Why the Modern Sukkah Needs Wireless Internet

Oct. 14 2022

“Dwell in booths [Hebrew, sukkot] seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.” The Talmud understands this commandment as requiring that one eat and conduct everyday activities in this hut-like structure. Gil Student explores a modern-day implication of this requirement:

A sukkah needs to be usable. Rabbi Moses Isserles (16th-century Poland) writes that a sukkah in which you cannot do certain basic things is an invalid sukkah. . . . According to Isserles, [then], does a sukkah today need WiFi?

I ask this because many people cannot take vacation from work for all of Sukkot. They have to work on some or all of ḥol ha-mo’ed [the last six days of the holiday, during which work and other activities are permitted]. However, particularly since the changes to work habits caused by COVID-19, many people will work from home during Sukkot. Do they need to work in their sukkah? If they do, they probably need WiFi in their sukkah so they can work. If so, a lack of WiFi might raise questions about the validity of the sukkah of someone who needs to work.

Therefore, it would seem that if you have to work from home, you should set up a workstation in your sukkah. If that requires WiFi, then you should make sure your WiFi extends to your sukkah and use it only for things that are permissible in a sukkah. It might even be true that according to Isserles, your sukkah is invalid if you cannot work inside it. . . . However, according to the Mishnah Berurah, [a highly regarded early-20th-century halakhic compendium], even though you should be able to work from your sukkah, if you for whatever reason you cannot, your sukkah is still kosher.

Read more at Torah Musings

More about: Halakhah, Internet, Sukkot

Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria