Just Being Happy is a Jewish gift for Sukkot
Everyone has their favorite Jewish holiday. Mine is Sukkot, hands down. Our sukkah is my happy place. It’s where I feel real Meaning of Life. Just being in the sukkah is my Jewish gift for Sukkot.
On Sukkot we commemorate the Divine protection that we Jews witnessed in the wilderness of the desert that we wandered for 40 long years after the miraculous Exodus from Egypt. I think there’s no better way to commemorate that than by “glamping” (glamorous camping) in the backyard (or on the driveway, as it is in my family’s case).
Our sukkah in Israel is our Jewish gift for Sukkot
Where we live in Israel, the weather during Sukkot is about as perfect as it gets, so besides putting up colorful sukkah decorations, we move our furniture out and enjoy real living in our sukkah for 7 days! When I say furniture, I don’t just mean a table and chairs. We haul our couches out to the sukkah, complete with rug and coffee table. We manage to fit our free-standing garden swings in there as well. I am not kidding when I tell you that on chol hamoed, we even roll our full-size upright piano in to the sukkah as well. (See pic below for proof!).
It’s fun to sit down in the sukkah and play happy soulful tunes at odd times of the day. The neighbors wonder where the lovely piano music is coming from…until my preschool aged grandchildren find their way to the ebony and ivory. By then my neighbors are ready to call the police for disturbance of the peace!
Being happy is a commandment from the Torah! ושמחת בחגך והיית אך שמח, And You shall be happy with your holiday, and you shall have only joy (from The Book of Numbers, Ch. 16). I hope you will find ways during this Sukkot holiday to simply be in a sukkah. While you are there, breathe in the outside air, feel closer to nature and the world beyond your own backyard (or driveway), and experience true happiness.
Nourishing the Body is part of giving yourself a Jewish gift for Sukkot
The Meaning of Life has a physical aspect. The sukkah is a temporary physical structure that hugs us in its warm embrace when we are sitting inside of it. We can look up and see the heavens through the Schach, and we are reminded from where we came and to where we are headed…
The best way to enjoy this holiday is to invite friends or family over to your sukkah. Eat, drink, play games, sing, or just hang out and enjoy the social atmosphere.
Nourishing the Soul is the other part
The spiritual aspect of sukkot is just as important. My spirits are lifted when I set my eyes on this papercut, inspired by the Sukkot holiday. (Also inspired by Rabbanit Shani Taragin, one of my most beloved teachers, who originally commissioned the art for some of her exemplary students. Shout out Shani! Hear her teach here https://outorah.org/series/3976/ )
The design is based on concepts from Megillat Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), a book written by King Solomon and chanted in the synagogue on Sukkot. It depicts four basic elements that come and go in the world but always continue to exist. They are Man, the Sun, Wind and Water. The final verse in Kohelet states that when you get down to the heart of the matter, life is about fearing G-d and keeping His commandments, “For that is man’s whole purpose.” This is a deep and meaningful Jewish message and makes a great gift for someone special. https://www.papercutjudaica.com/product/meaning-of-life-message-of-ecclesiastes/
May You be Blessed to Live a Happy Life. Chag sameach!! Happy Sukkot!