are obligated in the Mitzvah of Sukkah, as opposed to women or children. This is like many other Mitzvas which men are obligated in, and women are exempt, such as Tzitzis and Tefillin. The question therefore arises as to whether women and children may help build the Sukkah, despite being exempt from the Mitzvah, or if perhaps the Sukkah must be built by those who are obligated in the Mitzvah for it to be valid. Now, although it is a clear ruling in the Talmud[9] and Poskim[10] that the Sukkah of a woman is valid, the question remains as to whether this is only after the fact, or if even initially, she may assist in building the Sukkah. The following is the law:

Walls:[11] Women and children may help build the walls of the Sukkah, even initially.

Sechach: Some Poskim[12] rule that women and children[13] are not initially to place the Sechach on the Sukkah.[14] This applies even if an adult male Jew supervises them during the placing of the Schach and tells them do it for the sake of the Mitzvah.[15] Practically, it is best to initially be stringent like this opinion.[16] However, in the event that a woman or child placed the Sechach on the Sukkah, the Sukkah is deemed valid and a blessing may be recited over it.[17]



Women and children may help build the walls of the Sukkah even initially, however, are not to initially place the Sechach over the Sukkah, and it is rather to be placed by an adult Jew who is obligated in the Mitzvah. Nonetheless, if they did so, the Sukkah remains valid.

May a child above Bar Mitzvah place the Sechach on the Sukkah even though it is unknown if he has grown the signs of puberty?

Yes.[18] However, some Poskim[19] are stringent even in such a case.


  1. May a gentile even initially help build the Sukkah?

Walls: A gentile may help build the walls of the Sukkah.[20]  However some[21] write a gentile should not build even the walls of the Sukkah.

Sechach: A gentile is not initially to place the Sechach on the Sukkah.[22]  If he already did so, the Sukkah is Kosher.[23]




Should one personally build the Sukkah versus having someone else do so for him?[24]

It is proper for one to personally place the Sechach onto the Sukkah [and help build the walls[25]] rather than have another person do so for him.[26] If for whatever reason a person cannot personally put up the Sechach, then he is to try to at least put some of it up, and then have an emissary do the remainder.[27] Some are particular to personally put up at least a 7×7 area of Sechach onto the Sukkah.[28] [The Rabbeim were not particular to personally build their Sukkah[29], although it is recalled that the Rebbe was particular to always place some Sechach onto his Sukkah. It is told that Reb Hillel Paritcher was particular to help build the walls of the Sukkah. The Noam Elimelech[30] explains that one is to personally toil to build the Sukkah in order to sanctify his limbs.]



[1] Michaber 635:1; Sukkah 8b; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 635:1

[2] Bikureiy Yaakov 635:2; See Admur 14:2

[3] Taz 636:3

The reason: As if even a Sukkah built by a Jew before 30 days before Sukkos must be renewed, then certainly a Sukkah built by Ganbach/Rakvash for shade purposes must be renewed. [Taz ibid]

[4] Taz 636:3; Aruch Hashulchan 636:2; Omitted from all previous Poskim

[5] The reason: As the entire reason for why it does not require a renewal when made within 30 days is because we assume it was made for the sake of the Mitzvah and not for the sake of shade. However, when the above people of Ganbach/Rakvash make Sukkos, it is done for shade even within 30 days before Sukkos, and hence should require renewal. [Taz ibid as explained in Levushei Serud 636; See also Aruch Hashulchan 636:1]

[6] Taz 636:3 in name of Ran; M”A 636:1; Rabbeinu Yerucham; Implication of Bavli Sukkah ibid who omits any mention of a renewal being required; Implication of Poskim regarding Sukkos Ganbach and Rakvash who all omit such a requirement; Aruch Hashulchan 636:2

Opinion of Admur: Seemingly, according to Admur, from the letter of the law we should require a renewal by such a such a Sukkah otherwise it is invalid, just as is implied to be his opinion regarding a Sukkah Yeshanah. Vetzaruch Iyun, as in any event the entire idea that a Sukkas Ganbach requires renewal even within 30 days is of the Taz ibid, who agrees that it is never a requirement even before 30 days. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[7] Sukkah 8b

[8] See Nitei Gavriel 25

[9] Sukkah 8b “Ganbach Sukkah..Nashim…Mikol Makom Kesheira”

[10] Michaber 635:1

[11] Bikureiy Yaakov 635:2

[12] M”A 14:3; Bikureiy Yaakov 635:2; Chochmas Shlomo 14 and 635 that it is best to be stringent; Biur Halacha 14 “Lehatzrich Anashim”; Ruach Chaim; Kaf Hachaim 635:8; Binyan Shlomo 43; Shevet Halevi 1:166; Nitei Gavriel 25:1; So rule regarding Tzitzis: Second opinion in Admur 14:2; Rama 14/1; Hagahos Maimanis in name of Maharam; Rabbeinu Tam in Gittin 45b, brought in Taz 14/1 regarding women; M”A 14/3 and Admur add the same applies to children.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that women and children may even initially place the Schach on the Sukkah. [Avnei Nezer 475; Chochmas Shlomo ibid; Kesav Sofer 69; Igros Moshe 4:40-3; See First and Stam opinion in Admur ibid; Michaber 14:1; Tosafos Menachos 42a; Rosh Tzitzis 13]

[13] Poskim ibid; So rules regarding Tzitzis: Admur ibid and M”A 14/3 add that according to Rabbeinu Tam the same rule applies to children; Aruch Hashulchan 14/7; Kaf Hachaim 14/4; Conclusion of Biur Halacha 14 “Lehatzrich” in name of Peri Megadim and Derech Hachaim

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that even according to Rama/Rabbeinu Tam it is permitted to have male children tie the Tzitzis, and only women were excluded. [Artzos Hachaim 14/1, brought in M”B 14/4; Kesav Sofer 1; Maharsham 8/7; Daas Torah 14; Meishiv Davar 1/47]

[14] The reason: As the Sukkah must be built by a person that is obligated in the Mitzvah. This is similar to the rule regarding Tefillin; that women are invalid to write Tefillin scrolls being that they are not obligated to wear them, as written in 39/1. The same would apply by Tzitzis, that since women are not obligated to wear Tzitzis therefore they are invalid to tie Tzitzis to the Tallis. [Admur ibid; M”A ibid; Rabbeinu Tam ibid] The same would apply by Sukkah, that since women are not obligated to dwell in a Sukkah, therefore they are invalid to build the Sukkah. [M”A 14:3; Bikureiy Yaakov 635:2; Chochmas Shlomo 635; Kaf Hachaim 635:8]

[15] So rule regarding Tzitzis: Admur ibid; Kuntrus Achron 14/1 based on M”A ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the Sukkah is valid if the woman or child were supervised and told to place the Schach for the sake of the Mitzvah. [Avnei Nezer 475; Nitei Gavriel 25:1 footnote 4 in name of Poskim]

[16] So rule regarding Tzitzis: Admur 14:2; Rama ibid; There Admur rules one is to initially avoid having women or children make Tzitzis being they are not obligated in the Mitzvha. This is the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam recorded in Rama 14:1 as explained in M”A 14:3. The M”A there concludes that this same law applies by all Mitzvahs including “Lulav and Sukkah”. So brings also Biur Halacha 14 “Lehatzrich Anashim” that it applies likewise to Sukkah.

[17] Michaber 635:1; Sukkah 8b; Implication of Admur and Rama ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 14 footnote 10; Nitei Gavriel 25:4

[18] P”M 14 A”A 3

[19] Sefer Hasukkah Hashaleim Miluim 11:10 in name of Rav Chaim of Brisk; Orchos Rabbeinu 2:202 that the Steipler was careful in this

[20] Bikureiy Yaakov 635:2

[21] Chida in Avodas Hakodesh 24:2

[22] Bikureiy Yaakov 635:2 based on M”A 649:8

[23] 635:1

[24] Kaf Hachaim 625:11; Kitzur SHU”A 134:1; Alef Lamagen 624:15; Emek Sheila on Sheilasos Mitzvah 169; Piskeiy Teshuvos 625:3; see Likkutei Sichos 20 p. 267 that the Rebbe learns for the below mentioned reason that each family should build their own Sukkah

[25] Kitzur ibid

[26] The reason: As it is a greater Mitzvah for one to personally do the Mitzvah than to do so through a messenger. [Kaf Hachaim 625:11]

[27] Kaf Hachaim ibid

[28] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[29] Hamelech Bemisibo 2:53

[30] Parshas Kedoshim

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