89, 90, 91 out of 410 days: a Sea of Sukkot

My neighbors have finished the High Holidays and booths (sukkah singular, sukkot plural) have been appearing in every spare space that is open to the sky in preparation for the beginning of Sukkot this coming Wednesday.  The singing will go on long into the evening from inside the booths.  There will be large citron fruits and palm branches and myrtle and willow too.   I can see just one remaining unconstructed sukkah in a neighbor’s yard.  In just a few hours the hammering is sure to begin.  

It’s a good time of year to be outside, to be with family and friends.

The weekend SDA’s family came into the borough Saturday, a lovely time.  Sunday I had a little freak out about moving to Turkey for 10 months.  An attack of the what-ifs.  I find answering the question ‘Why are you going?’ exhausting.  Even to myself.  Also the question ‘aren’t you nervous about Syria…’  I am nervous about many things.  Money, my ability to write efficiently there, the stress of everyday activities, and isolation.  But not about Syria.  

So I made Foccacia.  

The most academic things I did was haggle with a street vendor for eight Loebs.  He threw in the ninth (Horace) for free.  And, wrote a sentence or two about the turris Mamilia more on that here later perhaps.


Sukkot always reminds me of the line in 2 Maccabees 1:9.  This book has a few letters from Jews in Judea writing to Jews in Egypt appended to the beginning.  The book as a whole is a testament to the Divine assistance to the Maccabean restoration of the temple (i.e. in contrast with 1 Maccabees which is more a history of the new dynasty).   The one line urges the Jews in Egypt to celebrate the feast of Booths in Chislev.  The ‘real’ feast of booths is the one now in Tishri.  The letter seems to be drawing a parallel between the establishment of the new holiday Chanukah and the activities and traditions of Sukkot. Borrowing the Torah-endorsed legitimacy of the latter for the former.

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