Q. Is a canvas sukkah kosher if the walls move in the wind?
A. Sukkah walls that move in a regular wind are not valid walls. There are different opinions as to what type of movement invalidates a sukkah. To satisfy all opinions, the walls should not move in the wind at all (see Yechaveh Daas 3:46). This standard is difficult to achieve with a canvas sukkah.
In the past few years, some sukkah merchants have addressed this concern by including stretchable straps with the canvas walls. The straps wrap around the sukkah. The first strap should be placed 40 inches above the ground. The next strap should be placed less than 9 inches below the first, and each subsequent strap should be placed within 9 inches of the strap above it, until the bottom strap is within 9 inches of the ground. Depending on the thickness of the straps, this will require stretching either four or five straps around the sukkah. This series of straps which do not move in the wind are considered halachically acceptable walls, based on a concept known as lovud. The principal of lovud states that the space between two objects that are within three tefachim (approximately 9 inches) of each other, is treated as sealed in the eyes of halachah. Thus the series of taut straps placed within 9 inches of each other form a halachically valid wall, irrespective of the canvas.
This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.