Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Festival follies

The first night of Sukkot was a "bad news, good news" story.  On the one hand, we had to schedule our Maariv/Arvit/Evening Service for 8:30 PM in the "Dungeon" (the windowless basement chapel) because there were renters occupying both the sanctuary and the lobby in which our sukkah is located (under an openable skylight).  On the other hand, once the renters cleared out, we had a delightful time.  We and a bunch of  folks whom we've known for years brought our own dinners, homemade and/or from several friendly not-so-local kosher stores, and we ended up passing around a lot of good food.  Both the food and the friends made for a delightful first night in the sukkah.

The second night was, um, interesting.  One of the local characters showed up and regaled us, as usual, with an earful of his opinions, this time of a partisan political nature, largely "inspired" by the fact that that night's sanctuary renter was the local Democratic Club, whose members moved in with laptops, cell phones, etc. to make calls seeking support for Obama.  After an entire meal spent listening to his rants, I finally begged him repeatedly to change the subject.  In typical fashion, he got ticked off and threatened to leave and go bentch (say Birkat HaMazon/Grace After Meals) at home.  At that point, I got ticked off and handed him his head on a silver platter:  "You're not going anywhere [said I to this self-described ex-Chassid].  It's Sukkot.  We eat in the Sukkah, and we bentch in the Sukkah!  It's the din (law)!  Sit down!  I'm going for the bentchers (Birkat HaMazon books.)"  Much to my pleasant surprise, he did sit down and bentch with us.  But toward the end, when we were singing our praise to HaShem as the one who makes peace, he started ranting about supporters of Obama being against peace.  After we were finished bentching, I went after him with both barrels blazing.  "How dare you interrupt a prayer just to rant!  Chutzpah (nerve)!  Have you no respect?!"  The senior Shabbos Goy, having heard a good bit of the man's monologue and witnessed our reactions, was highly amused--'til the guy stormed out and bent his ear for five minutes.  Oy, what a Yom Tov!  But, hey, the leftovers were good.  :)


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