For forty years after our ancestors escaped from their Egyptian enslavement, they traveled the Sinai desert. The Torah tells us that, in a divine miracle, our people were surrounded with "clouds of glory" as they walked. These clouds protected them from the harsh elements of the desert, and provided an element of safety as they made their way to the promise land.
Tonight begins the holiday that commemorates that miracle and those years. The holiday of Succot.
For the past week or so, Jewish people all over the world have been hard at work constructing their Succahs, temporary outdoor huts that become our "home" for the duration of the holiday. For seven days we eat all of our meals and snacks in the huts, and there is even a custom to sleep in them, something I don't do now, but did when I was younger, back when huddling outside with snacks and sleeping bags on a freezing cold Pittsburgh fall night with my sisters and friends was an excellent adventure.
It is a time of fun and a time of celebration, and it has always been my favorite holiday on the very full and rich Jewish calendar.
During my nearly eight years of living in Manhattan we obviously couldn't build a succah of our own, what with our 23rd floor apartment on one of the busiest streets on the Upper West Side, so we often decamped to one of our families to celebrate the holiday the way that it is meant to be celebrated. But once we moved to the suburbs, building a succah was one of our first projects.
Last year's was a lot of fun, but this year I think we may have outdone ourselves. See, we have a bit of a theme going on in various parts of our house these days, so nothing would do but that we follow that theme with this year's succah.
So here, for your viewing pleasure, is where we will be spending much of the next week.
Chag sameach, one and all.
|Storm Trooper lights|