MISHNAH: THE MEALS OF SUKOS
(R. Eliezer): One is obligated to eat 14 meals in the Sukah (one each day and one each night).
(Chachamim): There is no minimum.
(R. Eliezer): One who did not eat the first meal in the Sukah may make it up, even on the night of Shemini Atzeres.
(Chachamim): There is no way to make up a missed meal.
THE OBLIGATION TO EAT
Question: What is the rationale of R. Eliezer?
Answer: One must dwell in the Sukah as one resides at home, eating one meal in the day and one at night.
Question: Then what do the Chachamim hold?
Answer: Even at home one may skip a meal if he desires.
Question: Then why is a person obligated to eat even the first meal in the Sukah?
Answer: It is derived from the parallel to the first night of Pesach, where eating is obligatory.
Question: Whence that eating on the first night of Pesach is obligatory and not optional?
Answer: The Pasuk mandates eating Matzah that night.
MAKING UP A MEAL
Question: How could a person replace the first meal in the Sukah the remaining meals of Sukos are, themselves, obligatory (and one may not eat in the Sukah on Shemini Atzeres)?
Answer: R. Eliezer retracted his position regarding the remaining days, thus allowing for the replacement meal.
Question: How does one replace a meal?
Answer: With bread.
Question: That is nothing unique and there is no way of identifying that as a replacement!?
Answer: He replaces it with eating delicacies after a meal (as supported by the Beraisa).
RULINGS BY R. ELIEZER
Question (the guardian of King Agripas to R. Eliezer): May I follow my normal custom of eating only one Seudah per day (assuming that R. Eliezer still maintains that one is obligated in two Seudos per day-Ritva).
Answer: Surely a person like yourself can dedicate one appetizer to the honor of your Creator!
Question: Am I permitted to leave my Sukah (and family) in one city to join my Sukah (and family) in another?
Answer: No, since I have ruled that leaving the Sukah cancels the previous days of the Mitzvah.
(R. Eliezer): One may not move from Sukah to Sukah, nor build a Sukah on Chol ha'Moed.
(Chachamim): One may do both.
They agree that a collapsed Sukah may be rebuilt.
Question: What is R. Eliezer's rationale?
Answer: The Pasuk dictates that the Sukah must be fit for seven days.
Question: How will the Chachamim understand the Pasuk?
Answer: It instructs that the Sukah be made on the Chag, at any point during the Chag.
Question: Surely it is obvious that a collapsed Sukah may be rebuilt!?
Answer: We might have invalidated the rebuilt Sukah as not having been built for seven days.
PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF A SUKAH
(R. Eliezer): One must have one's own Sukah (just as one must have one's own Lulav) based on Lecha.
(Chachamim): While true of Lulav, this is not true of Sukah.
This is since the words Kol ha'Ezrach indicate that all of Israel could be under one Sukah.
Surely that Sukah is not the property of each one.
Question: How will Chachamim interpret Lecha (if, indeed, a borrowed Sukah is Kesheirah)?
Answer: It prohibits a Sukah made of stolen materials.
Question: How will R. Eliezer interpret Kol ha'Ezrach?
Answer: To allow a Sukah to be built by a convert or Bar Mitzvah during Sukos.
Question: How will the Chachamim provide for this?
Answer: Once we have ruled that a Sukah may be built on Chol ha'Moed, no special exemption is required!
VISITING ONE'S RAV
R. Ilai went to visit his Rebbi, R. Eliezer.
R. Eliezer pointed out that by leaving his wife, R. Ilai was not properly fulfilling his Regel obligations.
This is consistent with R. Eliezer's declaration that the lazy are to be praised.
For even though they remain at home due to their laziness, they benefit by properly fulfilling the Torah's obligation to bring joy to one's wife.
Question: But we have learned that it is an obligation to visit one's Rebbi on the Regel (inferred from the exchange between the Shunamis and her husband in Melachim II, 4:23)!?
Answer: That obligation holds only when he is able to visit his Rebbi and return at night.
CARE IN SAYING ONLY THAT WHICH ONE HEARD
In the reported incident, R. Eliezer refused to answer a question (regarding adding to a temporary Ohel on Shabbos) because he had not heard that Din from his teachers.
Instead, he changed the subject.
When his student acted on his own (and extended the Ohel), R. Eliezer distanced himself from the Sukah so as not to give the impression that his student was acting on his advice.
Question: In the incident we see that R. Eliezer had left his home Sukah, violating his own rule that one must not go from Sukah to Sukah!?
Answer: It is speaking on a different Regel, not Sukos.
Question: But still, he should have stayed home with his wife, according to his own teaching!?
Answer: It was a Shabbos, and not a Regel at all.
Question: But the prohibition of extending the Ohel could have been learned from R. Eliezer's own position restricting the use of a window shutter.
(R. Eliezer): The window cover may only be put in place if it has a string and is hung, having been obviously designated as removable.
(Chachamim): It may be put in place in either case.
Answer: The window cover becomes Batel to the house, and is considered building on Shabbos; whereas the sheet in the Sukah was never meant to stay there.