I’ve adapted this idea from an earlier meme called “Eight things about me.” (A meme is a cross between a chain letter and a themed blog post.) I changed the number to seven, in honor of the seven days of Sukkot (Tabernacles festival).
- My husband likes to quote the midrash where one of the nations tells God it wants to accept the Torah, so He lets them try sitting in the sukkah. The hot sun causes them to come running out. My husband never understood this midrash until making aliyah, because the sukkah in the US was always cold and often wet. In particular I remember my mother warning my to be prepared for the cold Ohio weather (she must have been checking the NY weather reports). I would packed a sweater and an extra pair of socks, which was never enough. Our current sukkah gets the southern sun, and we still suffered despite the fan and our seventh floor breeze. It’s cooled down a bit now.
- My daughter said to me, “Thank you for making aliyah.” We are so happy be be finished with our one and only three-day Yom Tov.
- Planning for holidays does get easier. I have had the same guests for the first day of Sukkot three years running. I finished cooking late Wednesday, and didn’t have much time to think about organizing the serving, sleeping, or heating up the food. But thanks to a combination of older children, familiar guests, and experience, everything ran smoothly. I even found an old list of items to bring to the sukkah, but the challah knife, salt shaker and soup ladle had already arrived in the basket.
- On the first day of the holiday I had a run-in with a woman in the shul, whose daughter hurt her hand during kedusha and began screaming hysterically just outside the entrance to the ezrat nashim (women’s section). After the mother came out, I told her that someone else took care of her daughter. Her excuses were a) she was in the middle of kedusha (solemn prayer that one is not supposed to interrupt); b) no one was disturbed by the screaming; and c) she knows her daughter’s screams and she could tell that she was okay. I guess she feels it’s not necessary to interrupt kedusha unless someone needs to go to the emergency room–it still took about ten minutes until the daughter calmed down enough for her mother to go back into the synagogue.
- My divine retribution for criticizing this mother’s neglect of her child came when my 6yo got left in shul and had to be brought home by someone else. My husband and I each thought he went home with the other.
- Today my husband went to the early minyan (prayer service) so I could hear my oldest son chant Kohelet (biblical book of Ecclesiastes) in a different shul. Here’s a halachic riddle for you: Even though I brought my own machzor (holiday prayer book), I still had to grab one of the shul’s prayer books and scramble to find the place. Why?
- Kohelet reminded me of a class I took with Rabbi Jack Bieler in his Manhattan home. I enjoyed the stimulating class, but I most remember the warm atmosphere and Mrs. Bieler offering to make latkes on Chanukah for me and my college friend after I complained about missing my mother’s version. (Now you know why I didn’t go into scholarship.)
Enjoy the rest of the holiday.