Hello dear readers,
Today’s blog forecast will be… about the weather on Sukkot!
Sukkot is always on the 15th of Tishrei, but in terms of the secular calendar, it usually falls somewhere between September 15 and October 15 (depending on whether it’s a Jewish leap year, and other factors I suppose). Sukkot is great because it’s a fall holiday, but the weather can change a lot between September 15 and October 15! In New York at least, between September and October, the average temperature falls around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and the amount of daylight grows less and less (and then gets totally confusing with daylight savings time changing the clocks at the end of October). Plus, it sometimes snows in October too!
I can’t remember a Sukkot where we had to deal with snow (though it might be that I was traveling for a kosher Sukkot vacation), but I can certainly remember Sukkot with rain. One of the ideas of Sukkot, of course, is that we are living outside in our temporary home, the sukkah, but what are we supposed to do if it rains? Well, most halachic authorities agree that a heavy rain exempts a person from eating in the sukkah and that any rains exempt a person from sleeping in the sukkah. In fact, I think I remember a halachic authority claiming that a person who goes to the sukkah under conditions where he is exempted from going is actually acting foolish! (I can’t remember who wrote this, though – if you remember, please write something in the comments!) After that, I suppose it is a matter of degree – for a light sprinkling of rain maybe you should stay in the sukkah as long as you can. However, you should probably go inside if you’re facing a deluge on par with what Noah saw when building the ark.
These conditions aren’t only about rain – you might leave the sukkah if there’s a terrible odor or if it’s too cold. (If you can leave for rain and if you can leave for the cold then I’m guessing you can leave for cold rain, also known as snow!) Still, some authorities claim that you should make an extra effort, even if it’s cold and rainy, to at least start in the sukkah on the first night of the holiday. They advise making at least the four important brachot (Kiddush, shehechyanu, hamotzi, and leshev basukkah) on the first night before going inside.
So that’s the scope of my Sukkot weather experience and thoughts. Has anyone had a different weather phenomenon – maybe tornados in Kansas, or intense heat near the equator? Or what happens below the equator, what’s the weather like down there on Sukkot? Hmmm…
Where you are celebrating Sukkot can have a big impact on the type of weather you will be experiencing. If you’re looking to experience Sukkot in a different climate, contact Leisure Time Tours today. Give us a call at 718-528-0700.