Why am I dragging tree branches down the block? And why do I look so happy about it?
A little background: In the Jewish world, we’re celebrating Sukkot (aka The Feast of Booths) — a whole week of rejoicing in the harvest season and in all the ways that life is both abundant and perfused with impermanence. We build a sukkah (that would be the aforementioned booth) in our yards and eat and sing and sometimes even sleep there. The covering, called “schach,” can be made from any decent plant material and is often made from whatever’s available locally. In Israel and California: palm branches. In Louisiana: sugar cane. And here in the Northeast, lots of folks I know use cornstalks.
Once you’re done, there should be more shade than sun in your sukkah. But you still have to be able to see the stars and feel the wind and rain (though you are not obligated to stay out in the rain).
But this blogpost isn’t a primer on Jewish pilgrimage festivals. No, it’s about this funny thing that happened to me on Facebook. On Friday, along with the pic my mom snapped of me dragging tree branches down the block, here’s what I posted:
It’s a Sukkot miracle! Car’s in the shop and the farm stand where I usually get cornstalks is likely closed on Sunday. How was this rabbi going to get schach for covering her sukkah? Walking home from dropping off the car, I saw a whole crew of guys trimming trees in a nearby alley. I started dragging some leafy limbs home. Then, on my second trip, the head of the crew wanted to know what this was all about. I started with, “Well, I’m Jewish and we have this Festival of Booths, y’know, from the Bible…” and I ended with, “So, then I saw you guys and realized it was a miracle!” He took a puff of his cigarette, spat, looked around at his crew and said, “Well, that’s the only time in my life any woman is going to call me a miracle.”
And then? Then 84 people clicked the like button. I think the most people who have ever “liked” anything else I’ve said on Facebook is fifteen or so. What gives?
Sure, it could just be some quirk of Facebook’s mysterious algorithms. But I prefer to think that what drew people in is that I was just being fully my own self, sharing in what felt like one of life’s lovely “auspicious coincidences” and just hugely, playfully rejoicing in that.
So, here’s the sukkah we built:
And here’s my mom adding some final decorations:
I just love the idea that what people “Like” (and maybe even like) best is when we rejoice in life’s everyday miracles and invite others to share in our celebration. What are you celebrating today?