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Many people view the days of Chol HaMoed Succos as an opportunity to enjoy pleasure trips and other types of excursions. Oftentimes, however, no succah is available at the destination of these outings, raising the halachic question of whether it is permitted to eat outside a succah in reliance on the Gemara’s statement that traveler are exempt from the mitzvah of succah. We will explore a trip that will require eating outside a succah is appropriate, as well as if it is proper for pleasure trips at all.
Part One: Who is R”I HaZakein? The dynasty of Torah greatness founded by Rashi and his descendants is one of the most illustrious in Jewish history. Every student of Torah, beginner and talmid chacham alike, has benefited immeasurably from the commentaries of Rashi and his immediate descendants: Rashbam, Rabbeinu Tam, and R”I, whose combined writings are the fundamental basis of Torah learning.
As Jews, we believe fundamentally in the divinity and immutable authority of our Holy Torah. According to the Rambam, another fundamental principle is that the entire Torah was written by Moshe Rabbeinu. How, then, are we to understand the last eight psukim of the Torah, which begin, “And Moshe, servant of Hashem, died there”? If he had already died, how could Moshe have written these words?
One of the unstated (but well-understood and accepted) bases of modern science is that all phenomena — this means all, without exception — can ultimately be explained via “natural” causes. Sometimes a phenomenon is not understood or explained, but science is certain that a “natural” explanation will ultimately be found. So it comes not just as a surprise, but literally as a shock, when science makes findings that have no reasonable “natural” explanation.