O old man, good god
Careful man of heaven
Keeper of storm clouds
Make misty weather
And create a tiny cloud
In whose shelter I may go.
Amorphis From their album Tales From the Thousand Lakes (1994)
Many joys and sorrows ago, when eggs cost 60 cents a dozen,
our Heroine and her Hero built a sukkah in their back yard.
Then it rained.
Mid-week, the sukkah collapsed.
And even though the sages say one can re-build a sukkah
on the intermediate days,
the couple tossed the rubble in the trash
and chose, instead, to sit in the sukkah at their synagogue
or in the sukkot of friends.
Or not . . .
Truth be told, our Heroine has become lax in matters of observance.
She fidgets in shul and is easily distracted during formal prayer.
And though she is a totally indoor person,
she feels a kinship to the Baal Shem-Tov,
Reb Nachman of Breslov,
and the mystics of Safed
who sought the Holy in forest and field.
Was she not struck with radical amazement atop Mt. Sinai at dawn?
Did she not weep in the quiet boat
on the still waters of Doubtful Sound?
Yes. She did.
So it is that today, our Heroine considers the Talmudic debate
between Rabbi Eliezar and Rabbi Akiba.
The sukkah, argues Akiba, reminds us
of the real booths built by our ancestors in the wilderness
The sukkah, counters Eliezer, reminds us
of the Clouds of Glory that protected the Israelites during their wanderings. *
Our Heroine sides with Rabbi Eliezar.
Tonight she and her Hero will sit outside on their deck
under a canopy of cumulus clouds
in their symbolic sukkah
wine in hand
(with perhaps a chunk of cheddar)
and thank the Ruler of the universe for this holiday of Sukkot,
festival of our joy
a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt.
They will also give thanks for having
once again reached this season.
Our Heroine will whisper:
May the Almighty stuff a sock in the mouth of the new Mussolini
and spread His sukkah of peace over us and over the entire world.
Chag Sameach, everyone.
* In a few sources, these roles are reversed . . .
Photograph and content copyright Ozzie Nogg 2016