It’s a joyous time, fun for kids and adults alike, and, as a youth, some of my favorite Jewish memories come from spending time in friends’ and relatives’ sukkot.
But, as is the case with all good things, age and a bad hip are two factors that are quickly making them come to an end.
For those of you not familiar with the festival of Sukkot, and, yes, I know who you are, and I see you cowering behind your copy of Heeb Magazine, the sukkah is supposed to remind us of the roofless, fragile dwellings used by our forefathers (I only had one, by the way) as they traveled through the desert for 40 years after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt.
For those of you for whom that description still doesn’t ring a bell, it’s definitely the only Jewish holiday when Members of the Tribe are encouraged to shake anything, let alone their lulav!
Unfortunately, while my age increases and my left hip fails me – lacking the proper amount of protective cartilage between the ball and the socket of the joint, the result of too much reckless hockey, tennis, baseball in my youth, and made worse by age and weight gain – life in the sukkah can often be a painful experience these days.
Not too mock our forefathers, but we’ve always been know as builders, or at the very least landlords. So, would it have been so hard for them to have built the odd temporary, roofless condo? Nothing fancy mind you, just something with a nice comfy couch?
Anyway, over the duration of Sukkot 2012, I will have attended at least two sukkot belonging to friends and while I will enjoy their warmth, hospitality, good food and good wishes, I will do so only after ingesting three liquid-filled Advil capsules, allowing me to make my sukkah visits relatively pain-free.
And, in all humility, Sukkot does make me think back to what our forefathers must have endured. It also humbles me and makes me realize that while my pain is real, it’s nothing close to the daily pain they endured for so many years.
It also makes me realize how lucky we, as Jews, are to live in the incredible country of Canada – or the United States – and, in my particular case, in the community I refer to as Jewish Toronto, a community in which we are allowed – even encouraged – to live full, strong, proud and vibrant Jewish lives.
We are also lucky to live in an era in which a 90-minute hip replacement surgery is now commonplace; an option I will be looking into before Hanukkah.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life