Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Rhythms of Life (Literally!)

I love the way that our lives in Israel are soaked in Jewish ritual. You simply couldn't live where we are without knowing which holiday is coming up and without being connected to the Jewish calendar. In Judaism, you are supposed to approach a mitzvah with enthusiasm, and do it as soon as you can. So, as soon as Yom Kippur ends and we've scarfed down some break-fast, it's time to take out the sukkah. Even if you don't finish building the sukkah that evening, there is an idea that you should begin to build it. This is showing Hashem how excited we are for the upcoming chag and that we run to do the next mitzvah (building a sukkah) as soon as possible after Yom Kippur.

While finishing our break-fast meal, we could already hear the hammers going in the yishuv! And since that point, they haven't stopped. Today, as I was taking my daily walk, I was delighting in seeing all of the sukkahs in various states of readiness. Some people had simply dragged the sukkah boards from their storage locations:










While others had begun building the frame, albeit in their parking spot!











Others, such as brothers Daniel and Jeremy Gimpel, were busy today discussing where to put everything and how to make the "bohemian" sukkah look its best. They stopped for long enough to smile for me as I made my way around the yishuv.











A few diligent families have already put together virtually the entire sukkah and are just waiting to put the schach on top to finish the process.












Walking around watching the sukkah process as it unfolds I could feel a sense of energy. There are hammers going everywhere and people climbing on high to secure a part of their sukkah to the wall. (Living in one of the most windy places in Israel, we have a special challenge to try to keep our sukkahs from blowing away altogether! But that's an adventure for another post.) Here are a few pictures to give a sense of the amazing views that we will enjoy from our sukkahs during the holiday.











May the rhythms of the Jewish calendar continue to guide us in our daily lives - and may we all enjoy this most festive chag and time together over sukkot!

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