Happy Sukkot! (Sukkot Sameach!)
Sukkot, aka the Feast of Booths, is one of the holidays commanded in the Hebrew Scriptures. During the 8 days of Sukkot, families are to construct booths to remember what it was like for the Israelites to live without homes in the wilderness for 40 years.
It is also a harvest festival, so it’s a thanksgiving celebration, an opportunity to take stock of all the Lord has provided for you.
Last year was the first time we really celebrated Sukkot and I was determined to build the booth (aka, sukkah) myself. Although the Bible doesn’t specify many rules about construction of a sukkah, tradition maintains that the rooftop must be made of organic matter and covered with branches thickly enough to provide some shelter from the elements, but thinly enough that you can still see the moon and stars.
So, we headed down to Home Depot, scooped up some clearance lumber, and A. and I got to work, hammering away at a simple box-frame structure. How hard could it be to make a little lean-to in the backyard?
Turns out: incredibly hard.
I’m lots of things, but not a carpenter. In the end we had to secure part of the sukkah to our fence with bungees just to keep it from completely falling over. I also forbade anyone from entering the sukkah, touching the sukkah, or breathing on the sukkah. So alas, we could not do the traditional thing of sharing a meal as a family in the sukkah. Sad face.
This year I decided to splurge on the real thing: a genuine sukkah courtesy of the fine people at The Sukkah Project <www.sukkot.com>.
You can see it in the above photo: metal pipes that fit together (no tools required!), a mesh curtain to go around, and bamboo poles (organic matter!) on top. To top it off, we used about 10% of our yard debris from the wake of Hurricane Matthew to cover the roof.
Clean-up from a hurricane and celebrate the Jewish festivals: win-win!
On Sunday evening, the first night of Sukkot this year, we welcomed our church group over for an informal pot-luck, time of worship, and quick lesson on the history of Sukkot. Then the next night, the four of us had a family dinner on a picnic blanket inside the sukkah. Even better: after dinner, we made a fire and roasted smores!
I told Courtney that if given the opportunity to stare at the ocean all day or stare at a fire all night, I’d choose fire. The crackling and popping, the sparks wafting up through the air, the flames dancing and laughing… what a treat to be outside, especially now that the weather in Florida is slooooowly making a turn towards fall.