New York, NY
The divine shelter of the Clouds of Glory elevated the Jews to this level of Kedusha, and the Sukkah does the same. During Sukkot we are not merely reminded of the Clouds of Glory and our potential to attain Kedusha, we are temporarily elevated to that very same level.
The physical frailty of the Sukkah serves as a reminder of the nomadic structures, which served as a physical protector from the desert, constructed from materials at hand. The element which truly completes the Sukkah is the S’chach, the virgin organic material that has traditionally been used for the roofing. The use of this material recreates the necessity of using available materials during the Exodus, and also references the tradition of Sukkot as a harvest festival. The use of these leftover organic materials for the roof makes sense in an agrarian society, however, in our post-agrarian society we no longer have an explicit connection to the harvest process. Our lack of knowledge and experience with the harvest makes it impossible to fully understand the importance of this harvest festival.
By re-examining the S’chach, the essence of the Sukkah, and developing a new definition of the S’chach in terms of modern society, it is possible to redefine the most important aspect of the Sukkah and revive the Sukkah as a physical manifestation of God’s protection, constructed by an economy of means and materials, using items not typically used in construction to create our Sukkah.
In today’s consumer society, the most available, non-expensive material, is our trash. The leftover waste that we create on a daily basis can be re-appropriated to construct a new, immersive Sukkah. This is not as radical a departure in creating the S’chach as it seems, the traditional use of organic materials [non-edible, non-usable] was the leftover material from the harvest which preceded the festival. By reassessing what materials it is that are “leftover” and utilizing these in the construction of a Sukkah, it is possible to re-emphasis the importance of the festival and maintain its connection and reflection of our daily lives.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: New York, NY, US
My Role: Principal