Rabbi David Stav, Chief Rabbi of the city of Shoham, Chairman of the Tzohar organization, and Rabbi for the Ezra youth movement, absolved Jews who live in cities with Jews and Arabs of the obligation to sleep in the sukkah during the holiday.
The question was posed on Sunday by a resident of Lod, following several shooting incidents in recent days in the diverse cities of Lod and Ramla.
The commandment to sleep in the sukkah is one of the components of the commandment to sit in the sukkah which is learned from the verse (Lev. 23:42): You shall dwell in booths seven days. The obligation to eat in the sukkah includes only large meals (with bread) and not snacking, but the obligation to sleep in the sukkah includes every type of sleep: sleeping through the night and napping.
Rabbi Stav posted on his Facebook page: “My essential response was that where there is danger one is not obligated to sleep in the sukkah. Of course, one should not infer from this local ruling, which referred to certain circumstances, to all the diverse cities and neighborhoods. The security personnel who are qualified to offer true security assessments for each locale should be consulted.
Rabbi Stav established the Tzohar organization after the Rabin assassination, together with Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, and Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein. Since 2009 he has served as the organization’s chairman. In 2013 he ran for Chief Rabbi of Israel but was rejected by Haredali rabbis over his reputation as being too lenient in halachic matters.
“These days are challenging to the residents of Lod and other communities in the diverse cities,” Rabbi Stav wrote and extended his blessing to them for the “mighty pioneering enterprise of which you are a part.”
Now, not all rabbis agree with Rabbi Stav.
Rabbi Yisrael Samet, the rabbi of the Garin Torani of Lod (Lod’s religious core community) said that after discussions with security officials, sleeping in the Sukkah is allowed, but everyone should make their own personal decisions based on their feelings [of safety] where they live. If they are worried, then they don’t have to sleep in the Sukkah.