For My Husband, Ode to Our Last Sukkah

We didn’t realize it would be,
The last sukkah of you and me.
Those boards, they stretched – it wasn’t wide,
Still all our children fit inside.
And grandchildren, as they came too,
And all the guests, thanks most to you.

The decorations that you saved,
All through the years, everyone raved.
How our grandchildren loved to see
What their parents once made at three!
The decorations grew and grew,
As each year brought us something new.

Now we go to our children’s home.
Now we are the ones who roam.
Yes, over thirty years have passed,
Our fragile house of hope did last.
As baal teshuvas we began this trend.
May our chain of sukkahs never end.
What was built came out of our hunger, our thirst.
It wasn’t our last sukkah. Just our first.

Bracha Goetz is the author of sixteen children’s books, including Remarkable Park , Let’s Stay Safe! and The Invisible Book.

5 comments on “For My Husband, Ode to Our Last Sukkah

  1. I sort of identify with Bracha Goetz. My husband Ira and I came to the painful realization that this is also our last sukkah, after 35 years of marriage. Ira at 62 cannot put up the sukkah anymore without help, and our stalwart “muzhinke” (the “baby” at 21 and only unmarried one left) will be going to Israel to learn next year. The boards are rotting away and would have to be replaced. So next year it will either be a newly purchased snap-together EZ-up-and-down sukkah or an invite to somebody else for the meals.

  2. I was thinking how much of Judaism requires a community or a family and cannot be practiced alone. Not even just the famous “ten men for a minyan” needed to say Kaddish or read from the Sefer Torah.

    For example, one Jewish person alone can’t set up a slaughterhouse to provide Kosher meat, or an eruv, or a mikveh. It would be impractical. I understand that Chabad shluchim in remote areas end up doing something similar, but they are doing this also with the needs of a larger, if more transient, community in mind.

    Singles tend to gravitate to families for Pesach and Sukkos due to the difficulty in “making )Pesach” and putting up a Sukkah for just one person. Even a decent pot of Shabbos cholent is difficult to do for just one person.

    Certainly the goal is to see everyone find his or her zivug, true “other half” and build a Jewish family and home. Without Jewish children there is no Jewish future, chas v’sholom.

  3. Nice poem.

    There are many baalei tschuva who dream of the chance to have the first in a chain of sukkahs like above, but they’re still single and live alone. Many dread the approach of Yom Tov, either because they don’t have a place to go, or because they just don’t want to spend a meal by a family, putting on a friendly face and “celebrating” in some unrelated family’s simchas. Been there, done that…extraordinarily special families, but it just gets tiring sometimes.

    While there are many proactive things one can do, it still gets hard to be alone, and sometimes one just wants to be alone. But Yom Tov is coming. What will I do about a sukkah this year? How will I say Shechayanu with kavana?

    I remember one year I had a whole plan of having the Pesach seder by myself in a shul after everyone davenened Maariv. In the end, it didn’t work. It’s not easy.

    Many families would like to help…now that I’m on the other side, I see that everything I preached (“I will ALWAYS make sure to have guests!” etc) isn’t practical. I can’t even fit my own family in my barely affordable sukkah this year.

    So lets at least daven that those who were in the position that some of us were once in can soon find thier destined matches. Then they too can eventually write the same poem as above.

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