Exactly one month ago, we were putting the final touches on our Sukkahs,
which served as our “homes-away-from-home” for the subsequent week. In
addition to eating in the sukkah, many people sleep in the sukkah as
well, as a component of “living in the Sukkah,” if and when the
conditions are right. Indeed, during Sukkot, we are to live in the
sukkah in the same manner as we live in our homes the rest of the year.

a group of people chose to fulfill the mitzvah in its ideal form by
sleeping in the sukkah, but one of those individuals snores heavily and
the snorer’s presence would prevent the others from sleeping. How would
Jewish law handle this situation? Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the rabbi of Bet
El in Israel, analyzed this question.

A principle of the laws of Sukkah is that someone who is very uncomfortable, in Hebrew mitzta’er,
is exempt from living in the Sukkah. With the exception of the first
night of Sukkot (and the second night outside of Israel to a lesser
extent), many people leave the sukkah when it rains, when it is
excessively hot or cold or when faced with other impediments to our
comfort. According to some contemporary sages (Rabbi Yosef Shalom
Elyashiv and his son-in-law, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky) those who would be
unable to sleep due to snoring, are considered mitzta’er, and as such, would be exempt from sleeping in the sukkah.

rabbis disagree. Some feel that this law should not be viewed from the
perspective of fulfilling the laws of Sukkot, but rather, seen in the
context of basic human decency, that it’s not ok to keep people awake,
even inadvertently. As such, the snorer who is causing damage (lack of
sleep), should be the one to leave the sukkah.

Asher Weiss, a renowned Israeli decisor of Jewish law, offered 3 reasons
why the snorer should leave. He argues that there is precedent when
performing a mitzvah, that we defer to the majority over the minority.
He also feels that the snorer, by leaving the sukkah, allows others to
sleep in peace, and, thus, fulfills a mitzvah. Finally, in general, one
should not do anything that would prevent others from sleeping.

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