The Jerusalem Post

Sukkah on wheels: Transform your car into a Sukkah

  (photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)

The Torah passages and Israel's holidays are full of important messages that are relevant and empower our day-today lives. Rabbi Shai Tahan, head of the Sha'arei Ezra community and head of the Arzi HaLebanon teaching house, opens the gates for us to understand these messages, from their source, in a clear way. This week - Sukkah on Wheels: Transform Your Car into a Sukkah

Chol Hamoed Sukkot is a cherished family time, often prompting people to plan trips and outings since children are off school, and parents are off work. However, a common question arises regarding where to go, as finding a sukkah for meals can be challenging. There is a discussion among later poskim about whether one who travels on a trip may eat outside the sukkah. 

Halacha permits travelers to eat outside the sukkah, but some poskim explain that this leniency does not apply to those who travel for pleasure (אגרות משה או״ח ח״ג סימן צג). Others argue that the Torah instructs us to dwell in the sukkah in the same manner as we do in our own homes throughout the year. Therefore, just as someone who is at home often leaves their house for trips and eats outside, similarly, during Sukkot, one may leave their sukkah to travel and eat outside it(הגרי״ש אלישיב והגר״נ קרליץ חוט שני סוכה עמוד רסז) .

Regardless, even according to the lenient opinion, one should make an effort to observe the mitzvah of Sukkot and avoid eating on the road as much as possible.


There is a well-known Gemara (מנחות מא,א) that recounts how Rabbi K’tina encountered an angel who conveyed to him that even when a person is exempt from fulfilling a mitzvah, they might still face punishment for not performing it. Specifically, the angel explained that even in situations where a person is not obligated to wear tzitzit, they could potentially incur divine anger for neglecting this mitzvah. This story serves as a reminder that there can be adverse consequences for failing to fulfill a mitzvah, even when one is technically exempt from it.

Interestingly, it's possible to create a kosher sukkah using one's car, and in this article, we'll explore a few ways to accomplish this.

Creating a Sukkah Using Two Cars:

One of the methods involves positioning two cars close to each other, effectively forming two walls for the sukkah. By leaving a door open between the cars, you create the necessary third wall for a kosher sukkah. However, there are several essential details to discuss and consider to ensure that this sukkah will indeed be kosher.

  1. Because the cars and their open doors serve as the walls of the sukkah, it's crucial to ensure that these "walls" meet the halachic requirement of not having a space underneath them that extends 3 tefachim, (each tefach equals approximately 8 centimeters or about 3 inches) which is about 9 inches. Often, there may be a gap larger than 3 tefachim beneath the cars or under an open door. In such cases, it is essential to place an object in that space to close the gap. Items like a bag, luggage, stroller, or any suitable object can be used for this purpose. Without closing this gap, the sukkah would not be considered kosher. Another option is to park close to a sidewalk, which may help close the gap under the car and meet the halachic requirements for a sukkah.
  2. Another important requirement for the walls of the sukkah is that they must have a minimum size of 7 tefachim (about 22 inches). Consequently, the door used to create the wall between the two cars must also meet this minimum size of 7 tefachim wide, which is the required minimum size for a wall in a sukkah.
  3. The minimum height for the space inside the sukkah (and the height of the walls) is 10 tefachim, which is approximately 33 inches. Given that this sukkah is relatively low due to the use of cars as walls, it's essential to ensure that the schach doesn't sag or fall to a height lower than 10 tefachim, as this would render the sukkah invalid.

Creating a Sukkah Using One Car:


When traveling alone in one car and doesn't have access to a second car for creating a sukkah, there's still a technique that can be employed. This can be achieved by parking near a gate or a wall, which serves as one wall of the sukkah. The car itself forms the second wall, and when the car door is opened, it serves as the third wall. In this setup, the schach should be placed on top of both the car and the open door.

If there are no existing walls to use, a person can still create three walls by using a sedan with two doors that open from the same side of the car. Schach can then be placed on top of these open doors.

However, when employing this method, it's crucial to adhere to the requirements mentioned above to ensure the sukkah's validity.

Creating a Sukkah Using the Car's Sunroof:

If someone has a sunroof in their car, they can use it to create a sukkah, even if the sides of the car are far from the sunroof. This is permitted based on the halacha of "dofen akuma." 

Dofen Akuma is a halacha that Moshe Rabbeinu received at Mount Sinai. In practical terms, it permits having a non-kosher roof between the wall and the schach of the sukkah.

However, several conditions must be met:

  1. The sunroof must open to a length of 7 tefachim and a width of 7 tefachim for the schach.
  2. There must be an open space under the sunroof of at least 10 tefachim.

These conditions ensure that the sunroof can be used as a valid part of the sukkah structure.

This article was written in cooperation with Shuva Israel