Poem: A Joyous Insanity

They’re everywhere

Those yelling peddlers of palms and citrons

From darkened bus stops, like some upside down pusher

To the chaotic courtyard of my shul

Breathlessly asking, pleading

‘Can I sell you the four species?’

Never tiring or despairing

Hoping to make you that special match with the choicest of sets

It’s crazy

Yom Kippur ended

Succot in the air

Our city full of sounds of booths being put up

The clang of metal poles

The whirr of electric drills

The banging of determined hammers

And the delicious yells of those kids

Hawking their holy wares late into the night

It’s just what we need

This wonderful insanity

In a season of introspection and preoccupation

With worried prayers and frantic pleas

The terrible rationality of life comes into dreaded focus

Will I live or will I die?

Then comes Succot and says,

‘Enough already!

Enough with your calculations

With your fears

Enough with your guilt

Let’s run around with palm branches and fancy lemons

Let’s sit in rickety booths of fabric and wood

And in place of blackness of despair

Let’s look up and into the stars’

Of course it’s insane

Thank God for that

Better a life of vibrant joy

Than the soul strangling

Tyranny of rationality and its horrible despair

So sure kid I’ll take a set or two

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