Gut yontif

Sentences that I would have never, ever predicted one year ago:

“The sukkah in the front of the synagogue is not kosher, because we can’t give it three walls and still make it drive-through. Please make sure everyone is wearing masks when you go through.”

I’m not Jewish, but my wife and kids are, and that was the message from our synagogue today. Imagine reading that one year ago and trying to make sense of it.

Chag Sameach to anyone who’s celebrating.


  1. This was hilarious. I’m currently writing a long comment about tags, in which I’ve called for eliminating “LOL” in favor of “humor” (I dislike millennial acronyms), but for this post I would make an exception.

  2. 🎵’Ma cabane au Canada
    Est blottie au fond des bois
    On y voit des écureuils
    Sur le seuil’🎵

  3. As much as we love to blame Millennials for everything, “LOL” goes back at least to the ’80s, so it was either Gen X-ers or Baby Boomers who coined it. 🙂

  4. Oy!

    Big problem in NYC in certain neighborhoods where there are a lot of ultra Orthodox Jews as they are not distancing or wearing masks. Mayor is about to shut down those neighborhoods again as the number of C-19 cases is rising.

    Meanwhile there are other, more sane, ultra Orthodox rabbis who are not meshuga and are following the rules.

    I never thought I would see live Orthodox Jewish synagogue services on TV for Shabbos or the high holy holidays – amazing what can be worked out to deal with problems by sane, intelligent people.

  5. I’m confused. Can’t it have walls with doors in them? Can’t it have five walls, with two of them missing? Exactly how geometrically defined is this thing?

  6. @ DaveT – In the tragic absence of our primary resident expert, I would go so far as to say that the traditional rules are almost certainly based on normal (orthogonal) architecture. In addition, innovative solutions that obey the strict “letter” (but do an end run around the “spirit”) of the Law are generally met with a certain amount of disdain by Talmudic authorities.

  7. DaveT: I’ve always heard that a sukkah needs at least three enclosing walls. I’m not sure exactly what the requirements for enclosing are – I’m sure there’s centuries of debate on the matter – but with entrances and exits large enough for a car to go through, those two sides really just became empty frames, not really walls.

    From what I can tell, it does seem as if they could have given it five walls, with two missing (or six walls, with three missing, as they also needed an opening big enough to interact with the rabbi). I’m not totally sure, though.

    There’s sometimes a call for innovative solutions that obey the strict letter of the law, but unlike, e.g. the Sabbath ban on fire (=electricity?), there hasn’t been much call for workarounds on sukkah requirements. Perhaps if the pandemic goes on for another year, we’ll see widespread adoption of the “five walls, with two missing” sukkah.

  8. According to a couple of sites, there’s text in the Talmud that says at least 3 walls are required. The sukkah is supposed to be substantial enough to support the fiction that the family lives in it for the week. They don’t, of course, but they’re supposed to spend substantial time there and to eat all meals there.

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.