by Pam Nelkon

Happiness, joy, simcha! Sometimes you can get a wonderful feeling that spreads over you causing such delight and exhilaration. I’d like to recount such an experience from my past. It was just before succot on a bright, warm sunny day with deep blue skies. I was in the garden cutting down dahlias to decorate three succot.


Firstly our own succah. This was a tent like structure made completely from natural materials. One of our shul members had designed it, and published details in the Woodside Ark. Assembled on the ground rustic poles were lashed together. Four stalwart men raised it up. Hessian for the walls was kindly donated by another shul member. The simplicity and the raw materials did help to give a feeling  of the Bnei Yisrael in the midbar.


The second succah was the shul succah at Woodside Park. This is because of the  size of the community, was much smaller than our existing one. The roof was covered with green laurels, and a veritable mass  of fruit and vegetables. For months beforehand the Ladies Guild had collected the greengrocers string bags for this purpose. Flowers, greenery and pampas grasses adorned the wooden trellised walls.


The third succah was in the East End of London.  My neighbor had asked me the previous year if I could give her some flowers for an East End Community where some of the memebers were in strained circumstances and did not have gardens. The synagogue had written such a lovely “thank you” latter that I made a note to offer flowers the following year.


Engaged in this task in the garden I felt really great.


Why was this?


Firstly it was a glorious day. I had been working hard and I was lovely and warm. The feel good endophions had kicked in. There was the jpoyful anticipation and preparation for the Chag. There was the joy of mitzvah – I was helping two communities – my own and the one in the East End. Helping people gave me a warm glow. It was good to be involved with friends in such an endeavor. I was touched by the letter from the East End Shul. It was such a delightful surprise. Overall I was filled with gratitude to Hashem for His beautiful world and all his gifts and kindness.

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