Temporary Refuge

I am writing while I am sitting in my sukkah this morning. Sukkot is my favorite holiday and I try to enjoy my sukkah as much as possible during the week that it stands in my yard. My family and I eat, read, work and even sleep in our sukkah. I look forward to it all year and I am always a little sad to take it down at the end of sukkot.

This year I was not sure our sukkah was going to last until the holiday started — the winds were over 20 mph and I was sure the whole thing was going to fall apart. With lots of rope and sandbags my husband managed to keep our sukkah upright, but it was a very clear physical reminder that a sukkah is supposed to be temporary and offers little protection from the elements.

I sat down this morning to write about how much I love my sukkah and how part of my enjoyment is accepting that it is only temporary. And then my friend Rabbi Lisa Levenberg posted this article from the New York Times and I realized how trivial anything I could say would be.

It is amazing and beautiful and tragic. Emily Rapp shares her story about her love for her son who, because he was born with a rare genetic disorder, will never have a chance to grow up. She is painfully aware of the truth of Ecclesiastes (the book we traditionally read on Sukkot) that nothing is forever.

She writes:
How do you parent without a net, without a future, knowing that you will lose your child, bit by torturous bit?
Depressing? Sure. But not without wisdom, not without a profound understanding of the human experience or without hard-won lessons, forged through grief and helplessness and deeply committed love about how to be not just a mother or a father but how to be human.
 You can read Emily's article here.


  1. Wow, thanks for sharing both your love of your sukkah (I love mine too though the Portland weather is sometimes not optimal for enjoying it) and the article you include about Emily Rapp and her beautiful son. Everything is fleeting the only thing is we all don't realize it or remember it. Emily certainly does and is living her life knowing it every second. Thanks for posting today. I was meant to read both of these beautiful stories.


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