It started when I was in grade school. We would spend one day a year hopping from hut to hut, judging our favorites based on decorative space, dessert menu, and parental kindness, or how big they sliced the rainbow cake. As a young student at Hebrew day school, it quickly became one of the most notable days of the year – the day we went Sukkah hopping. We would spend an entire day bouncing from one classmate’s house to the next, collecting endless heaps of sugar and good deeds all in one setting.
The sukkot all looked the same in theory. They had three walls, a leafy roof, and an etrog and lulav we would shake, rattle and roll. Sukkot time meant joyous celebration and while some of my fondest memories rest in a sukkah-hopped-up childhood, the holiday in Israel tells a different tale, which I was only able to truly see firsthand when I moved here 7 years ago. Sukkot is the third holiday to follow up two of the holiest days of the year – the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur. The aim of the holiday is to celebrate the richness of the earth’s agriculture, and to remember where the Jewish people started – in temporary huts built completely off the land.
Tradition tells that for seven days, the Jewish people are meant to build these temporary huts, decorate them with all-natural resources, and harvest the land as a time to feast and frolic with family within the hut. In my eyes, it’s appropriate to celebrate the harvest the land offers us every day. We also live in a world where our homes and apartments might seem permanent; but we all very well know how one all natural disaster can swoop it all away, and so perhaps we should take more time to house hop – from friend to friend, celebrating the most joyous instances life, the land and the natural ways in which the earth provides for us – every day.