I’m going upstairs for a minute, Barbara; I’ll be right down.
The last day of the festival, Shemini Adzeret, was over Saturday night, and by 10 or 11AM Sunday, our sukkah was taken down, the first on the block to be dismantled. (I take all the credit. After all, it was I who got on the phone and called Brian, our handyman, to come over and do the work. I’m not getting back on that ladder.) Wouldn’t you know it, once the holiday was over, and we no longer needed to sit in our sukkah, the weather started to take a turn for the better. We now gladly had our dinners out on our balcony, watching the sun slowly set over the hills between us and Jerusalem and witnessing the nightly routine of the crows.
I always had the feeling, back in The States that there was more gusto to Sukkot than I was experiencing, especially on the intermediate days when I always went to work. Yes, I could have taken off, but there wasn’t much else to do that you couldn’t do any other day of the year – so why bother, why use up my vacation days just to make a point. Plus, Sukkot was usually in October, meaning it was starting to get a bit chilly, and there was often enough precipitation to rain on one’s parade. I remember one particular Sukkot when I was leaving our synagogue, noticing an enormous grinning plastic pumpkin on a lawn up the block. Halloween was everywhere, and our holiday, not so much.
Our regularly scheduled Wed. evening gemara shiur got put on hold a few weeks ago because Nachum was in quasi-bidud (‘bidud’ is what they call isolation here in The Land). He had visited someone in the hospital who may or may not have had COVID-19, but who definitely did wind up dying of something. Nachum was awaiting his own test results when he called me. Maybe we could reschedule for the next night? Turns out we couldn’t because, while his first test was negative, they wanted him to take a second test, which also turned out negative. And that prompted me to send him a link to a recording on You Tube of the Johnny Mercer- Harold Arlen standard, Accentuate the Positive (Eliminate the negative). Because my mind works in strange and wondrous ways, I thought that maybe we all should be focused on eliminating the unnecessary over the Hagim. Or better still, Accentuate the has-to-be, eliminate the frippery.
Let’s jump ahead to the morning of Sep. 19, which if you remember or have a calendar handy, was both Shabbat and the first day of Rosh Hashanah. By the time a friend showed up to our apartment, tallit and siddur in hand, I had already started davening. There I was in the living room with Shekhi curled up on my lap.
There are several questions one might ask about what I just wrote. What are you guys doing in your living room when you should be in shul? If your friend is not in shul, why is he davening at your place? And who or what is this Shekhi, assisting you in davening? Now that I’ve aroused you from your torpor, I can begin the next episode about this continuing tale of woe and disaster.