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The Missing Pole

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There are certain hallmarks involved in moving, in making the transition from one home to another. My children tease me for my “Shehecheyanu moments.” I say Shehecheyanu (our prayer thanking God for giving us life, sustaining us, and allowing us to arrive at this moment) at the drop of a hat: unpacking the first (and the last) box, the first Shabbat in our new home, the first time we invite new friends over.

I anticipated that building the first sukkah in our new backyard would be a big Shehecheyanu moment.

The sukkah is the closest Jews get to a Christmas tree. It is a mitzvah to beautify your Sukkah, but in recent years this mitzvah has morphed into some sort of performative competition, thanks to social media, where (if your feed is anything like mine) you can scroll through picture after picture of elaborate, tricked-out Sukkot filled with smiling children and hand-drawn art. It’s hard not to get caught up in the sukkah-building fervor.

Two months ago, we moved 500 miles south to start a new life in Durham NC. It’s beautiful here, but it is not home. Home takes time to grow. I felt, in my bones, that building a sukkah here would go a long way to helping cultivate the feeling of home. A sukkah is a temporary structure that reminds us of our own impermanence. When we sit in this temporary home, we come face to face with the truth: that as much as we nest and decorate, the homes that we love are impermanent. As much as we take care of our bodies, those bodies, too, are impermanent. Only God is forever.

Paradoxically, I felt that constructing the sukkah, this reminder of our fragility, from the pieces we lugged from our old home to this new place, would be exactly the ticket to getting me a step closer to feeling settled.

I was determined to make........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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