If the preparations for a normal Shabbat are already stressful, then you have to multiply that by the number of your small children and you get a pretty good estimate of the stress value of a Shabbat that also includes Sukkot. In addition to normal cooking and cleaning, there is also the construction of the sukkah, purchasing the four species that will be shaken in the sukkah, decorating the sukkah and many other small details.
In order to distribute some of the stress, many people start building the sukkah the evening after Yom Kippur, so since Monday we have heard constant hammering until late in the evening. There is a doom and gloom atmosphere in the supermarkets. The shelves are almost empty, but the customers’ shopping carts are full to bursting. Here I have to compliment my supermarket in Beit Shemesh as they almost manage to restock the shelves while they are being cleared out by customers.
At home there is no less activity, as the children bring homemade works of art from school to hang in the sukkah. There is also further decoration for the walls and roof as well as the installation of lighting.
However, the effort is worth it. It’s not just the children who enjoy it when we eat our feast in the beautifully decorated sukkah on our balcony in the evening. This change in routine makes life more interesting. It’s also fun to listen to the neighbors singing on the balconies next door. Sometimes I join in the songs, which my children find quite embarrassing.
A Shabbat timer turns off the lights in our sukkah after eating and then it is time to go to sleep in the sukkah. But not in Israel. Here, on Sukkot, people sing long into the night and there comes a time when everyone has to decide whether to continue singing or to try to sleep despite the noise.
For me, this point usually comes pretty early. However, this year I would like to try to set a new singing record and be the last one left celebrating in his sukkah. For this I bought a nice bottle of wine and I will allow the children to stay awake as long as they want. That should get me very far.
Chag Sukkot Sameach!
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