Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sukkah vs. Sukkah

Sukkah vs. Sukkah
The holiday of Sukkot begins tomorrow evening.  I will build, or better put together, my prefabricated sukkah.  No hammers or nails are required.  I need only thumb tighten the screws, wrap a canvas tarp around the sides and then throw the bound bamboo skhach over the roof.  My sukkah fits the requirements and fulfills the tradition's demands.  This is why I found this New York Magazine article and exhibit so intriguing.  The exhibit's sukkot are designed by contemporary architects and designers and not only conform to halakhic demands but also interpret the holiday in creative ways.  My vote is for the below Sukkah of the Signs. This sukkah emphasizes the message of homelessness embedded in the holiday. 


The power of Sukkot is to remind us of the temporary quality of life.  The requirements of the roofing, skhach, guarantee that the sukkah is of a temporary and impermanent quality.  Our homes may feel permanent but in fact everything is temporary and can be blown away by nature's wind and rain.  Constructing a sukkah with signs from the homeless and hungry transforms the entire sukkah into the message of the skhach.  You must be able to see the sky through the skhach.  In sum, if it is too good of a roof then it is not a sukkah.   Living in a sukkah for a week produces feelings of gratitude.  How fortunate is my lot to live in a home whose roof protects me from wind and rain.  I am so blessed to be warmed in the winter and cooled in the summer.  There are far too many who do not share this good fortune.  That is one reason at least to eat and sleep in a sukkah.

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