Erez and I developed a new pattern upon entering and sitting in our sukkah. We look around, sideways, and eventually upwards. One of us says, “I love this sukkah.” The other responds, “Yeah, me too…I hope the roof doesn’t fall while we eat.” And we continue passing out napkins and water as if it is normal to remark that the roof might fall in during the meal. In fact, we settle further into our seats, comfortable with the understanding that we will know what to do if indeed the “ceiling” caves in.
Sukkot is a holiday in which we remember that we already contain the tools to rebuild. No matter if the roof shifts or walls fall down. We are descendants of a historical identity in which Jews move and reconstruct; instilled within our very being is the nature of wandering and restoration. A house may be defined through sturdy beams and waterproof coverings. But we have learned that a home contains a foundation of faith. A faith that travels wherever we go.
Emily Dickinson wrote the following:
The Props assist the House
Until the House is built
And then the Props withdraw
And adequate, erect,
The House support itself
And cease to recollect
The Augur and the Carpenter –
Just such a retrospect
Hath the perfected Life –
A Past of Plank and Nail
And slowness – then the scaffolds drop
Affirming it a Soul –
Throughout life, the roof may cave in, scaffolding no longer. The world is shaky, our lives chaotic, and the end of this relentless journey seems far from the eye. And yet, we are built to keep our soul intact. A sense of resilience woven throughout, no matter the road we are forced upon.
Sukkot will soon be a memory; images of twinkling stars within branches a distant thought. But the lesson is ingrained in the spirit of the Jewish people. The difficulty of the journey has never stopped our desire to walk. The turmoil of the journey has never stopped our desire to live.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach