Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Sukkah fiasco at the Rye Town Hilton by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

Five Towns Jewish Times     If the facts reported are correct, the events that unfolded this past Sukkos at the Rye Town Hilton are a bit shocking.  Apparently, a few hours before Sukkos began, the Westchester Department of Buildings came down and forbade use of the Sukkah designated for use by over 200 guests.  They then actually confiscated the Schach to ensure that the Sukkah not be used.  Although the tour operators offered to post 24 guards and fire personnel to ensure the safety of the guests, the offer was not accepted.

It seems that some people did get hold of two pop-up sukkos and the three days of Yom Tov were spent with the guests switching off making kiddush in these two smaller sukkos.

There is no doubt that hearing and reading of this incident will cause quite a stir, however, in this article we will deal solely with the halachic aspects of the incident.

The issues can be divided into two parts:  The first is how best to handle the situation from a halachic perspective.  The second issue is how best to try and ameliorate the lack of a Sukkah on Yom Tov.

Regarding the first issue, it would seem that the hotel kitchen staff should prepare mini portions of meat and challah.  Each male guest should wash before entering  one of the two pop-up Sukkos, make Kiddush on wine,  Hamotzi on bread and eat the mini meat portion.  He should then bentch.  The entire process should take between five and seven minutes.  He may have a second meal in the regular hotel and avoid mezonos foods, bread, and wine. [...]


  1. While I can sympathize with people who have spent serious money to have a Sukkos vacation without worries or cares, and I can fargin those who make their living from this industry of Jewish holiday vacations, part of me wants to shout out and exclaim - "You're all missing the point!"

    Our holidays were not established so as to absolve ourselves, our nashim tzidkanios and our dear children of all responsibilities. They are chock-full of opportunities to enhance our relationship with HKB"H through our own efforts and the sweat of our brows. I sat in a Sukkah built with my own time and effort, and with the happy help of my kids. They then decorated it beautifully. My wife worked hard preparing sumptuous meals that we enjoyed, both with guests and just by ourselves (200 strangers? uhuh)

    We worked hard and enjoyed greatly. I actually feel sorry for children who grow up thinking that aliyah l'regel means going to a hotel to be overfed and overindulged for a week or more.

    I understand that there are those for whom hotels are a good choice - even the right choice, such as elderly couples, apartment dwellers and others who cannot build a Sukkah. But for those who toss aside their yiddishe heim for room service and bedbugs, I just don't get it. And your own Sukkah sits stacked in the garage and murmurs "where are you?"

    1. Here we go again...

      Someone mistaking sentimental feelings, for torah hashkafah and Judaism!!!

      If that is not the flavor of Simchah that suits you, fine don't do it!! But please don't pontificate to everyone else!!

      Soon people like you are going to go after my easy snap sukkah (sukkah depot) and those that have indoor sukkos.

      Live and let live please!!

  2. You're allowed to bentch if you're not finished eating? Sounds like a bracha levatala to me.


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