A Bisl Torah

What happens when it is over?

These past few days in the sukkah have been nothing short of magical. The food, company, sweet smells of the outdoors, and special time allotted to reconnect with familiar faces and engage with friends anew. The challenge is transposing life within the sukkah post the seven days of Sukkot. How does the joy experienced during this finite time make its way past the makeshift booths and into the monotonous details of everyday life?

Such is the sentiment expressed by British novelist and Jewish communal leader, Israel Zangwill in his poem, “A Tabernacle Thought”:

Lovely grapes and apples,
And such pretty flowers,
Blooming in the sukkah,
That in the backyard towers.

Green leaves for the ceiling
Sift the sun and shade
To a pretty pattern,
As in forest glade.

Cool retreat and dainty
For a little child,
Toddling in, by prospect
Of its joy beguiled.

Round he casts his blue eyes,
Stretches hand in haste;
Darling baby, all this
Just is to his taste.

But his eyes brim over
Soon with sudden tears.
Ah, he learns the lesson
Of the coming years.

For the fruit is gilded
And the flowers are wax.
Life’s a pretty vision,
Only truth it lacks.

It is a heartbreaking vision of the end of a holiday. A dream interrupted by the starkness of reality. The ongoing pursuit is how to permeate our lives with small bursts of Sukkot, allowing contained joy to drift within the rigid parameters of daily existence. Perhaps one day, our eyes will brim over, not because the genuineness of the holiday has been called into question, but because we have learned how to bring snapshots of celebration into our routine, outside of the sukkah.

Chag Sukkot Sameach—a joy that is felt long after the seven days are over.

Shabbat Shalom

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