Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chol HaMoed Sukkot Sunday Morning

Yom rishon, 16 Tishrei 5770, first day Chol HaMoed Sukkot.

Getting an early start on the first day of Chol HaMoed gives me the chance to get some nice photos.

We had a special guest, a friend the boys grew up with back in the Old Country.  As is so often the case in this holy place, the guys are together again, going to yeshiva.

Here, the Dearly Beloved and Shaya remind each other of how to tie the lulav.

While they davened the special prayers for the intermediate days of the Sukkot festival, I took a stroll around the the new neighborhood of the yishuv, and took a few more shots of the most recent settlement construction.  (I'll delve into the old neighborhood later, to prove to my friend in New Zealand that we do have more green here than she imagines.  Though it cannot be argued that G-d gave NZ a special measure of green.)

This fierce guard dog is protecting his owners' newest home.

Peeking in through one open sukkah door, we saw some lovely art work, and asked the owners if we could take a few photographs.  They were happy to oblige, and gave us a little of the history of the beautiful papercuts.

The work was done by the grandfather, who is in his eighties.  It is clear that his hands and eyes are still sure.  His son proudly explains to us that he still takes care of himself, still maintains his own garden.  Before the Holocaust, this grandfather did beautiful papercuts in Hungary.

Thankfully, he survived, to produce beautiful art here in Israel -- some from paper, and some in the form of strikingly handsome children and grandchildren.  Thank you, Hashem, for the few bright lights You did not allow to be extinguished.*

Quiz question:  Which are the temporary dwellings here?

Fun observations aside, these trailers are the way a lot of young people start out in Israel.  The Dearly Beloved and I have very fond memories of our very first and very simple home together.  May these young people share equally happy memories of their first "mansions," from within their future beautiful, permanent, child- and grandchild-filled homes here in the hills of Judea -- or wherever else in this Holy Land they choose to build and grow.

Home again.  Kedusha, in my own precious sukkah.  Baruch Hashem!

This post is in part for you, Micha and Suri.  Thanks for sharing, and adding some of your light to our chag.

*Dear Hashem, now that You have caused us to see the film of Gilad (ben Aviva) Shalit, still alive and well, please bring him home to us.  You are the only One who can.

For a translation into English of Gilad's words, please visit A Soldier's Mother.

Chol HaMoed:  intermediate days of seven- or eight-day festivals
Lulav:  palm branch used during the Sukkot holiday; also refers to a collection of palm, myrtle and willow branches
Kedusha:  holiness
Chag:  holiday

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