Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sukkos in Israel

It’s Erev Sukkos today. There is nothing like celebrating a holiday like Sukkos in the holy land. In a Jewish State, Sukkos is celebrated by everyone - Charedi, Dati, and even Chiloni. This is especially true in a city like Ramat Bet Shemesh where I am located. Virtually the entire town observant.

Sukkos is everywhere. Wishes of Chag Sameach can be seen and heard all over the place – in the street; from your local supermarket clerk; on the radio; in newspapers (secular and religious) ...I mean everywhere! It is literally in the air.

It is quite a sight to see the Daled Minim being sold in Shuls, in private homes, stores, Shopping center plazas, ...even in the streets.

Tonight and tomorrow the city will have a feel of Yom Tov - unlike that of even the most Jewishly populated cities anywhere else in the world. In so many religious enclaves like Ramat Bet Shemesh all over Israel there will be no cars or any type of motorized vehicles anywhere to be found in the streets. People dressed in their Shabbos finery – all walking to Shul – whether in black hats or Kipot Serugah everyone is on the same page. You really do feel like you are at home as a Jew when you are here.

My only caveat is Yom Tov Sheni. As a non resident I am observing 2 days of Yom Tov. I must confess that I hate it. I know there are Poskim who would permit me to observe only one day. But my Poskim don’t. It is truly annoying to watch virtually every other Frum Jew in town getting into their cars in Chol HaMoed mode - while I am in still Kodesh mode. And to make matters worse - this year Sukkos will be a three day Yom Tov. Twice.

I could of course eliminate Yom Tov Sheni from my life by making Aliyah… but that is a whole other discussion. Not for now.

That said - observing Yom Tov Sheni is a small price to pay for being here this time of year. It is well worth the price to be here and have the Yom Tov experience. I highly recommend it.

I will dispense with my usual practice of writing a Davar Torah on Erev Yom Tov because I simply have not had the time while here in Israel to do so. I am enjoying my son, daughter in law, and Israeli grandchildren immensely. They do take up a lot of my time.

I will however take this opportunity to wish everyone a Good Yom Tov. Enjoy your families.