I wrote this piece several years ago. Some things have changed about my situation (I have health insurance! We got married! DOMA went away!) However, the basic message is still good – disability can change how you approach mitzvot. It’s OK to find a way to participate without it having to meet some artificial standard of “perfection.”
I woke up this morning aching again. This has been going on for years, gradually getting worse. Some days it takes a couple of hours of warm-up to walk. Since I have had minimal health insurance and have been terrified of losing it, I have not investigated the aches too closely. I hope that will change soon, now that my marriage is recognized by the Feds (no more DOMA, Thank you Supreme Court.)
Why am I bothering readers with this? Because the mystery aches, along with some old orthopedic problems, are the reason I am not building a sukkah this week. Putting it up and taking it down is just too much, especially with my classes coming so soon. I am quite certain I am not alone in this.
What do you do when a mitzvah is simply beyond you? I lean on my community. I will help a friend decorate her sukkah, and enjoy sitting in it with the people who come. And I can feel OK about that, because I will help make folks feel welcome there. Also I learn where the sukkah and sort-of-sukkahs are, and I help others find them.
I have been enthusiastic talking about Sukkot on this blog. I love Sukkot. But I didn’t want a reader to be sitting out there thinking that because you can’t afford a sukkah, or you have arthritis, that you are somehow falling short this Sukkot. Hospitality comes in many forms, and so does participation in this holiday.
Sukkot sameach! If you live in the East Bay, I’d be delighted to meet you in one of the several Sukkot available to us. Enjoy the holiday in all the ways available to you!