I mentioned, as one of the reasons that Autumn is my favorite season and October as my favorite month, that I love Sukkot. Well, I think Sukkot is my favorite holiday.
Why? Oh, man, I wouldn’t have this blog if I thought you didn’t want to hear why!
First of all, there’s the emotional aspect. We’ve just gotten done with the hightened anxiety and stress of the high holidays, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. For a month and a half (since rosh chodesh Elul) the focus has been on introspection and teshuva. Yom Kippur may be the singularly most emotionally draining day of the year. And then a mere four days later, it’s all happiness. In fact, Sukkot, as opposed to any other holiday is known as Z’man Simchatenu, the Time of our Happiness. The release of being done with Yom Kippur just adds so much to the regular happiness of the regel.
Second, there’s the food. Unlike Pesach, there are no restrictions on what you can eat. The amount of food that gets prepared and consumed over this week is staggerring. And if you’re someone, like me, who appreciates good food, well, that’s a plus for you.
Unlike, Shavuot, however, Sukkot lasts 8 days (or 9 in Chutz La’Aretz). It’s a week-long party. And unlike Shavuot that doesn’t really have much by way of identity (other than tikkun lail shavuot) Sukkot has 2 signature miztvot (Sukkah and Lulav), not to mention a whole second yomtov with a whole new set of stuff to do (Simchat Torah). In fact, this sets it apart from Shevi’i shel Pesach, that kinda gets a little boring and repetetive. Everything in Pesach gets done on the first day(s). And preparing for Sukkot (building a sukkah, buying a lulav and esrog) is much easier than preparing for Pesach (converting the house, buying matza and related products, etc.)
Finally, the weather. This insane year notwithstanding, we usually get some nice crisp October weather, and playoff baseball to bitch about missing (and wake up looking for the newspaper). Or, you know, have an Israeli relative over to turn on the TV and spend Simchat Torah night watching the World Series instead of going to hakafos. (Oh, who would do something like that?…….I mean, come on, that’s just wrong. [Crickets….])