Warning: Sukkah Alert–Sakanas Nefashos!

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    Pashuteh Yid

    My family recently purchased an Ease Lock Sukkah. It came with 2×4 wooden beams to hold up the schach mat. Unfortunately, the length of the beams were exactly the same length as the wall. They are 8 foot beams for an 8 foot wall. This means that there is no extra overhang for the beams. In addition, the inner area (excluding the metal poles) of the sukkah is 8 feet which means that beams do not even reach to the end of the metal on either side.

    In other words, a very heavy 8 foot beam is being supported for only about 1/4 inch on each side. If the slightest disturbance causes the sukkah to shake, such as a wind, or somebody brushing against it, the beam will slip off the metal and fall on somebody’s head, Chas Vshalom. The plastic clips included do not provide any meaningful assistance in this regard.

    It is a SAKANAS NEFASHOS mamash. I recommend everybody check their roof, and if necessary go to Home Depot or other lumber yard and buy at least 9 or 10 feet 2×4 beams for an 8 foot sukkah, so you will have at least 6-12 inches of overhang for your beams on each side, which is a margin of safety. For other sizes add a foot or two to the distance between your sukkah walls so you have this extra margin.

    Note for other types of sukkahs which have interlocked walls or special fittings that prevent the beams from moving, this may not be necessary. However, where there is nothing to prevent a beam from moving back and forth, one needs a safety margin.

    I cannot believe any manufacturer could be so careless with safety. If you must pay out of pocket because they supplied beams which are too short, possibly you can settle with the manufacturer later, but for now, do not risk your safety.

    A gut yontof.


    Thanks for the warning.

    says who

    Had the excact same problem last year and went back to the store and I was told that the worker was suppose to send 10 ft 2×4 for the eight ft Sukkah it was the workers mistake.


    What size is your sukkah? 8 by what?


    Another Warning!

    Many people hang lights in the succah that were made to be used indoors, NOT outdoors, and they are NOT water-proof!

    IF you ARE using indoor lights, be sure you have a good waterproof cover (shlak) to close the succah with in case of rain!

    Water and electricity are NOT a good (or a safe) shidduch!!!

    Pashuteh Yid

    Mindoverheart, the sukkah is 8×10. The 8 foot beams certainly won’t work on the 10 foot wall.

    SaysWho, I first went back to the store before I posted, and I was told that everybody is getting this size, and there is nothing they can do. Your store may have been nice and given you a set of boards for the next bigger size sukkah which they didn’t think they would need.

    Note that in my family a few years back somebody bought a 6×8 Easelock sukkah and I also had to run to Home Depot. In that case, not only was there no overlap, but the boards were flimsy 1x2s which could barely support the schach mat. That one had metal clips whose purpose was to flip the boards up on edge, ostensibly so that it would be more secure. It also seemd to have some kind of nail and a hole which possibly was to nail the board into the clip. I wasn’t happy with any of that, so I bought long 2x4s.

    This time there is a plastic clip which also serves to flip the boards on edge, but it doesn’t solve the problem of the boards being too short in the first place.

    In general I am not sure what the purpose of flipping the boards on edge is to begin with. Is it for halachic reasons? I remember somewhere in Sukkah the gemara asks Hafchan al tzideihen mahu, in reference to gezeiras tikrah, but I don’t remember the maskanah, or if this is brought down lhalacha that it is better.

    I do remember the M”B says we should not use boards bigger than a tefach. Note that 2×4 boards are really about 1.5 x 3. I thing that most people say a tefach is about 4″, so it seems that even if you lie the 2×4 boards flat, it should be kosher.

    Nevertheless, this is all irrelevant to the main concern, which is that the boards are not long enough to begin with.

    says who

    Pashuteh Yid

    Take in to account that it’s a seasonable business, and some of the workers don’t really know what they are doing.


    Thank you PY for a timely warning.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    According to the illustration in the assembly manual, there is an overlap.


    The store might be giving out the wrong ones.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    BTW, I think turning the boards on edge is to prevent warping.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Daas Yochid, thanks for the reference, but the picture doesn’t correspond to the reality. It is hand drawn, not a photo, and note that the beams are flat in that illustration, not sideways, as with the clips they supply.


    Pashuteh Yid-

    The rule with lumber is that you take 1/2 inch off of the given size – a 2×4 is really a 1.5″ x 3.5″, a 4×6 is 3.5″ x 5.5″, etc.

    If one of the pieces is a 1-inch measurement – i.e. 1×6 deck plank or 1×12 shelving pine – the 1 is 3/4 of an inch; a 1×6 is .75″ x 5.5″

    The missing fraction is due to the finished size of the board – if you look at rough-cut unfinished studs in old houses you will find that the 2×4 is truly 2″ x 4″

    The 2×4 or 2×3 that you support your schach on should be turned so that the narrow (1.5″) sides face up and down. This gives the board added strength and rigidity in the direction it will need to support the load.

    The floor joists in your house are always positioned in that direction, and for that reason.

    I read somewhere that doubling the width of a board doubles the load it can carry, but doubling the depth of the board exponentially increases it. I don’t know if I believe that (or even understand quite what it means), but it sounds good.

    Sheetrock, plywood, particleboard, etc. is truly the size it’s sold as – usually 4′ x 8′.

    Molding and wood rods also are sold under their true measurements.



    If clips or some other hardware lock the schach-supporting 2×3 or 2×4 boards in place, turning them on edge will allow them to support a greater load.

    Simply standing them on edge without support holding them in that position probably will only result in them flopping over onto their sides when the sukah is shaken – you may as well lie them down flat to begin with.

    Pashuteh Yid

    ICOT, thanks for the info. The truth is that the beams they supplied were 2×3, not 2×4. it makes no difference as far as my original post is concerned, since the issue was the length which was too short.

    Yesterday, just to verify, I put up one board they supplied using their clips, and in less than 24 hours, it fell in. Nobody was in the sukkah yet, but obviously this is totally unacceptable, and gross negligence in the design. Possibly the company made a mistake in ordering the proper wooden pieces to include with their metal and canvas parts.

    Whatever the case may be, it was a major tircha to go to Home Depot and pick out the right size lumber and load it on to the rooftop carrrier. Luckily, a very fine Home depot manager spent a half hour tying it up onto the car for me at no charge (although I gave him a nice tip). It was a major drain on time and there was a not insignificant cost to buy the wood.

    As far as turning the boards on the side for extra strength, it really is unecessary when just supporting a schach mat.

    Thanks for pointing out that 2×3 is really 1.5 x 2.5. I believe 2.5 is for sure less than a tefach lchol hadayos. So there is no conceivable reason to turn on the side.

    Cherrybim, as far as metal brackets go, better check with a Rav whether that is permitted. It might render these supports davar hamekabel tumah and would defeat their purpose which is to shield the mat from the metal (so the metal is not a maamid).


    I don’t think your concern is even a g’zerah l’gezeira. The metal is outside the sukkah and not part of the s’chach nor does the s’chach rest on the meatal. And even if it did, m’ikor hadin the succah is kosher.

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