One of the lovely miracles this holiday season was the way my [brand new California] Sukkah came together just in time. Thank G-d. The classic trips to the lumber yard, hardware store, finding out the lattice wouldn’t fit in my Prius and borrowing a pickup truck, revising the design as I went along, all at the last minute… to build a temporary dwelling as decreed by The Master at the time and season of His choosing. And as the sun went down Wednesday evening, there it stood. Quite amazing.
And now the energy is peaceful and lovely, and we’ve been sharing it with guests, both expected and unexpected. Every evening I move the table and chairs out and bring in a plump mattress, still wrapped in plastic, and pile sheets and blankets atop it so I can be warm overnight in the chilly evening air. And then every morning out goes the bedding and back comes the table so we can eat and have guests over. A nice rhythm.
And so, two weeks until my wedding and I’m both caught up in the stress and craziness of planning such an event (during the Jewish holidays!), and delighted and thankful that my beloved and I are joining our lives together at so many levels.
There are many parallels drawn between the Sukkah and the chuppah (wedding canopy). They’re both open structures, both fragile (in the human sense), both under G-d’s watchful provenance, both filled with joy and gratitude, and both invite communal support and celebration.
And it occurs to me that perhaps my bride and I should make some kind of yearly practice of putting up the wedding canopy again (as we will the Sukkah every year), and reexperiencing the joy and hope and gratitude of this season. Because a fancy anniversary dinner and a night out just can’t compare to the awe and splendor of a holy dwelling, consecrated by G-d, witnessed by friends, family and community. The deep movement of the soul.
I think G-d knew what He was doing when He set out the holidays for the Jews to celebrate, to return to Him, to remember our relationship with Him, and to rest into it completely and joyfully.
And I hope, please G-d, that my future wife and I can celebrate our joining of souls within the rhythm of our marriage over the years in the same beautiful and inspiring way that Jews the world over have renewed our relationship with The One by observing the holy days (holidays) over the generations.
May we have great success, and may you, too, have great success if you endeavor to.
So I ask you, Gentle Reader, what brings your soul to joy and gratitude, and what do you do to mark that, to celebrate it in your life?