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:
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?”
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.
By Mordechai Schmutter