Shake the Lulav, Shake the Rest Off

sukkotGood lord, October already? Wow. Lots of things I should be addressing, such as a belated but racous “Chag Sameach!” to all those hanging out in their huts nibbling on fruit and nuts.

The best thing about decorating the sukkah (besides the obvious Jewish parent favorite of telling the children that it’s sooo much nicer than tinseling up a dead tree in the dead of winter) is the regional variety of traditional adornments. In California we strung cranberries and the usual oranges and lemons along with the requisite paper chains all of us remember from religious preschool along with a few redwood cones. Since the whole point (according to me) of Sukkot is to get back to the land, you know Savannah has to have its own unique vegetative offering for the straw ceiling: Peanuts and snap beans. No kidding. Isn’t that cool? They looked so pretty hanging there, but man, raw peanuts are a b*tch to string. At least they weren’t boiled; now that’s some nastiness.

In a fabulous convergence of traditional holiday and my personal hippie tendency towards worshipping nature, El Yenta Boy and I traveled to Flat Rock, NC this past weekend for the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference to camp in the woods and learn about the medicinal and spiritual qualities of wild plants. (His was one of only three penises there – and the only circumcised one.) It occured to me while we were sitting in the grass eating our quinoa and bulghur salad and organic greens with 400 strong, Shekinah-fired women that our Jewish mitzvah of being outdoors and thanking God for the bounty of the earth is something much more primal and came long before the Torah. My decades-long experience as a tree-hugging dirt worshipper has brought me more wisdom than going to synagogue; call me a heretic, but I’m just one of those tactical, stick-my-finger-in-it types. El Yenta Boy, being more cerebral, made his own connections and asked every person there if they were Jewish. “But they love the earth just like we do; isn’t that Jewish?” Mmm, I love my smart, soulful kid.

As far as the other events I’ve missed blogging about, like the New York visit from everyone’s most unfavorite Iranian with the Napoleonic complex (“We don’t have homosexuals like you do”? Please.) and the legal judgment of Britney Spears as the Worst Wannabe Jewish Mother EVER (I’m praying for her, I am!) seem far away as the wind blows the leaves off the magnolias. Even the discovery of a Nazi war criminal practically in my backyard can’t bring me down as I smell the air shift into autumn, the best of all seasons. Isn’t it better to watch the leaves change than watching TV?

*Artwork from; can’t find the artist’s name.

6 thoughts on “Shake the Lulav, Shake the Rest Off

  1. FWIW — I like boiled peanuts. … I hope that doesn’t make me (gulp) “southern” … does it?

    That comment about no homosexuals in Iran really really creeped me out … does than mean they’ve killed them all? … sorry, but I felt it had to be said … I’m actually glad Columbia let him speak, it only served to expose what it is we’re dealing with here in case anyone had any doubts … but enough of this …


  2. Yenta: You’ve hit the nail on the head again. You bet it’s nicer to watch the leaves turn. Your reference to tree hugging dirt worshipper reminds me of my days as a Boy Scout. To this day I love green forests, country air, and davening in the woods.

  3. Oy! I like davening in climate controlled shuls & my favorite tent is a nice hotel room … once upon a time my true love got me to go camping in Maine (she herself is from New England), she watched in great amusement as I searched in vain for a rockless piece of ground on which to lay my sleeping bag down, all this time wheezing away like the asthmatic I am. I’d have made really lousy company on the Exodus, without a doubt I was one of the whiny b’nei yisrael who wanted to go back and check into the Luxor.

  4. Dan, you’re hilarious! Ya look like Grizzly Adams (or did, I barely recognized you at shul) but you’re really Rupert Everett?

    And Schvach – let’s start a minyan on the marsh!

  5. A colleague from the Enlgish dept says the beard makes me look like Allen Ginsberg … but you say Grizzly Adams!? you think I look like some hillbilly with a pet bear? oh dear — all that okra and boiled peanuts that I’ve “et” really has made me Southern, then? … *gasp of horror*

  6. Yo:
    I’d be delighted to, but my tefillin would probably get ‘sogged out’.
    And from the Bad Puns Dept.: Minyan On The Marsh – I’ve got a million of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *