I don’t know if my reaction to Sukkot is clinically bi-polar or not, but there ought to be a way to describe my erratic mood-swings as this week-long holiday approaches.
The anticipation buoys me up, thinking of the preparations underway, the hauling out of decorations made when hands were oh so much smaller, the warm memories of past holidays, I’m all smiles. I love this chag (holiday).
Reality in the Jewish Quarter is what swings my mood the other way, anticipating being at the center of a human onslaught as it seems the entire world is clogging up my streets, making the simplest of errands a Mission Impossible. My shoulders become locked into permanent tension, the bubbling anger rising in me as the strategies of coming and going becomes an escalating theater of the absurd. I hate this chag.
And so it has gone for many years, living life in the middle of the Jewish Magic Kingdom, but without the E-Z planned access of a corporate resort. Sukkot, a pilgrimage holiday with biblical origins, requires every Jew to visit the Temple in Jerusalem. Not so sure David and Solomon were thinking park ‘n’ ride or rapid transit.
It takes a rugged individualist to live in the Jewish Quarter, and, much like life in Israel overall, it is the intangible and inexplicable that tips how one feels about living here. This is a unique place, unlike any other. That is the compensation for the counter-intuition that bypasses inconveniences which come with this piece of real estate. Indeed, after the Jewish Quarter, everywhere else is Poughkeepsie.
In the spirit of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em,” I created this video clip to illustrate a bit of the enormously varied crowds that visit the Old City during this week. I found it valuable to turn my camera on the throngs, see them as individuals rather than invaders, and found myself truly marveling at the diversity of the people who value this pilgrimage in our day and age.
It makes me like totally Zen with the holiday, without meds.