Friday, October 10, 2014


Our sukkah leans a little.
It feels like a metaphor.

In yoga, when you try to stand on one leg and balance, you wobble. One of my teachers once said, "embrace your wobble." Yep, that's our sukkah. Wobbly in so many ways.

Sukkot was really Sammy's favorite holiday. I think it was because he loved to be outdoors, and this holiday is all about that. I know he loved the fall, with its beautiful displays of nature's beauty, and I know that he really loved having people over and sharing his favorite sukkot menu with them (macaroni and cheese, if you're new around here).

I can only imagine what kind of crunchy-granola-earth-loving-sukkah-dweller Sam would have grown up to be....

Oh, how I miss his part in all of this.
Oh, how I miss having him here to be in our sukkah.
We all do.

It's traditional to welcome guests into the sukkah, not just real guests, but also imaginary ones.*
Solly does this all the time. He talks to Sammy "in my heart," he tells me.

"I told Sammy-in-my-heart that I want him to come back for my birthday."

I opened the sukkah decoration box and found artwork filled with Sammy's handprints.
A piece of him, in our sukkah.

Sukkot is all about our own vulnerability.
Our sukkah leans a little.
It wobbles.
And so do we.
Sukkot 2008 (me do it! I wanna go on the ladder!)
Sukkot 2009 -- note that he is wearing pajamas
Sukkot 2010 - "dwelling" by playing his Nintendo
Also 2010 - helping put up our indoor sukkah
2011 - they were ready for some dwelling
Sukkot 2012 - our last one together, although we didn't know it. In 2013 we didn't build a sukkah.
Eating mac and cheese at the 2012 sukkah party
Shaking lulav in the hospital Healing Garden in 2013 with Rabbi Steve....
300 days later and it doesn't seem any more real.
Where we were last year: Speed Bump
Where we were two years ago: One Day at a Time
Our Sukkah in 2010: Define Dwell
In 2009: Painting (this is the artwork that I found in the decoration box)

*Tradition teaches that we welcome not only actual guests but also ushpizin ("guests" in Aramaic) into our sukkah. These "imaginary friends" are our ancestors, seven patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. In recent years, many re-tellings of this ritual have encouraged bringing metaphorical guests of all kinds into the sukkah. Read more about ushpizin here.


  1. As I was reading this, my son (almost five) peered at the monitor and first proclaimed "my favorite! pictures of me!" I explained that these are not him, these are pictures of a little boy named Sammy. He looked at them all carefully and said "He likes the sukkah." I agreed.

    Sending love to you and yours.

  2. thank you for inviting me into Sam's sukkah, a blessing for one of the ushpizim, wobbling with you

  3. I would imagine you're forced to "embrace the wobble" every day. Hugs and prayers to you today and in this upcoming season. I'll be looking for perfect leaves (and not handing them to Owen, who will promptly crumple them to bits).

  4. Succot is about transience. Isn't it?
    The sechach must let in light and rain.

  5. you are blessed to have such sweet memories of sam. wishing you only sweet times with your children. love the pix. of sam holding his lulav and etrog.

  6. As I was hurrying through a parking lot the other day with my son, getting ready for our upcoming Halloween party, I glanced down and saw a leaf, one of the first leaves I've noticed, looking very much like the Perfect leaf Sam gave you. I thought of you, and Sam, and want you to know.