Dude… Where’s my Sukka?

Sukkot in Israel is a very different thing than in the States. In the States, we make a Sukka, usually… but only if we are involved with Judaism on a marginally deeper level. There are many ideas about Sukkot and why we are supposed to build one and live in it for seven days, but the most convincing argument comes directly from The Big Guy. He doesn’t say anything about the Arbaim Menim (Four Species), Palm, Citroen, Myrtle, and Willow, but he does say that we need to dwell in the Sukka for seven days. I think we add another day for Simchat Torah because the holiday is actually 8 days long. Before the Holiday begins, right on the heels of Yom Kippur (the very religious actually start as soon as the fast is over) we start to build the Sukka and this leaves us very little time to get it done and livable. There are kids dragging the Skach (branches and leaves for the roof) around all over the place and funny little carts selling it in the Religious neighborhoods. The trees are trimmed all over the country and the branches are left for everyone to collect. Almost everyone builds a Sukka, Religious, Secular, Conservative and Reform and there are Sukku’s all over the place and in the strangest places. There are very specific rules about how it should be built but a lot of room for many variations like small little low ceiling ones for sleeping in and giant party ones built in front of restaurants and hotels.

I walked through the ultra religious neighborhood of Mea Sharim (100 Gates) in Jerusalem on the first day of Sukkot and it was absolutely incredible to see all the little nooks and crannies with these funny little huts built on them. They were on the roofs and built on little meter size merpesets (balconies). They were hanging off the sides of buildings with makeshift Robinson Crusoe stilts holding them up. We also have a few of this caliber in the neighborhood here in Zichron in which I study at the Yeshiva sometimes. Simply Amazing… G-D commanded us to build a little play fort, and to dwell in it. It is like when we were kids and our parents told us to “Go out and Play”! That is exactly what Sukkot is, a whole week of playing. And that is how our Sukkot holiday started. We invited friends two nights in a row and had wonderful dinner parties (thanks to my wonderful wife Adele for such hard work to do this). We moved right into the work week with more parties until Adele and Josh went back to Jerusalem to attend a party at her Brothers house and Zach and I stayed home. Well, what is this leading up too you ask? And what is the deal with the picture above you ask? Now you’re getting the idea… Dude, the dog, wanted to have some fun in the Sukka also. He got a little carried away with his impromptu decorating though. He must have felt that the cloth walls were just a little too claustrophobic and to the best of his ability (you know, dogs lack opposing thumbs so they have to use teeth) and in a very artistically expressionistic style he removed only the bottom half of two and a half walls. He was so proud of himself when I got home from work. He was strutting right through where there used to be walls with only a slight hop over the remaining metal frame… Oy.

So, we had planed to have a few more little parties with friends but I just couldn’t get behind it after the remodel. (If you didn’t get invited this year this is our official excuse, and… sorry, next year for sure.) Today is the last day of Sukkot and I have another half day off of work for Simchat Torah. This is the celebration of the Torah! Tomorrow I am off work too! The kids have been off of school for two weeks now. I think that they only went to school for two weeks between summer and Rosh Hashanah. Wow, it will be good for them to get back to work on there little futures… Hope everyone had a great holiday season this year,

Love to you all,
Noll’s of Zichron.
(By the way, I found out what Noll means in Hebrew… Weaving Loom, interesting haw?)

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