Q. We enjoy warm climate during sukkos and we spend a good time at the pool and at our hot tub during chol hamoed. Since we are all dressed properly for swimming, would it be correct to build a suka covered with palm leaves and with side curtain walls on top of the pool or tub, so we can comply with this important mitzva for hours? I have seen many Bnei Torah learn a sefer, wear tzitzis and recite brochos while at the (separated) pools and beaches of kosher hotels. Why should this mitzva be any different?
A. On question1076 regarding reciting brochos and learning Torah while sunbathing at a separate beach or swimming pool area, when just wearing a bathing suit and having the head covered, we wrote: “Shulchan Aruch (O.H. 74: 6) rules that for the sake of reciting the shema it suffices if one covers downwards from his loins. Therefore if one also covers his head in principle he can recite brochos and learn Torah while wearing only a bathing-suit. However, Mishna Berura (ibid. 22) rules that this is only when in need. On the onset, one should wear a robe or cover with a towel, when making a brocho and certainly when reading the shema. One should also be careful to wash and maintain the hands clean when reciting the brocho, since touching body parts that are usually covered renders them unfit.
In regards to learning Torah or reading Torah related material while sunbathing and being dressed only in a bathing-suit and wearing a kipa, Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit”a opinion is that for learning Torah when in need, you don’t have to cover completely.”
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that although, if one would eat or spend time there, one would indeed comply with this mitzva, however, in regard to the mitzva of Sukkos that is called “Tziloh Demeheimenusso,” or seating at the shade of the Shechina, and requires great respect and devotion, the Rov maintains that it is improper to do so in the above circumstances.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a