The Sukkah Doctor Is In…

My friend’s husband has two left hands, so of course she’s the one who pointed out to me the unfairness of our sukkah situation.

“Your husband can build houses,” she said. “And you’re the one with a ready-made sukkah?”

We don’t know how it happened. We’re terribly sorry. It’s not our fault. We did not do it on purpose. But the porch outside our apartment came complete with a pergola, as well as three complete walls. So basically, we just have to throw some s’chach on top of it and voilà! A sukkah.

“I think it’s like when you work on a certain middah and conquer it,” I said to my friend, explaining something my husband had said in passing that had stayed with me. “And then you don’t get tested in that area anymore. Like, you passed the test, so now you’re moving on to other things.”

“Everything seems like a mashal to you.”

“Everything is.”

It’s funny, though, that in spite of my words, it’s hard for us to accept how easy it is. So we do extra things, like hang up curtains where the fourth wall should be so that we are kind of sort of building a sukkah.

“Anyway, point of my phone call is so that I can pretend that it just spontaneously dawned on me to ask you to ask your husband to give my husband a hand,” my friend went on. “So can he? A right hand?”

“With what?”

“With the sukkah!”

“But it’s not even Rosh Hashanah yet!”

Sukkahs are going up earlier than ever, at least in my neighborhood. We sukkah-watch and sukkah-count, and I see some of those things popping up Chanukah time. That is an exaggeration, but not by much. Okay, by much, but the point is that people are nervous about putting them up for some reason, and they are getting more and more stressed out about it every year, and the reason I know this is because around Sukkos time, my husband gets more emergency phone calls than a doctor—and if that’s an exaggeration, it’s only a slight one.

“I’ll be right back,” my husband said a few days after that phone call, jumping up from the dinner table. “Yechiel just needs me to saw a piece of wood for him. Be back in five.”

He came back in five. Hours.

“What happened?”

“So you know how it is. You need someone to cut a piece of wood in half, and then you need someone to help you hold the board straight, and then you need someone to build the whole sukkah.”

“I feel like there was a whole chain of events that you left out in between those last two things.”

My husband sneezed, and a cloud of sawdust danced around him. “The whole thing would have come down on their heads if I had let him do it by himself. I’m going to take a shower.”

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