An Open Letter to Sukkot
I just want to start by saying that I have nothing against you personally. In fact, I think you are a fantastic holiday and I believe it would be quite something to have a sukkah on my back patio. I don't think I have it in me to erect the sides because I can't even build the IKEA Hemnes Mirror Cabinet, but I read that I could use my existing patio walls, which would save some time. I just run out and pick up a surplus of leafy green overgrowth and palm fronds, wherever someone buys these types of things, and then somehow figure out how to arrange the fronds from one end of my patio to the other without sagging. (Shower curtain rods? Duct tape? Prayer?) Once I master that, I could stand back and admire the work, then watch it completely collapse as soon as a squirrel traverses the sukkah roof en route to my neighbor’s trees.
But I know that decorating the interior is the really fun part. I could get into that. On Pinterest I saw that someone sliced up 75 oranges and apples, baked them in a 250 degree oven for two hours, sprayed the slices with a varnish, strung them on a thread and hung them from their impossibly straight frond-y sukkah ceiling. That looked cool. So did the handmade birds. And the fall flower streamers arranged symmetrically along the walls. I even saw a sukkah created entirely out of Lego bricks. Some people are very crafty and, apparently, awash in free time and not as easily frustrated as I am by all-consuming holiday projects.
Now, where to get a lulav and etrog? (A lot of props with this holiday, by the way.) I never knew I could order them from amazon.com. Simple enough. Then I could start planning my seven-night sukkah dinner menu. Normally I would jump at the chance to cook a Shabbat-worthy meal each night, but the week is just a smidge cramped, you see. On karate nights, can my kids eat hot dogs in the sukkah? Hebrew National hot dogs? Is Taco Tuesday O.K. in the sukkah? Oh, I need a table and chairs. I don’t have time to get to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Back to amazon.com! Then we could say the prayers, shake the lulav and argue with the boys about how much food they have to eat under the lovely fruit garlands that I am sure my younger son would not pull down and use as hockey pucks.
I know I would love celebrating you, Sukkot. But you do seem like a lot of work. And September – with its sucker punch of summer's-over realities, hefty project deadlines and a neglected laundry pile the size of a Prius – is kind of kicking my tuchus.
So, no hard feelings, Sukkot. I know that no matter how embarrassingly crooked my sukkah, it would still be beautiful. No matter how simple my dinner, it would be delicious. No matter how much time the preparation sucked from my crowded life, it would be worth it.
Maybe next year.