Sunday, November 02, 2008

Covering One's Succah With the Arba Minim? pt iv

See previous posts in the series. part i, part ii, part iii.

In an earlier post in this series, I noted the practice mentioned in the sefer Minhagim of the Maharil, of children burning aravot taken off the top of succahs on Simchat Torah. This shows that they covered the succah with aravot. Perhaps this means the walls, but see the next quote, from earlier in the sefer, where it is clear that the aravot were for sechach.

Taken from the relevant page in that sefer, available here (pg 105), is the text of the Maharil. He addresses the potential halachic problems with the practice of these children, and why it is not problematic.
The Maharil says: That which the youths take an aravah {willow} and burn it on Simchat Torah, it is a good minhag for the joy of Yom Tov. And there is not in it an issue of taking down {unbuilding} a tent, if they take down the Succah, for it is not called setirah to make one liable unless {J: reading ach instead of af} one takes down for the purpose of building. And also the burning is not forbidden, even though it is not for cause {letzorech}, for there is no Biblical prohibition, for we are experts in the establishing of the moon, and only the first day of Yom Tov {Shemini Atzeres} is Biblical, and {yet} is is the custom of our fathers in our hands to make a second day of Yom Tov {Simchas Torah}. And furthermore, only the minors are doing this, and we are not required to separate them {from doing it}, just as by a minor who is eating neveilot {improperly slaughtered meat}, Bet Din need not separate them {from it}. And so did Maharam permit minors to drink the wine of kiddush in shul, even though there is no kiddush except in the place of the meal. Both those subject to the commandments {Benei Mitzvah, non-minors} are not acting appropriately, to take down and to burn the fire.

And so he said, that his father, Maharam {=Moshe} Segal {Segan Leviim} would protest, in the days of his youth, that they should not take down any Succah nor burn the fire on Simchat Torah.
{IIRC, in the critical edition of Maharil I was reading, or elsewhere in the Maharil, it was brought down that despite this position of his father, Maharil would specifically make sure children would take from his succah for this purpose, perhaps because this way they would not be committing theft as well, by taking aravot which did not belong to them and which the owners were not OK with them taking. But I would have to look back in that edition.

As Lurker points out, and as the Jewish Week article mentioned,
"At the end of the holiday, Samaritans burn the sukkah’s branches."

A bit earlier in the book (pg 101), we have clear reference to the arava, where he says "lehachazik et ha'aravah."

Note: Even though this is a halachic source, and does not contain any {or much} of my own contributions, not to be taken halacha lemaaseh. Consult your local Orthodox rabbi.

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