Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sukkot Spirituality

My parents must not have had enough of my bungalow colony in the summer, so we went for the first day of Sukkot, and we had to come home last night because I had a midterm today. (Don't mind the fact that the professor accused me of trying to skip it, little did she know I made my family come home because of her insane test...GRR)

So they have this thing where they rent a communal Sukkah and tables and chairs, and have someone cater the meals, so that they don't have to cook. The meals cost about $30 per person, per meal...(maybe 25, maybe 35--everyone says different). Fine. Then they bring their maids to the place, but not to the sukkah. What they need them for, I don't know. They're not cooking, they're not serving, and they're not eating in the house. No pots or plates to wash, no meals to clean up after...just kids. Ah, yes, they're there for the kids. Now remember this important rule--The only time you are allowed to be seen with your kids is after shul, when they're dressed in their Burberry dresses and they're competing with their buddy's Sonya Rykiel. Got that? It's very important that you do NOT go to the playground with them. Ever.

When we got together with some other families, a woman mentioned that they paid the caretaker extra to put up the sukkah. This is after they built him a house for free, and pay an annual salary some would envy. When they came up Sunday night, it's not done! Why? Because he was being paid separately to put up other people's private sukkahs. (I guess for between meals and what not). If someone's handicapped Chas V'Shalom, or old, go right ahead. But my question is, WHERE IS THE SPIRIT OF SUKKOT?! Contrary to popular belief, this is not about money. Thank G-d, my dad could have probably paid the guy-what? 50 bucks? 100? to put up the sukkah. But it's our job! Now, I don't know if part of the Mitzvah of Sukkot is the building, but even if isn't, doesn't it feel special? You're putting out effort for the Yom Tov. You're showing that this matters to you. The people who don't leave their houses unless they look perfect, they know how to put effort into something that matters to them. What were they doing while this guy put up the sukkah, and the maid changed the linen and cleaned, and the kids were watching a video???

I mean, I would want to do it for Chinuch. The family next door to me there has 4 boys between the ages of 6-12, and I was so touched when I saw them all building the sukkah together, helping their father. Actually, on my own deck, my father and brother built the sukkah while I was in the kitchen cooking alongside my mother.

I think it would be so different, and so much more spiritual if they'd make it something exciting. It's a Mitzvah! Yom Tov is in the air! We're making something to serve Hashem! Which decoration should we put here, [insert child's name]? Get them involved.

Children need to be excited about doing Mitzvot, but if the parents couldn't care less...look what they're depriving their children of!! This is the generation. Mitzvot are considered burdens. You do them the at least inconvenience to you possible, and just wait till it's over.

As silly as it sounds, as I hung the decorations, I felt excited. Sukkot is really here! Hiddur Mitzvah! I don't think I could have done anything better with my time.

36 Comments:

At 10/20/2005 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds familiar--I remember when I was in 8th or 9th grade and we were learning the Halachos of Purim, a girl in my class wanted to know why you can't be yotzei if you send your maid or butler to deliver for you.

 
At 10/20/2005 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just noticed you changed your description of yourself--Happy Birthday?!

 
At 10/20/2005 4:39 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks! Yes, I am now TWENTY and single. Just gets better. In this community....

As for anon #1...I wish I didn't believe you,I wish I couldn't, but I do.

 
At 10/20/2005 5:04 PM, Blogger Lost said...

Great post michelle! i completely agree with e/o one of your observations. It's really pathetic how people use their hired help to do their mitzvot for them. and Burberry dress piss me off. just had to say that. lol have a gnite michelle!

 
At 10/21/2005 8:32 AM, Anonymous Benjy said...

Interesting how Michelle used to write "sukkos" and now writes "Sukkot" - shouldn't your profile say that you're a bait yaakov girl? You really are a mixed-up bird!

 
At 10/21/2005 9:28 AM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

yes 100% right
good rest of yom tov

 
At 10/22/2005 3:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Michelle, First of all i have to say i really like ure writing. I also have to say that I agree with you. What type of education are the children getting if they see a maid do the Mitzcah.

I mean if chas vsholom people in the house are too ill to build it themselves then fine. But otherwise there is no excuse. I stil remember im in my twwenties, but i still remember watching my dad do it and 'helping' (I was six) It was so exciitng.

I think we need to show kids that its exciting and fun to be frum- not just 'do's and dont's'If we dont, we risk losing them.

Have a Chag Sameach
Yonne

 
At 10/22/2005 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rik, you're awesome!

 
At 10/22/2005 9:17 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Benjy what is bothering you so much. I know its not Michelle's havara.

 
At 10/23/2005 1:53 PM, Blogger Steve Cash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10/23/2005 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Sem Girl, why not go back to Shop Rite and wet your panties over some yeshiva guy?

 
At 10/24/2005 5:35 AM, Blogger Karl said...

Firstly wanted to say the Mitzva is not the actual building of the Sukka, but living in one. It is a hiddur mitzva, andd the more effort you put in, the more schar you get - and the more you appriciate Yom Tov and enjoy the succa more.

It is a sorry situation where people get the maid, butler and doorman and whoever else to do EVERYTHING for them. You can learn from everyone.

Have a good rest of Yom Tov.
And Mazel Tov.

 
At 10/24/2005 7:42 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Yeah, so I wasn't sure about the whole building of a Sukkah, but I think it is because we are supposed to do it Motzei Yom Kippur. Why? So we are busy with a Mitzvah right after Yom Kippur rather than watching My Fair Brady...(Don't worry-that's a Sunday show...)

 
At 10/24/2005 8:20 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Anon

Cmon Im sure you can do better then that. Is that the most intelligent thing you have to say..

 
At 10/24/2005 10:40 AM, Anonymous Ikey said...

There are differing opinions as to whether building a sukka is a mitzva or not. I think it's a machlokes between the Bavli and Yerushalmi. For those who are really interested, the issue is discussed in Moadim Uzmanim vol. 1.

Either way, I think Michelle's point certainly stands. If enthusiasm for mitzvos dies, much of Orthodox judaism might go with it. It's a scary thought. It kind of ties into an idea I once heard, that the warmth and excitement of the chassidic movement saved judaism. But a full-blown discussion of that point is way beyond the scope of this comment, and I'll leave that for the girl who graces us with her humble Jewish opinion.

 
At 10/24/2005 11:19 AM, Blogger Steve Cash said...

I think you should all go to a sports website at
www.bballdude.blogspot.com
becuase this website is not for jewish boys you like sports.

 
At 10/26/2005 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sem Girl - it depends how you define intelligence. Is writing about that an intelligent thing? I guess if you're trying to appeal to horny yeshiva guys, then it is.

 
At 10/30/2005 9:38 AM, Blogger Elchonon said...

who cares if building a sukah is a mitzvah or not ? what kind of education is it to your kids if you have a goy build it for you ?
My earliest memories are of me as a kid building the sukah with my father, gradfather and brothers.
Whats up with the new schach mats ?
c'mon nothing beats palm branches which we paid a fortune for in meah she'arim, dragged home and loaded on the sukah... http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/638910.html these arab kids went to a jewish school and they got so into the yom tov fever that as kids they used to build suka's...

 
At 10/31/2005 5:59 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Elchonon-my point exactly.
That's a really nice memory, which further proves my point. Hmm, you should come back here. A lot.

 
At 11/08/2005 5:17 PM, Anonymous know u - Michelle said...

I know where u go - your distortion is amazing. The holier than thou comments you make are of course all one sided in this forum. The information you have is at best inaccurate and slanted. You cloak yourself being a so called Bais Yaakov girl - yet you dont even attempt an appearance in shul on Shabbos or Yom Tov. You make statements that are obviously private conversations that go on in your home between family-yet u dont have half the brain to keep your issues what they have been always - your family's private agenda. Had you been a little smarter you would keep you anger private as well. It is misplaced and wrong.
WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL YOURSELF WE ALL KNOW YOU AS THAT LOST SOUL IN UNIT BXX-Get a life girl it's too short to waste your time writing this garbage. Have the guts not to delete this honest comment!

 
At 11/10/2005 8:21 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Judging by your writing, you seem a little angry yourself, my dear.

As for me having the guts not to delete your comment...my policy is that I delete ads, or profanity. You should have the guts to tell the world who you are, and not hide by a cowardly anonymous while writing such explicity hurtful things to someone you obviously do not know well. If you knew me better, and read more of my posts without your horribly untrue bias, you would see that there is depth to me and what i write, as well as a true love and concern for MANY people. If you knew my personally, you would know that.

 
At 11/11/2005 7:10 AM, Anonymous Yedidya said...

to "know u michelle":

My beef with your moronic comment isn't the fact that it's vicious and hurtful; it's that you don't deal with any of the points or issues that Michelle has brought up. You just attack her personally. If you don't have the guts or the seichel to have a reasonable debate ABOUT THIE ISSUES, you don't deserve a voice on this blog.

So if there's a good argument for having maids raise the next generation of klal yisrael, let's hear it. If there's a good argument for being mechanech children to be obssessed with materialism and know every fancy designer at 5 years of age, let's hear it.

If Michelle's arguments are one-sided, then give us the other side. I'd love to hear it. But by resorting to personal attacks, you're simply proving Michelle's points about you.

 
At 11/11/2005 7:12 AM, Anonymous Yedidya said...

that should be "ABOUT THE ISSUES." I guess before I try to have a reasonable debate, I should probably learn to spell ;-)

 
At 11/13/2005 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"know-u Michelle", how immature can u get? i agree with yedidya. u cant be much nicer than Michelle if u write such disgusting things to her! u don't even know her!
how do u know what she talks about in her house? and calling someone a lost soul, well it's a lot nicer than things I want to say about u.
Michelle has the right to write what she sees. if it's distorted, tell us ur side, like yedidya said.
If it was up to me, i'd say U'RE the one who needs a life!

 
At 11/14/2005 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's obvious that know-u-michelle has serious psychological problems. And what agenda does she and her family have anyway? I hope God teaches that sicko a lesson....

 
At 11/03/2006 9:11 AM, Anonymous Moshe Dov said...

Hey Michelle: I've been going through the archives, and have found this to be a thoughtful blog.

But I had a question for you. How do you define spirituality? Is it about doing mitzvos by rote? Is it about doing mitzvos with kavanah? Or feeling close to God?

Like in this piece, you rip people for not feeling the spirituality of sukkos. let's get real, a lot of people don't feel much about judaism, they daven and eat kosher only because they have to. When was the last time many of us felt the beauty of shabbos. i would say the majority of frum jews dont feel much when it comes to yiddishkeit - why else would they resort to tv, movies, poker, money, etc in order to feel good?

 
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