sukkot_sleep1Do you sleep in your succah during Succot as a representation of the Israelite’s sleeping in tents as they escaped Egypt?  A simple study will be enough to show that a lot of Jews outside Israel do not sleep in the succah during Succot, even if they have one. (In Israel a lot of people do.).

This has actually been a puzzle for the poskim (halachic decision-makers) for centuries. According to the authoritative sources, the mitzvah to sleep the succah is more powerful than that of eating there.

While we might have a treat outside the succah, according to the Talmud as well as halachic resources, one must not sleep other than in the succah (Talmud Succot 28b).

The Rama suggested two factors in support of Jews of his time and place (16th-century Poland) that also didn’t sleep in their succah; it was very cold out (surprise!) and they could possibly not copulate with their wives in the succah as they did not have personal privacy.

Others have actually explained the potential risk – my friend’s family made their succah in their driveway in Brooklyn throughout the crack epidemic in the 1980s; no right-minded individual would have slept there. These are all genuine reasons, yet they recommend that brave souls who have adequate coverings and could safely and privately sleep in their succahs should do so.