Gershon Hepner

Hardly Weatherproof While Roofless on Sukkot

The shelter sukkot have to give is temporary,

so that they must be literally ex tempore,

not permanent like residences where we live

the rest of our brief lives. Counterintuitive,

if we believe in permanence, but linked to logic

that is not rational—rather, it is theologic—

our fourth dimension. It’s the limit on the time

that we can last, while through their flimsy roofs Jews climb

towards the past, when God’s most glorious clouds, we say,

protected them within the wilderness till they

could leave the wasteland for a country where they’d find

God gave them less protection. This they didn’t mind,

because they now preferred to be intuitive,

in homes quite permanent, except when they relive

the period in which every Jew within his booth

still understands, counterintuitively, truth.

It’s here that Jews like Qohelet’s kingly author revel,

while seeing though their roofs what’s under heaven:  hevel;

more balanced ecologically with nature while

outside the house than when beneath a solid roof,

counterintuively in Qohelet’s style

unprotected, since the world is hardly weatherproof.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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