I was about 10 years old when my Great-Aunt Cele led me into Congregation Beth Jacob’s sukkah on Park Heights Avenue. It was my first time in a sukkah, and, even as a child, I knew that this was a special place. Streams of sunlight shone on tables laden with fruit. More fruit hung from above. But what I remember the most was an indescribably sweet smell. Today, I think of that sukkah as a window on Gan Eden.
“Any sukkah by definition is special because it’s a very holy space...an atmosphere of complete kedusha,” says Rabbi Menachem Goldberger, Rav of Congregation Tiferes Yisroel. Yet making a sukkah more beautiful lies within the domain of hidur mitzva, according to Rabbi Goldberger. He quotes a passage from Az Yashir (Song at the Sea): “Zeh Kaili ve’anvaihu – This is my G-d and I will adorn him.”