Monday, we bought furniture for our succah - a folding table, some folding chairs. When we got home, we put up it up. It took the two of us an hour. a rather fun hour, to put it mostly up as it got darker around us. It's a case of very good engineering. The kit has fifteen rods of various sizes - four ten foot corner poles, plus five eight foot and six six foot width poles, which are all designed to lock together without tools. this creates a ten feet high six by eight box, with the remaining three poles attached one third of the way up to stablize the structure along three of the walls, with the fourth wall remaining open. We also wrapped three long nylon straps around those same three sides in the lower third of the walls, attached to built-in hooks. This made the walls halachichally complete as well as more stable, as each strap was less than forty inches apart from each other. This is important because one may not lay the roof until the walls are complete.
Then, in the growing darkness, we hung the nylon walls - a continuous curtain that started at one end of the open wall with a built-in door that zipped with a screen like a tent and wrapped around the entire structure, with velcro flaps to secure it to the upper rods and ties to secure it to the first rod and to close it off. There were also long strips to secure it to the center rod so it wouldn't blow about, and bottom flaps that, exhausted and hungry, we decided could wait. There are also two windows on either end and velcro patches for decorations. When we do finish it off, we will lay two wooden beams lenghtwise and roll over that a specially made bamboo mat. Then all we will need to do is bring in our furniture, decorate and hang a light so we can see to eat.
For years, I've come to Jewish neighborhoods this time of year and looked jealously at all the various sukkot going up - canvas tent walls, corrugated plastic, fiberglass panels, wooden structures ranging from plywood to solid framed panels. Large, small, flimsy, strong, ugly, beautiful. Mats, bamboo rods, spruce branches for the roofs. There's an infinite variety, you know? And I could eat in ones belonging to my synagogue, to my rabbi, to friends, to restaurants and to other synagogues, but never to *me*. Now I have one. And I'm not jealous. I'm proud.