Over the first days of Sukkot, a TorahTutors student read an original poem, in the style of Dr. Seuss, about the rules of Sukkot and the building of a sukkah, which included the following lines:
…You can build it in an alley
You can build it in a valley
(You shouldn’t build it in a valley)
You can build it on a wagon
You can build it on a dragon…© Rabbi Arthur E. Gould 1999-2006
Having learned the Gemara at the beginning of Sukkah, our student immediately pushed back on the parenthetical qualifier, which seemed to her to negate the previous line: “But you *can* build it in a valley, if – hypothetically – you were to remove the mountains and the sukkah would still provide the shade. That’s one opinion, anyway.”
The opinion for which she was speaking up is that of Rabbi Zeira (Sukkah 2a), according to whom the requirement that a sukkah be shorter than 20 amot stems from the need for the roof – not the walls of the sukkah – to provide shade. Adjacent mountains, then, may also not provide shade that would render the sukkah’s roof irrelevant.
These are the real-life – and hypothetical – questions for which we love to prepare our students.
We love to see them learning and applying what they’ve learned in all aspects of life – the epitome of real Torah, from real TorahTutors sessions.