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Rav Hershel Schachter Issues Sukkah Takedown Guidelines in Light of Impending Storm

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for The Five Towns Jewish Times

hershel_schachter_lpIn a conference call held on Thursday, October 1st, Rav Hershel Schachter delivered a shiur on dealing with the Sukkah regarding the upcoming storm. The shiur was given under the auspices of the RCA and held at 5:00 PM. Below are some of the rulings discussed in the shiur.

1] Is one permitted to dismantle a Sukkah before the end of Yom Tov out of concern for safety? ANSWER: Yes

2] What wind speed would constitute a danger? Rav Schachter cited someone who checked with two orthodox Jewish experts in construction. One response was 40 MPH winds. The other was 50 MPH winds. Rav Schachter said that one should be stringent and use the 40 MPH figure.

If the reports on Sunday (or perhaps even on Friday) predict such winds then one should take down one’s Sukkah because these constitute a danger.

3] What if one has taken down his Sukkah, but the weather clears and he is aware of a safer Sukkah that was not taken down (i.e. it was surrounded by apartment buildings and there was no wind)? Should he walk to that Sukkah? ANSWER: It is not obligatory but one should try to do so, even if the Sukkah is 30 minutes walking distance.

This author spoke to Rav Schachter on Erev Shabbos to verify the above information. When asked the origin of the 30 minute guideline Rav Schachter responded that it was his own hasharah of what might be considered a lenient view of mitztaer in travelling to the Sukkah.

It may also be possible that Sukkos found on higher floors might be more dangerous to others than those on ground level.

People are urged to use saichel even if wind speeds are less than 40 MPH if their Sukkah may possibly be a danger to others.

The author can be reached at [email protected]

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