Monday, October 13, 2008

Modern religion

Another crazy Jewish holiday begins at sundown tonight (Sukkot, this time) and we made all of our preparations yesterday. The practice of the holiday centers around the sukkah, or temporary dwelling, that we build on our deck and eat our meals in (and maybe sleep in one night this weekend, if it's mild out). This practice dates back thousands of years directly to Leviticus (23:42, 43) where it says "You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens of Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." Just a few lines earlier it says "when you have gathered in the yield of your land, you shall observe the festival of the Lord for seven days" (Leviticus 23:29), and then it says "And you shall take for yourselves on the first day [of Sukkot], the fruit of the beautiful [citron] tree, tightly bound branches of date palms, the branch of the braided [myrtle] tree, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days" (Leviticus 23:40). Get all that? We build a funny shanty, eat and sleep in it, and shake some produce around, thanking God for our freedom in general and the bounties of our harvests more specifically.

From time practically immemorial, girls have been helping their fathers build their sukkah, and using plastic zip ties to secure it (the pre-fab sukkah from a sukkah kit).

And surely in Leviticus's footnotes you'll find the reference to the essential construction paper chain decorations. Presenting E's first ever ALL-BY-(her)SELF chain:


Scotch tape dates back as far as construction paper, right? Truly this tradition is timeless. Also, see how the paper chain complements our motley collection of Target clearance-shelf string lights.

And the produce bundle, that other requirement. That's called, collectively, the lulav and etrog. Jewish law demands we acquire a kosher set every year. Family tradition demands we locate in the basement the plush set every year.


Can you tell which is which? With these in hand and our sukkah up and decorated, we're officially ready for the holiday to begin tonight. Chag sameach! (Happy holiday!)

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