Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Sukkos in Israel

BaSukkos Teishvu Shivas Yomim - You should dwell in a Sukkah  seven days. This Pasuk inVayikra (23:42) sums up what we are about to do for the next seven days. I’m glad that I’m here in Israel to do it. The weather here is warm and beautiful. It will be a pleasure sitting in the Sukkah with my son and his family.

I’m told that the weather back home in Chicago is not quite so nice. In fact it’s pretty cold. Shivering in cold weather while eating makes the Sukkah experience a bit less enjoyable.  Which is why I prefer being in Israel this time of year.

But there is one minor drawback that always frustrates me. It’s observing Yom Tov Sheni (a second day of Yom Tov) while the natives aren’t. Many Chutzniks (as we foreigners in Israel are sometimes called)  do not utilize the Kula of ‘When in Rome - do as the Romans do’. And we thus suffer the indignities of looking like idiots by observing what to natives is a non existent day of Yom Tov. It is an absurdity of great proportion for me to see the most Charedi  looking of Jews driving down the street on Yom Tov Sheni as I walk to Shul - Daled Minm (Lulav and Esrog) in hand for Shachris.

Now it’s true that there are Poskim that say that when someone is in Israel even as a visitor, one need need not observe a second day. I believe that Chabad has that custom. But it is not my family’s custom.  I feel obligated to honor my family custom of observing Yom Tov Sheni as a tourist in Israel.

Be that as it may, the beauty of spending one of the Shalosh Regalim in the land of Israel, well over shadows any drawback. So I am looking forward to this evening with great anticipation when we will symbolically welcome the first Ushpizin (guest) – our patriarch Abraham.

Chag Sameach