So I signed up for this challenge, and it starts today. Ummm… I don’t think I have time for it. It has its challenges to live in a country that is ‘out of sinc’ with most of the rest of the world. For everybody else it is just another October Wednesday. For us it is the 14th of Tishre. Which means tonight will be the 15th of Tishre. Which means that tonight the Festival of Booths, Sukkot will start. Today is a very busy day in Israel.
Today we will:
– cover our sukka (booth) and decorate it (we put the skeleton up earlier this week but that was all we managed)
– cook for the festive meal and for tomorrow too
– do the rest of the shopping, because there is always something we forgot to buy earlier
– Oh, and I would nearly forget that our house is in bad need of cleaning…
You probably wonder what I am doing here, in front of the computer. I do too. It has to do with focus, I suppose.
During Sukkot, as prescribed in Leviticus 23, we are supposed to live in booths for a week, to remind us of the time of the exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites lived in booths in the desert. The idea is to leave your safe house and live in a temporary structure, so you can realize your dependence on God. This can be challenging. For one thing, our sukka is really small. A table and a few chairs already make it very crowded. So we will not live in it. We will take most of our meals there, but still use our house for the rest of the time. (The rabbis decided that eating in the sukka constitutes the minimum requirement for ‘living in booths’. The literal term is ‘sitting’ in booths, though the term obviously means ‘living’.)
We don’t have a garden or a balcony (we live on the 2nd floor) so we put our sukka next to our building on a small tiled place. It is an out-of-the way place behind a hedge of oleander, where only cats and dogs visit the other 51 weeks of the year (and smokers who are not allowed to smoke in their apartment, like our neighbor downstairs) so the first thing I did on Sunday was clean it up a little. The going up and down the stairs with food, utensils and other things we need ‘down there’ will also be a little challenging. Nevertheless, the Bible calls this holiday the ‘time of our joy’. We are commanded to enjoy ourselves! And we will. Happy holiday!