A suc­cah for DIY

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

I’M SIT­TING at my lap­top wrapped in a warm glow of smug sat­is­fac­tion, which is just as well be­cause it’s cold and mis­er­able out in the suc­cah I have just put up. It’s taken the best part of a frus­trat­ing day to com­plete, but af­ter sev­eral false starts (and one in­jury when an upright fell and hit me in the taber­na­cles) I’ve fi­nally suc­ceeded and am jolly pleased with my­self. How good are my tents, eh Ja­cob? Huh?

One of the many mys­ter­ies of the fes­ti­val is how sec­tions of the suc­cah I’ve used in pre­vi­ous years mirac­u­lously don’t fit prop­erly without hav­ing to chop, shave, saw and jam them into place. I sus­pect that while it rests in the shed over the 12 months since the pre­vi­ous time I put it to­gether, it grows ex­tra bits.

That aside, I must say th­ese pre­fab­ri­cated steel and MDF suc­c­ahs are mar­vel­lous. I’d hate to have to de­sign and build one from scratch us­ing ran­dom pieces of wood, that’s for sure.

Of course, I shouldn’t be sur­prised at my suc­cess. While we Jews are not thought of as par­tic­u­larly handy when it comes to construction, the tem­po­rary booth is our spe­cial­ity. Dur­ing the war, my great un­cle, a cab­i­net maker, was sent to build a bar­racks. Clearly the army was not fully aware of the dif­fer­ence be­tween a side­board and a hos­tel. Nev­er­the­less, Un­cle Joe did his best and was com­mended for his work. The only neg­a­tive feed­back he re­ceived was for the leaky roof and his re­luc­tance to use more than two-and-a-half walls. On the plus side, they loved his in­lay work.

This year I am the proud owner of a deluxe etrog. While in ev­ery other area of Jewish law some­thing is ei­ther kosher or not kosher, when it comes to et­rogs some are ev­i­dently more kosher than oth­ers. I wish you could see mine. It is so beau­ti­ful you would be struck dumb as you jeal­ously sali­vate over it.

You can be for­given for as­sum­ing that I’m talk­ing about a su­per­model rather than a piece of ined­i­ble fruit, but I think that agree­ing to pay sev­eral pounds more for this item than for an­other be­cause some­one had graded it as “ex­quis­ite” has adul­ter­ated my mind. Only yes­ter­day I vol­un­tar­ily of­fered an ad­di­tional £8 for some par­tic­u­larly shapely ap­ples at the su­per­mar­ket.

So, as I gaze at the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing art­works of lulavs, et­rogs and horses cre­ated by my daugh­ter (she must have been into horses at the time), of one thing I am con­fi­dent: by the time you read this, Suc­cot will be over, the etrog will be sit­ting for­lornly while some­one de­cides what to do with it (you can’t just sling a £25 piece of fruit in the re­cy­cling bin), and I will have prob­a­bly spent no more than 45 min­utes in the suc­cah all week. Which is just as well be­cause one of the walls has just col­lapsed.

Again.

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