By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times

The bracha that is recited on the Sukkah is “Blessed are You..who has sanctified us with His mitzvos and commanded us to sit in the Sukkah.” But what do these words actually mean?


The Rambam (Hilchos Sukkah 6:12) writes that the words are quite literal. They mean to actually sit down. It is because of his understanding that he requires the blessing to be recited while standing – so that he can immediately sit down right before he performs the Mitzvah.


The Rosh (Sukkah 4:3), on the other hand, understands the words “Laishev BaSukkah” to mean “remain within” rather than “to sit.” According to this translation of the blessing the remaining refers to every instance of being in the Sukkah – not just sitting in it. On account of this, the Rosh writes that the blessing should be recited immediately before the eating, since eating is the means of establishing oneself in the Sukkah.


The Ramban has a third interpretation of the words “Laishev BaSukkah.” He understands it to mean “to dwell in it.” This is different than the Rosh’s understanding of “remaining in it.”
So how do we actually Pasken? The Shulchan Aruch (OC 643:2) rules in accordance with the Rambam. Yet the Ramah (ibid) states that the custom is to follow the Rosh and to bless while sitting.


The Pri Magadim, however, writes that even according to the custom of reciting the blessing while sitting, it is still a good idea to have the Rambam’s translation in mind when reciting the bracha.

As reported by Vos Iz Neias