This Week's Yizkor book excerpt (celebrating Succoth) on the JewishGen Facebook page #belarus #yizkorbooks


Bruce Drake
 

After the solemnity of the Days of Awe comes the joyous celebration of Succoth which starts this evening. Here are two Yizkor book excerpts to help you get in the mood. “Sukkos and Simkhas Torah” from the book of Dokshytsy, Belarus sets the stage with the building of the sukkah, after which came the completion of the yearly cycle of reading of the Torah in synagogue on Simkhas Toyre. “All of the knots left their faces, their eyes were bright, and there was joy and merriment. Hassidic melodies, dances, a good glass of spirits - - were not lacking on that day. Even people who were respected middle class citizens during the year allowed themselves certain wiles on that day.”
“An Ethrog for Succoth” from the book of Navahrudak, also in Belarus, begins with the arrival in town of Dvoire. She had come to select from him an eshrog (a yellow-skinned citrus fruit. She went to the rabbi’s home and gifted him a bag of flour, potatoes and a clucking chicken. The rabbi opened a box of ethrogs for her and let her do the choosing…She did not dwell and took home the perfect ethrog.” This was during a time of worry and fear and want. During the First World War there was hunger in town and without the help of Dvoire and generosity of her husband, the flour miller, things would have been desperate. Some thought that no one should risk their lives to travel for an eshrog. But on the last day before Succoth, Dvoire arrives “dishevelled and sweaty” but with her eyes shining. She had brought the perfect eshrog.


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

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