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Sukkot 5775 III

The holiday continues. We’re now in the days of “chol hamoed,” the intermediate days of Sukkot, when we are still commanded to eat in the sukkah, and wave the four species, but can basically do most forms of work.

One of the problems with three day holidays is that I run out of clothes. It’s what happens with three days of synagogue. And this week meant eating in public, too.

I got, well, lazy. I have a long, heavy caftan I wear on Friday nights that only needs a shell or something to make the deep V modest. First night, I did that. Second night, I put it over the knee-length T-shirt I’d changed into after our lunch guests left. Third night (Shabbat) was chilly, so I added leggings and a hoodie.

We had guests for lunch both days, and everything worked out really well. We decided to have no guests for Shabbat, just to relax.

The weather has, for the most part, been lovely – sunny days, with a nip in the air, maybe some clouds around the full moon. So, eating in the sukkah has been pleasant.

It rained on Saturday. All morning. All sukkot have roofs, but those roofs must be such that rain comes through. They must also be made of plants like bamboo or reed mats or boughs of trees. They provide shade from the sun, but not protection from rain.

We are not required to eat in our sukkot in the rain.

However, it stopped raining by noon. It was chilly and damp, and the s’chach (the roofing) dripped a little, but it wasn’t raining. So, we dried the table and chairs as best we could, dressed warmly, and ate lunch downstairs. We did it while the s’chach dripped on my head, as quickly as possible. Because it’s a mitzvah, a commandment, and we had to do it, even when it wasn’t pleasant.

People who can situate their sukkot where it’s easy to bring out food and tableware. Others may have storage in their sukkot for heavy objects like soda bottles, or even disposable tableware. In fact, most people use disposables just because it’s easier.

We live in a second floor walkup, with our sukkah in the backyard. That means down a flight of stairs, then the stoop, and then through an ally between houses. This means special strategy. Plus, I don’t really like the waste of a week of disposables.

So a few years ago, I bought a set of melmac dishes. Lightweight, unbreakable, sturdy. These are service for four, and just for meat.

To go down, we assemble grocery bags with what we will need – dishes, flatware, napkins, disposable plastic tablecloth, cups, water, wine, bread, honey, soda, prayer books. Jon takes them down while I get the food ready, along with serving utensils. We usually manage in one trip each.

When we finish, we designate a clean bag and a dirty bag. Everything washable goes in the latter. We wrap all garbage in the tablecloth and drop it in a trash can. It’s a science.

And sometimes it doesn’t work. I had my folks today. Friday was my husband’s Hebrew birthday. Today is his English one. I made two quiches, one with zucchini and one with vegetarian breakfast sausage patties. Both dairy, with half and half and cheese. And Jon brought down the melmac dishes. Minor issue, caught in plenty of time. I brought down disposable plates and bowls.

Quiches were good, too.

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