| Top 5 |

Top 5 Succah Decorations 

     Because everyone knows that a properly decorated succah has to contain... 

Decorating your dining room? Think heavy frames and big gedolim pictures, carefully chosen to portray as much yichus as possible.

The kitchen? Think family prints and a fun “Live-Love-Eat Cookies” motif. (Less yichus here, usually)

The basement? Think shabby-chic/dirah-couture.

Whatever the room, it’s up to you to design as you please.

But decorating a succah? Now that must follow an age-old recipe, first created on the way out of Egypt by one interior designer, setting the stage for eons of succahs to come. Because everyone knows that a properly decorated succah has to contain these TOP 5 succah decorations….

1. A Bruchim Haba’im Sign

Handcrafted in a kindergarten, liberally decorated with triangles of colored paper and glued to a silver-foiled rectangle, this contemporary and timeless piece welcomes all succah hoppers. If you’re lucky, the sign will also contain a mugshot of said child (although no one really remembers which kid it was… they all looked alike at that age!), resplendent in a paint-splattered smock and holding a stuffed lulav and esrog, beaming at the camera. Since it’s hung by the child themselves, one can track the kid’s growth spurts by the leftover tape stuck to the succah door throughout the years.

How does this one sign make it through the inclement weather year after year, never getting ruined and always making its way back into the decorations box, to the basement, and back out again? That study is currently being conducted by NASA, as they attempt to recreate this indestructible material for use on the International Space Station.

2. The Poster of the 39 Succahs

This time-honored decoration memorializes, on laminated posterboard, the halachic question:

Would you, could you, on a boat?

On a camel, with sechach that can float?

On a succah’s second floor?

Or one stacked high with sechach galore?

Does a circle succah have walls at all?

Can it be kosher no matter how tall?

What if your succah is so small, it fits just you but no table at all!

What if it fits you, and a table at that

but it’s so short that it can’t fit your black hat?

Perhaps a succah with just two walls now,

plus another wall made from an immobilized cow?

What if it’s left over from last succah season,

And can fit just you, but not that day’s Ushpizin?

Does your succah have to be tall enough above

to give clearance for your Brisker lulav?

How ’bout a succah in a tent?

Or with two walls, plus one that’s bent?

Whatever your succah, make sure this poster is up

So that you can use your gemarakup!

3. The Dancing Chassidim

Never mind that it took Tatty four trips to Home Depot to figure out how to hang this particular decoration. These famous mirrored men dance the chag away on a field of (formerly black) velvet, crossing all litvish/yeshivish/chassidish borders. The faceless, tireless, joyous characters are a must-have, especially if you laminate them and use the water trapped inside the laminate as a level to ensure that the decoration is hung evenly.

Are they singing a niggun, Kabbalas Shabbos, or the post-Kiddush Levanah song? How can they dance when their limbs are clearly not connected, and perhaps no longer there? Are they reflective of life? Mysticism in the succah…

4. The Colorful Chain That Melts into Your Soup

Spanning all the way from the strangely red-and-green tinselly dollar-store hanging chandelier to the original plastic grapes from the days of the Meraglim and lasting merely minutes into the first rainfall, this decoration causes parents around the world to question the theory of relativity and how it affects time. The creation of this chain is the only time little kids are allowed to use a stapler and scissors with wild abandon, and woe to the one who runs out of a particular color, ruining the pattern! We need a bit more blue, now we must buy more red…. it’s like trying to finish the cereal and the milk at the exact same time.

And yes, this paper chain makes everything more colorful… including your white shirt, as it slowly drips its dye downward, festooning everything below with festive polka dots.

5. The Sechach

This ultimate decoration is the real beauty and purpose of a succah. After all, when viewed from above, the sechach is really the facade of the succah!

While there are lots of approaches to this holiest of canopies, I always insist on using fragrant pine branches — really, who needs anything else? Just like the kids’ decorations throughout the years, the real beauty is in the story those branches hold within.

 

Word to the wise: However you decorate, just remember that true beauty is always on the inside, so make sure the people and the Yom Tov experience are beautiful. And remember this too: True beauty is also in the eye of the bee-holder… so take the honey inside right after Hamotzi!

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 830)

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