July 12, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 12, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Around Pesachtime, I usually offer some kind of advice column. Sukkottime I don’t. But I should. People need advice for Sukkot too. We have men building houses, keeping plants alive and dancing in public, and none of these are our strong suits. So here goes:

Dear Mordechai,

My kid made a picture of a sukkah for me to hang in my real actual sukkah. Why do I need this? I’m in a sukkah! I don’t have a picture of a house in my house!

Well, first, you have to understand where this is coming from. The halacha says that we’re supposed to hang nice things in the sukkah as we would in our house. But to be totally honest, anything nice that’s hanging in my house my wife decided to put up. I’ve put up a large copy of the front cover of one of my books, a list of things my kids can do to earn points, a paper-towel rack, a certificate that says that I completed Mitzvah Clown Training, a clock in the bathroom that doesn’t work and a calendar that’s been stuck on the same month since Shavuot. And all of it is crooked. So I don’t see how hanging things “like in our house” is actually respectful to our sukkah.

And anyway, most of us hang posters. What are we, teenagers?

So I say there should be sukkah decorations of things that people would actually hang in their houses. I’ve seen “Beruchim Haba’im” signs in sukkahs, but why not hang a mizrach sign? How about a picture of flowers to remind you of the last time you actually had flowers? How about pictures of your kids? Why not? You come home from the portrait studio with a 144 pictures of your kids, you’ve given one to each set of grandparents, and your kids don’t have 144 grandparents. You can’t spare one for your sukkah? Are you afraid someone’s going to break in, thanks to your “Beruchim Haba’im” sign, and know how many kids you have? They can count the folding chairs! Do you think someone’s going to steal your mizrach sign?

“Let’s take that! We’ll always know where east is!”

“That’s so cool! How does it know?”

Dear Mordechai,

Should we get a carpet for our sukkah?

The salesperson at the carpet store might tell you, “No!” but don’t listen to him. There’s nothing as awesome as a sukkah that has a carpet in it, because that way it’s just like your home, except that your home doesn’t have carpet in the dining room, because your kids eat like Cookie Monster. Then you can’t sweep the sukkah properly, because it’s a carpet, and then you have animals coming in the middle of the night and noshing on the food and leaving whatever it is that animals leave on the carpet. This is why you have no carpet in your dining room.

Dear Mordechai,

How do I hang decorations so they won’t fall?

You can’t. Your best hope is to hope that after the pictures fall, they land face up, so you can still enjoy them on Yom Tov as you step over them. The problem is that, logically, a picture toppling off a wall will probably not land face up. So our advice, if you know it’s going to rain early into Yom Tov, is to hang your pictures facing the wall.

Dear Mordechai,

Every year on Simchat Torah, I lose my machzor in shul. Any suggestions?

Yeah, everyone does. It’s a big machzor, and you can’t dance with it and hold a sefer Torah, so you put the machzor down on a table until the beginning of the next hakafah, and when you come back, you can’t even find the table.

Who keeps moving the tables?

But do you really need a machzor at all? Maybe you should use a shul siddur. That way you put it down, and then, after the hakafah, you come back to a random shul siddur on whatever side of the room you find yourself on, and someone else ends up with your siddur, and so on, until the dancing starts again. Like musical seforim. It seems pretty appropriate. And then one person ends up with no siddur, and he has to keep opening new ones because one guy keeps putting them away between hakafos.

Dear Mordechai,

Should I get a rain hat for my sukkah?

Yes. Dry sukkahs are far more comfortable than wet sukkahs, especially if you have a carpet. You want to get a schlock, which is Yiddish for “something cheap and inferior” and lay it over your sukkah and daven that the rain starts weighing it down before the wind blows it away. Or else the wind blows it partially off, and you get like a triangle of sukkah dryness that everyone is going to try to sit in, so your table is going to look like a dais at a very small simcha.

But assuming it doesn’t blow off, the schlock should keep your sukkah dry, at least until you try to take it off.

Maybe get a carpet for your sukkah and put it over the top. Those are absorbent.

By Mordechai Schmutter

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles