Sunday, October 9, 2011

Important Sukkah FAQs for Nebraska

Being the Rabbi of Nebraska I get some interesting questions about the holiday of sukkot.  Below are some of the interesting questions that i have received so far.

Can I use corn for the roof of my sukkah?

This is a very interesting question.  Food is disqualified as material for a sukkah roof (sechach) however animal food is permitted.  According to my understanding, the corn grown here in Nebraska is primarily grown as feed for livestock.  Therefore it would seem that Nebraska corn should be permitted assuming you can be sure that it was grown for the purposes of feed and that it is not something a person would normally eat.  I would however shy away from using corn to avoid confusion.

Can I use corn stalks for sechach?

Yes.  If there is still corn attached to the stalks (see above question) their must be more stalk then corn.

Can I mount a sukkah on my horse or cow?

Yes you can!  However, you may not enter such a sukkah on Shabbat or on Yom Yov, only on the intermediate days.  You may also use an animal as the walls of a sukkah provided that the animal is tied up so it does not run away, and provided that the animal is at least 40 inches off the ground even at rest.  You must also fill in the space between the animals legs.

Is it appropriate to hang a University of Nebraska banner in my Sukkah?

Decorations are allowed and encouraged in a sukkah.  You can even hang a banner under the sechach of the sukkah, provided that it is hung within a few inches of the sechach.  Traditional decorations generally reflect some kind of Jewish theme, but there is certainly no prohibition, especially if it is something that would normally hang in your home.

Can I watch the Nebraska Cornhusker game in my sukkah?

Obviously not if the game is on Shabbat or Yom Tov.  But if the game is on Saturday night and Sunday is one of the intermediate days of Sukkot then it is actually preferable to watch the game in the sukkah.  The halachah is you should dwell in the sukkah as you dwell in your home and if you normally watch the game then on sukkot you should do so in your sukkah.  (of course this is only according to the opinion that says it is permitted to watch any television at all)