Sukkot – Welcoming an Outdoor Holiday

The Minnesota Fall is firming its hold on our landscape as the temperatures drop, apples redden and leaves turn golden colors. And yet, our tradition asks of us to construct a flimsy structure in which to consume our meals, spend our nights and experience the elements. Yes, this tradition is rooted in a balmy Mediterranean climate, that offers warm evenings and cool, comfortable nights, unlike our own climate. However, the essence of the challenge to our comfortable, sheltered lives is the same; what is it like to be transient? How does it feel NOT to have a solid roof over our heads, or firm walls to protect us? We are asked to allow ourselves to become vulnerable, open to the elements and each other. Furthermore, the biggest Mitzvah during this time is that of Ushpizin; the welcoming of others into our temporary home. Yes, during our humbling, vulnerable time, we are expected to find room to be hosts to others as well… It is a lesson in expanding our hearts and our perceptions.

Recently, Adath Jeshurun associate rabbi, Aaron Weininger shared that Sukkot is his favorite Jewish holiday. During a casual session of Q & A, while on a brief break from Yom Kippur prayers, he detailed his reasoning. While most Jewish holidays are celebrated and practiced indoors (whether at home or at the synagogue), Sukkot is an outdoor holiday. Following Yom Kippur, which is a continuous flow of prayers in the synagogue throughout the day, Sukkot uniquely requires us to not only step outside but to live outside. This holiday connects us to nature, its organic cycle and power and reminds us of our, as well as our fellow humans, vulnerability.

So, whichever way you build your Sukkah, or are lucky enough to be invited to share a meal in one, I hope you embrace its challenge to open our hearts and our perceptions. May you have great weather, wonderful company, and meaningful conversations.

Oh, wait – sumptuous food as well! I can help with that…

Since Sukkot is an 8-day holiday, it always includes a weekend and Viola! Easy entertaining is possible! One of the favorite meals to host in a sukkah is brunch. Punch for a crowd, make-ahead crowd-pleasing dishes, a fresh salad and a few pre-prepared desserts and you are all set.

Here is a fun and easy menu to please adults and kids alike.

  1. I Heart Naptime – Punch for a Crowd
  2. Tasting Tables Baked Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash & Burrata
  3. Leit’s Culinaria Tomato & Goat Cheese Cobbler
  4. Skinny Taste GF Butternut Squash Soup (Slow Cooker Recipe)
  5. BuzzFeed Fall Salads
  6. Fresh fruit
  7. NY Times Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
  8. Shutterbean Caramel Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
  9. Kale and Caramel Breakfast Plum Cake

Just for fun:

Sukkot Kids Crafts on Pinterest