Sleeping in the sukkah
17 September, 2003
Could you explain about sleeping in a sukkah on sukkot? When I was single, I very often slept in a sukkah. I got married this year, and I know that traditionally women don’t – but some do. So, what should we do:
-if I were niddah during sukkot?
-if I knew I would be tehorah for all of sukkot?
-if mikveh night fell out in sukkot? (can/should relations take place in davka a sukkah or is it better to be in the house etc)
Thank you for a most amazing website!
Mazal tov on your recent marriage!
While women are not obligated in sukkah, women are permitted and encouraged to fulfill the mitzvah voluntarily. As you note, practice regarding sleeping in the sukkah varies among different communities, families, and individual women.
There is a mitzvah on the holiday of Sukkot to “dwell” in the sukkah as one would normally dwell in one’s permanent house. Therefore, weather permitting, men are obligated to sleep in the sukkah. Since married couples sleep together in the same bedroom, the implication may be that a wife should sleep together with her husband in the sukkah. Others suggest that since a husband and wife usually sleep privately in their own bedroom, and this is sometimes not possible in the sukkah, it would not be a mitzvah for a married man to sleep in the sukkah apart from his wife, since this would not be how he normally “dwells.” There is also a mitzvah for a couple to rejoice together on the holiday, and sleeping in separate spaces may interfere with that (in or out of niddah). In practice, whether a woman (or man) sleeps in a sukkah depends on various factors, including individual preferences, the family situation, and local custom.
A married couple may both sleep in the sukkah during niddah if there is sufficient room for separate beds (or mattresses, sleeping bags, etc.).
In theory, marital relations are permitted in the sukkah. Practically, this depends greatly on the structure and location of the sukkah and the degree of privacy and modesty the sukkah allows. Where a sukkah is not suitable for relations, the couple would have relations inside the house, which itself fulfills a mitzvah, and the couple may choose to spend the rest of the night indoors together.
If mikveh night falls out during Sukkot, the couple should make every effort to have relations, though they are permitted to mutually agree to postpone them.
This response was updated on 22 September, 2023.
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