I have been thinking a lot about roots lately. About where I would like to settle with my daughter, buy a house, adopt a puppy. When we left our hometown of Atlanta eight years ago, I didn't know how long our adventure would last. I didn't know we would live in small, but charming apartments, first in calm, rainy Portland, then in frenetic, sunny Los Angeles. And that after a while, the temporary nature of our dwellings, and so much time spent far away from where we started, would pose a question of its own. Where do we belong?
It seems the core ritual of Sukkot, building the sukkah, has something to say about just that. According to tradition, this temporary, four-walled structure with a branch roof open to the sky is a reminder of the Israelites' huts in the deserts, as they wandered from place to place for 40 years. The sukkah also highlights one of the themes of the holiday -- the impermanence of our lives, says Michael Strassfeld in "The Jewish Holidays, A Guide & Commentary" (HarperResource, 1993).