Party time in the sukkah

Sukkot is a celebration of joy, everything else is secondary. Sleep in particular is neglected during these seven days.

By Michael Selutin | | Topics: Feast of Tabernacles
Photo: David Cohen/Flash90

The biblical description of the Feast of Tabernacles contains a verse that has had terrible consequences for the Jewish people throughout history:

“…and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.” (Leviticus 23:40)

This innocent verse obliges Jews to rejoice during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), and as is customary, this is taken quite literally. This means that Jews make a special effort to be cheerful. And how do you become happy? That’s right, with loud music and wine (in my community it can also be whiskey).

This commandment to be cheerful is taken just as seriously as the commandment to eat kosher or not to work on Shabbat. Accordingly, loud music is played on all the balconies where a sukkah has been set up, and in the evening the party really gets going.

For light sleepers like me, Sukkot is a very difficult time. Fortunately, it is also a commandment not to sleep in the sukkah if you cannot, and I am happy to take advantage of this option. But that doesn’t mean I can sleep well. Because the music from the parties in my neighbors’ sukkahs can still be heard very well in my bedroom.

So I slept with earplugs on the nights of Sukkot, and it worked pretty well. But on Wednesday evening the weather was very pleasant and I decided to try to sleep in my sukkah. As soon as I told the most surprised wife of all about my daring plan, our house exploded because the neighbors downstairs had started their party and turned up the music to full blast.

It hasn’t been this loud in our building before and when I looked down from my balcony, I was shocked to see about 20 teenagers in the neighbor’s sukkah. Teenagers are the worst when it comes to parties, not only because they like noise but also because they listen to terrible music.

The neighbor’s sukkah is two floors below my sukkah, where the bamboo roof bounces up and down to the beat of the techno music. Sleep was out of the question and it didn’t seem like the party would end at 11 p.m., as it was supposed to.

So I went back to bed in my comfortable bedroom with earplugs in, but the music still came through. At some point the speakers were turned off, perhaps someone had complained, but the singing and noise continued. So the night was pretty short, but that doesn’t stop anyone from continuing to be happy.


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