Sukkah Design

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
After 15 years of faithful service, the timber of our Succah is now rotting and requires replacing.
I am designing a new timber succah and want to clarify a couple of halachic issues.
1) In order to make the sechach more wind resistant , I want the sechach to rest on wooden battens six inches below the top of the walls. I want to double check whether there is any halachic objection if I fix these sechach-supporting battens to the structure with screws/bolts.
2) In order to make the whole structure more stable, I would like to attach 6 wooden battens with screws between my house wall and the opposite succah wall – this would have the effect of there being 6  wooden battens 6 inches above the sechach which are fixed with screws at each end – Is this a problem?
Many thanks for your continued help, advice and support.

Hi Stan
TY for your advance-planning email.
Your sukkah plans sound fine. Just bear in mind that the sukkah must be built sufficiently to withstand a typical Golders Green autumn wind prior to laying the sekhakh in place. The reason for this is that the sekhakh must be placed upon a structure which qualifies as a sukkah with regard to walls and durability. One may not place the sekhakh first and then build the walls. My concern is that if the walls require the reinforcement of the upper battens, the structure may be regarded as unsound until that point, which may be tantamount to placing the sekhakh first and building the walls second—which could invalidate the sukkah.
But if you adhere to this consideration it should be fine.
Best wishes and Shana tovah
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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