Monday, March 06, 2006

Why I’m Glad That Every Day of My Life Isn’t Sukkot

While everyone is ranting about how much they love Sukkot, this holiday always makes me a raving lunatic. Don't get me wrong, in theory I agree that Sukkot should be a happy chag, with lots of good holiday spirit and peace among Jews (and mankind). Yet the weeklong party in the booth situation tends to get out of hand.

Living in Israel, the weather is usually great around Sukkot. It’s perfect for setting up the Sukkah, and dwelling within its walls. However, the past few years it’s been harder and harder for me to get the sukkah set up. My wife likes to have a lot of company, and so I’m forced to constantly upgrade to the next bigger sukkah. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that the directions for set up are all in Swedish. Why is that? It’s because the cheapest way to upgrade your sukkah out here is to just go to Ikea in Netanya and trade the old one in. So I now have a dozen different allen keys and don’t know what to do with them. I don’t even know who allen (or is it alan? Or maybe ilon?) is. And you know how the Ikea directions are -- even if you can follow them, once you get to step five, there’s no turning back. And it’s step six that throws you and makes you realize that you messed up the first five steps. And then it’s back to Ikea. So that’s how I generally spend the two weeks prior to Sukkot. I hate the chag even before it has started.

Then, there’s the dreaded lulav/etrog situation. I have the great misfortune to be severely allergic to anything close to etrogim and so I must use a lemon. However, I’ve never told my wife. Now, my wife is such a wonderful woman, that every Sukkot she makes a habit of inviting several ba’alei teshuva to our sukkah where, for many of them, this is their first Sukkot as religious Jews. Many of them wouldn’t know a lulav if you whacked them in the head with one at shul. That goes for the etrog as well. But my etrog isn’t an etrog. And every Sukkot my wife says, “Jameel, why don’t you take our guests into the sukkah and make the brachot with them over the lulav and etrog?” Of course, I cannot refuse. But I don’t want them to make the wrong bracha. Inevitably, we make ha-eitz over the phony etrog and I slice it and give them a piece.

“Here, eat it,” I say, glancing over my shoulder to make sure my beautiful wife isn’t watching.

“You’re supposed to eat it? Ha! I had no idea.”

“Yes, but hurry,” I say, trying to block the window of my sukkah from our kitchen. ”You don’t want to lose the mitzvah.”

“Okay. Hey! This tastes like a lemon!”

“Funny, eh?”

Of course, this is unsettling for me, so soon after Yom Kippur. But I don’t want to talk about that. What is really disconcerting is how many lemons I go through during chol hamoed.
Another problem is that often I am unable to fix the sukkah in time, due to the Ikea time crunch. So, while you’re wondering how I’ve been able to successfully keep my etrog-lemon a secret from my wife, I’ll just let you in on a little secret. Very often, after the BT lemon-lulav shake and eat, someone (yes, myself) leans a bit too hard on a wall, it collapses, and then everyone is so preoccupied picking up felled bits of tinsel, wood, and random plastic fruits that by then they’ve forgotten that they ate a lemon.

Other problems that I have encountered on Sukkot are those pesky squatters who seem to move into the sukkah when my back is turned. They hook into my electric, my cable, and my internet, and the next thing I know, I’m next door eating at their sukkah because mine has been taken over by a bunch of Haaretz leftists who are singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” and causing the neighbors to throw large stones at my house.

Will I survive another Sukkot, lemon usage undetected?

Will the chol hamoed squatters break my ability to pay my bills and keep my neighbors?

And then, will G*d finally punish me this year for my lemon trickery?

Will I succeed in making it through another Sukkot?


Sukkot makes me psycho.

Whatever you do, don’t lean on my blog.


Blogger elf said...

Soooo funny!

5:08 PM  
Blogger StepIma said...

this spoof may be my favorite :)

8:43 AM  
Anonymous bob said...

this is the best one

6:04 PM  
Anonymous sukkah said...

Dwelling in the sukkah is one of the mitzvahs of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
It is a mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah for seven days.
It is written in the Torah (Vayikrah / Leviticus 23:42) "You shall dwell in sukkot for seven days; every inhabitant of Israel shall dwell in sukkot. In order that your generation shall know that I caused the Jews to dwell in sukkot when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your G-d." In commemoration of this we are commanded to build a sukkah in order to remember the great and wondrous deeds of G-d

3:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found those articles extremely helpful and interesting.

I came across it while looking for some information on Kol Nidrei. I play cello and am performing in the service this coming Yom Kippur.
The extremely odd thing about this coincidence, is that I literally just had the sort of epiphany kind of moment "Sukkah" was just discussing.

Long story short, I found your article
very interesting and helpful,
especially since I only came across it because I was doing some research in terms of a musical background.

My Hebrew name means "Sabbath Blessing", and I happened to be turning sixteen this very year, in the Jewish calendar.

Most interestingly, related to this topic, I spent the entire week dwelling on WHY it is that my whole life, I have had this intense relationship between music as a science, and religion / spirituality as a general subject.

Point being, I just came to this epiphany kind of moment, the other night, when I tired myself out, fairly unintentionally, for reasons unrelated to my musical career.

Thank you for this article,it was very helpful
to me.

5:54 AM  

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