“During seven days you shall live in huts (sukkot), all Israelites must live in huts. This is so that your future generations will know that I ‘accommodated/hosted’ the children of Israel in huts when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
” (Lev. 23:44).
The rabbis explained that in order to fulfill this Mitzva we should leave our residence and settle in the Sukka. They said that “All seven days of the festival, each person should turn the sukka into his permanent residence, and his house into the temporary one”
Living in the sukka means that all regular activities we do at home should take place in the sukka.
MEALS: Except when it rains (this year the NY weather forecast is not predicting rain, at least for the first two days of Sukkot!) we should have all our meals in the sukka. According to Jewish Law, all formal meals –which are defined by the recitation of hamotzi and birkat hamazon– must take place in the sukka. That is why when having a formal meal we recite the berakha: ….asher kiddeshanu bemitzvotav vetztivanu leesheb basukka.
MEZONOT: Pastries, cakes, cookies, etc. (mezonot) should also be eaten inside the sukka.
SNACKS: A light snack (a fruit, a salad, a soda) might be eaten outside the sukka. The rabbis, however, praised the pious Jew who during the festival of Sukkot would not eat or drink anything outside the sukka.
SLEEPING: Sleeping in the sukka is an essential part of the Mitzva of establishing ourselves in the sukka. However, the fulfillment of this Mitzva depends on a few factors: weather condition (cold temperatures and obviously rain) and the physical condition (health, sensitivity to cold, age, etc.) of each individual. In some areas, safety concerns, like the possible presence of animals outdoors, etc. could also be a factor to be excused from sleeping in the sukka.
All other regular activities that we normally do at home, like studying, reading, relaxing, etc. should be done in the sukka as well.