A sukkah, a bazaar, and a souk

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Well, the sukkah is up and ready for decoration. Some of you have been following me as I decided to build one this year. I started out with really quite big plans for one, large enough to seat ten or twelve people, and to but a bed into it so sleep in.

As it turned out, I built a much smaller, more traditional one. Things always have a way of working out in spite of ourselves. Some men from our small congregation decided to step up to the plate to build a more decorative sukkah for our tiny synagogue, then make the rounds to build others.

So it was up at daylight, and over to the shul, as we call it, and put up the river cane as a decoration, then they went over to a members house to build theirs … and I hardly had time to settle down before they all pulled up in my driveway.

I wanted to show the construction in stages, but didn’t have time to stop and make the pics since the crew was making short work of the process.

The corners are of bamboo, the walls are made of reed fencing, and reed fencing is on the floor as a carpet. The roof is of river cane that was cut from a rattlesnake infested canebrake along the Little River, and the men went out and gathered enough for everyone. The rule for the roof covering is that is should be of material that can be pulled from the ground, as opposed to being cut from a branch or limb. Cutting cane is permitted, because theoretically, you *could* pull it from the ground. If you were the Hulk.

Sukkah, by the way, is a Semitic word for a rude hut, and it survives in Arab lands in bazaars, where the individual booths are called souks. It can be a merchants booth, it can be a tent, it can be a collection of branches. Sukkot in Israel is a fall observance in which the Bible commands Jews to dwell in tents (sukkahs) during the five day period. A sukkah in this sense protects one from the sun, not the rain. One must be able to see some of the stars through the roof. Some orthodox Jews do actually live in them, and even sleep in them when it is raining, but for most, it is a symbolic thing, and they simply eat the evening meal in them.

So … now the roof is laid, the walls are up a rough floor of reeds is laid, and I am ready for Sukkot.

A few pics:

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