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The Sukkah in both the physical and spiritual sense

The sukkah is said to be a sacred spiritual shroud for all elements of the physical body as the entire body is encased within it.


Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer argued whether the sukkah in the desert was an actual physical sukkah or in fact a cloud of honour.


The Gemara ruled that that whilst our actual physical bodies sit inside the sukkah our actual souls sit within clouds of honour.



The mental element according to the Penal Code.


The Latin saying rea sit mens nisi reum facit non actus roughly translated is the idea that no criminal act is committed without the accompaniment of criminal thought.

The current and accepted meaning of this principle is that criminal liability is conditional upon proving the mental foundation of the suspect - See Amendment No. 39, introduced into the Penal Code in 1995, sections 19-20.


According to the customary law of nations, mental foundations were not formerly any one single element but a collection of several. These include cognitive components (for example awareness and suspicion), willful components (such as intention, apathy and frivolity) and normative components (such as negligence) which together form the different categories of the entire mental element.


At this point the different legal systems diverge and the different mental components are slightly altered.


This idea has often been given literary expression.

For example, in Dostoevsky’s book 'Crime and Punishment' one of his marginal characters voices the following ridicule: "With the help of logic alone it is impossible to jump over nature."



The demand for awareness of the mental element brings us back to the division between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer as to whether awareness is physical or even conceptual and the fact that we need to unite the two.


The sukkah gives us the perfect opportunity to unite the two in order to observe the mitzvah. We physically 'sit in the sukkah' with the transcendental spiritual awareness that we are actually sitting within clouds of honour.

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