We've talked about whether you can take down your sukkah mid-Sukkot, but what about your sukkah decorations? If you'd like to transfer decorations from one sukkah to another, can you take them down? Rabbi Elefant discusses.
There's a very important question that every Jewish child who has grandparents has.
In all the yeshivas and all the schools and all the day schools, children prepare sukkah decorations to hang in the sukkah and they want to show it off to their parents and to their grandparents and to their relatives. So what happens if you have a sukkah decoration hanging in your sukkah and you want to take it down? You want to take it down to go because you're by one set of grandparents for part of yom tov and by another set of grandparents for other part of yom tov, and you want all of the grandparents to see the beautiful decorations that your children made. So the halachah is that just like you're not allowed to take apart a sukkah on chol hamoed, you're not allowed to remove the sukkah decorations from the sukkah on Sukkos.
The halachic concept is called huktzah l'mitzvasai, the sukkah decorations have been set aside. Huktzah means designated for the mitzvah, for the mitzvah of Sukkos. And you can't take off the decorations from the sukkah. So, again, if somebody wants to take off the decorations on chol hamoed, because again, it's convenient to take off the decorations, on chol hamoed that that is not permitted.
However, if someone wants to remove the sukkah decorations, because there's a real good reason. Because they want to put it up in another sukkah that they will be eating in. So two conditions need to be met in order to allow that. First of all, and this is not the forum, but when we discuss hilchos muktzeh in certain types of muktzeh, if before Shabbos or before yom tov, you say, I don't want it to be huktzah, I don't want it to be designated it to that spot and to that area for the entire time, that condition at times works.
So if you know that you're going to want to take off your decoration on Sukkos, before Sukkos, when you put up the decoration, say or think, I'm not putting it up, that should remain there in this spot and this sukkah for the entire duration of Sukkos. But that isn't enough.
You also need, if you're taking it off, to hang it up elsewhere. So again, if you make a condition before yom tov that you're going to be taking it off. And when you take it off, you don't just take it off because you want to put it away in storage for next year, but you're taking it off so you should hang it up in another sukkah where you and others will be able to enjoy it, then it may be permissible.
For more on Yom Tov:
For more with Rabbi Elefant, watch OU & You!