Recently, there was a Succah Design Competition that presented an astonishing and unexpected array of Succas, the temporary dwelling in which observant Jews eat—and some sleep—during the holiday of Succot.
When I first looked at the designs I doubted they were kosher, built according to the specifications of halachah, Jewish law. But I have subsequently learned that the designs are allegedly kosher. The architects consulted with a rabbinical student from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a very modern Orthodox college.
Naturally—and this is a very Jewish thing—there are serious halachic objections to the shelters.
Here’s a guide to the laws of building a Succah.
Like most structures designed by theory-saturated architects, the Succas are fascinating—even sexy—but ultimately impractical. I very much doubt that a single award-winning shelter will ever be used by observant Jews. The designs cost a fortune to fabricate, building them requires an engineering degree, and then, let’s face it, these are not structures that can be stored in your garage.
Still, it’s nice to see an ancient Jewish tradition—it started with the Exodus from Egypt—as the object of admiring attention.
Click here for a slide show.
But my very favorite Succah was created by a non-architect.
It won’t win any design competitions, it doesn’t have that sleek, Le Corbusier vibe, but the Peddi Succah is completely functional and has allowed over a thousand Jews from the exotic island of Manhattan to celebrate the mitzvot of the holiday of Succot.
Chabad emissary Rabbi Uriel Vigler has created the very first Peddi Sukkah — a sukkah on a bicycle, making history on the Upper East Side of Manhattan by allowing Jews to enter a sukkah and perform the necessary mitzvot of the Lulav and Etrog of Sukkot on the streets of New York.
Rabbi Vigler’s creation has given the Jewish community of Manhattan a way to fulfill the mitzvahs of Sukkot without needed their own sukkah.
The groundbreaking idea has already created buzz around the Jewish communities of Manhattan. Jews flocked to the Upper East Side to see the Peddi Sukka in action, while 1,000 Jews have already performed the ritual mitzvot inside the sukkah.
Full story at Vos iz Neias? Yiddish: What’s the News?
Beginning tonight, Karen and I will be celebrating the final days of Succot and then Shabbat, thus Seraphic Secret will be off-line until Monday. We wish all our friends and relatives a happy holiday and a lovely Shabbat.
The Lulav, a bundle of palm, willow, and myrtle branches, and Etrog, a citron, the Four Species.