By Rabbi Y. Hoffman
According to their website, “Clics are colored plastic building blocks that clic together to form hundreds of different models, limited only by the imagination of the child.
They are “produced in bite-proof safe, polypropylene, they are durable and able to withstand prolonged use under all conditions.”
The question is: Are there any halachos about the use of the Sukkah’s clics after Yom Tov is over?
The Sukkas Chaim cites the Zichron L’Moshe which relates a fascinating story about the Chasam Sofer. The Chasam Sofer had a Yeshiva in Pressburg where students came to study with him from far and wide. There was one bochur who, while taking down the Sukkah after the Yom Tov, callously stepped upon the branches that were used for the Schach. The Chasam Sofer felt that the young man’s insensitivity to something that was just used for the Mitzvah of Sukkah was not an insignificant issue. The Chasam Sofer refused to take the young man as a student in his Yeshiva.
The issue, of course, is based on the Gemorah in Megillah 26b that states that items used for a Mitzvah (Tashmishei Mitzvah) may be thrown out. Yet we do find (Shabbos 22a) that a use that is demeaning or undignified is forbidden. The term used by the Poskim is Tashmish shel Bizayon.
In regard to our Clics Sukkah we, therefore, have three questions:
1] What exactly defines a Sukkah? Is it the Schach and the four walls? Or is it just whatever is under the Schach (provided, of course, that what is under meets the size and stability requirements)?
2] The second question is do we look at the walls of the Sukkah, or rather, the former walls of the Sukkah, in the same way that we look at the Schach - or the former Schach?
3] Our third and final question is what is the status of the general use of Clics? Is a child’s playing with tiny pieces of Clics considered an undignified use of the Sukkah parts? Would the Chasam Sofer have accepted the child’s father into his Yeshiva or Kollel?
The Mishna Brurah (638:24) writes , “Even after Sukkos, a person should not walk upon the woods of the Sukkah for they are Tashmishei Mitzvah, like Tzitzis and a lulav etc, and therefore one should protest those people who throw out the woods of the Schach outside - to a place where the masses trample - even if it is not a trash dump.” The wording of the Mishna Brurah seems to indicate that it the concern is only for the Schach and not the Sukkah wall material.
The same indication can be derived from the words of the TaZ (OC 21:2) and the Aruch HaShulchan (OC 638:12).
However, the Mishnas Yaakov (Vol. III #84) specifically writes that one should be stringent even regarding a demeaning use of the Sukkah walls. The Munkatcher Rebbe in his Minchas Elazar (Vol I #15) writes that the Sukkah walls should not be used after the holiday to make a fence to surround his cows. The Pri Magadim (MZ 21:2) rules stringently as well.
Perhaps the argument is dependent upon what exactly defines a Sukkah. Rashi in his comment to the first Mishna in Sukkah writes, “VeAll shaim haschach Kruyah Sukkah - that the Sukkah is called Sukkah by virtue of the Schach. Tosfos in Shabbos 7b seems to indicate that walls are not, in fact, essential to the definition of a Sukkah. Both the Ran and Ritvah on Sukkah 4b seem to understand the position of Rava in the issue of Gud Asik as requiring real walls for a Sukkah.
Perhaps this indication of the Tosfos is the underlying rationale of the Poskim that only mention a demeaning use of the Schach - that walls are only a condition in the Sukkah but not an essential part of it’s definition. Perhaps those Poskim that require us to be stringent in the use of the walls as well hold that walls do comprise an essential part of the Sukkah’s definition.
So what is the final ruling?
This author, of course, does not wish to be known as the “Grinch that Stole Sukkos” and would like to suggest that an item that is used for to provide joy and happiness to children cannot and should not be defined as a demeaning or degrading use.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.