Things I learned in the sukkah this year

1. New Jersey has pretty good weather, all things considered. At least this year.

2. I don’t always sit in the sukkah for the connection to the past. Sometimes I do it for the peace and quiet. Sometimes I do it because it’s a simple reminder that you don’t need all the clutter that usually surrounds you. The Rashbam taught that the sukkah is a lesson in humility – everything you eat and need comes from God. All the other stuff you usually have isn’t really important.

3. These two guys are building a sukkah. One of them is bragging about how strong he is, and how he could beat anyone in strength. “Fine,” says his friend. “I’ll bet you $100 that I can take something over to my house in this wheelbarrow and you won’t be able to wheel it back.” …

4. Nothing lasts forever. Even the best sukkah is temporary.

5. Sitting in a sukkah reminds you of those less fortunate, those most exposed to the elements. A sukkah is counter-cultural. When everything around us is pushing a message of consumerism, of materialism, of greed, the sukkah is a reminder of community, of connecting.

6. “It’s a bet,” says the first guy. So the second guy grabs the wheelbarrow by the handles and says, “Fine. Get in.”

7. Solar-powered lights aren’t nearly as bright as you’d expect them to be.

8. There’s more than one way to shake a lulav.

9. “Get in.” As in, get in the wheelbarrow. It’s actually the only construction-related joke I know. I’ll find some better ones by next Sukkot.

10. The skakh (roof covering) and canvas walls shrink by ten percent when you try to fit them on the frame, but miraculously grow by twenty percent when you need to put them back in their storage case until next year – a Sukkot miracle.


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