Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of us who might have been able to visit or even celebrate Sukkot with a meal in a sukkah in regular circumstances, may not be able to this year. The central symbol of the holiday of Sukkot is the sukkah, a temporary hut that is built outside to remind us of the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness, during which they dwelled in sukkahs.
So what can you do if you want to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot but you don’t have a sukkah to visit?
So you can’t have a meal in a sukkah. Your backyard (or deck or local park) is still a great place to bring the family and enjoy a meal al fresco. Yes, it’s a bummer not to be under the sukkah, but isn’t a big part of the holiday cooking seasonal meals and enjoying them outside with loved ones? Even if all the people you’d like to invite to your picnic blanket can’t safely join you, this is the time to love the ones you’re with. And eating outside on a picnic blanket is fun for the kids, period.
While Jewish law teaches that the vegetation covering the top of the sukkah needs to be thick enough so that the shade inside the sukkah is greater than the sunlight, we also learn that ideally we should be able to see the stars through the top of the sukkah. Assuming the weather is cooperating, you still have access to gazing at the stars. If you have kids, do this as a family. It can be as simple as going outside and looking up at the sky, and hopefully you’ll have the pleasure of seeing some stars.
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