There was simplicity in the Pre-Borsalino Era at SUCCOS time. Pre-Borsalino Jews lived in an apartment building and during SUCCOS, dwelt in the SUCCAH. The SUCCAH was, of course, in the SHUL! Freed of the pressure and stress of actually building a SUCCAH, you were fresh enough to actually relax and enjoy the brief moments you spent there. Your thoughts turned to the travails of BNAI YISROEL in the Desert and the Divine protection afforded them - as you relaxed, sipped a cup of wine and enjoyed a bite of cake.

At least for this Pre-Borsalino Jew, a nagging thought always accompanied me in the SHUL’S SUCCAH – wouldn’t it be great if I lived in my own house and could build my own SUCCAH? In the early 70’s, at the dawning of the Borsalino Era, the dream of homeownership was realized by my father and consequently by myself. Wow – I get to build a SUCCAH this year!

Not long after thrill of getting to do a new MITZVA wore off, the reality of the Borsalino Era SUCCAH set in. Acquiring and erecting a Borsalino Era SUCCAH was a far cry from the simple plywood structure outside our SHUL. I had to return to College to earn a Civil Engineering degree to obtain enough knowledge to choose from the myriad of prefab constructions available - pipe-and-canvas, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, titanium, geodesic dome.

The woes only began after making the choice of construction. Place supports “C” and “D” squarely in brace “F” while slightly flexing side-to-side and bolt into place with a 7/16 X 1 1/12 inch machine bolt, lock washer and nut – refer to parts diagram on page 289.

It gets easier each year I do it, especially after bandaging the laceration I get every year in the same place from the same sharp aluminum thingy.

After surviving the construction phase, we get to top our structure off with the new “permanent” SCHACH. “Permanent” SCHACH is always brand new because each year the Borsalino Era Sages come up with a new stringency that makes last year’s “Permanent” SCHACH POSUL.

SUCCOS remains SUCCOS though and each year around SHMINI ATZERES when I finally regain my strength and spend some time in the SUCCAH, I begin to contemplate the really easy time BNAI YISROEL had, under Divine Protection in their simple, non-prefab booths. Of course, that old nagging thought is still there. Wouldn’t it be great if I could live in an apartment and dwell in a SUCCAH somebody else put up?


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