Every year around Passover, I usually offer some kind of advice column. But for Sukkot I don’t. But I should. People need advice for Sukkot too. We have men building houses, keeping plants alive, and dancing in public, and none of those are things Jewish men know how to do. So here goes:

Dear Mordechai,
    My kid made a picture of a sukkah for me to hang in my real actual sukkah. Why do I need this? I’m in a sukkah! I don’t have a picture of a house in my house!

Well, first, you have to understand where this is coming from. The halacha says that we’re supposed to hang nice things in the sukkah as we would in our house. But to be totally honest, anything nice that’s hanging in my house my wife decided to put up. I’ve put up a large copy of the front cover of one of my books, a set of three flyswatters, a list of things my kids can do to earn points, a paper towel rack, a certificate that says that I completed something called Mitzvah Clown Training, and a puzzle showing a picture of a half dozen cows drinking from a fountain, a clock in the bathroom that doesn’t work, and a calendar that’s been stuck on the same month since Purim. And all of it is crooked. So I don’t see how hanging things “as we would in our house” is respectful to our sukkah.

And anyway, most of us hang posters. What are we, teenagers?

Dear Mordechai: How do I hang decorations so they won’t fall?

So I say there should be sukkah decorations of things that people would actually hang in their houses. How about a picture of flowers to remind you of the last time you actually had flowers? How about pictures of your kids? Why not? You come home from the portrait studio with a 144 pictures of your kids, you’ve given one to each set of grandparents, and your kids don’t have 144 grandparents. So the rest are sitting around and getting outdated. You don’t want to give them to your friends and have them all hate you for it, and you’re not losing the ones in your wallet nearly as fast as you anticipated. (Maybe you should lose your wallet more often.) You can’t spare one for your sukkah? Are you afraid someone’s going to break in and know how many kids you have? They can count the folding chairs!

They’re already counting the craft projects.

Dear Mordechai,
    Should we get a carpet for our sukkah?

The salesperson at the carpet store might tell you, “No!” but don’t listen to him. There’s nothing as awesome as a sukkah that has a carpet in it, because that way it’s just like your home, except that your home doesn’t have carpet in your dining room, because your kids eat like Cookie Monster. Then you can’t sweep it properly, because it’s a carpet, and you have animals coming in middle of the night and noshing on the food, and leaving whatever it is that animals leave on the carpet. Which you can’t clean. This is why you have no carpet in your dining room.

Dear Mordechai,
    Why does it always rain on Sukkot?

It’s not Sukkot, specifically. It also always rains Pesach, usually while you’re trying to burn your chometz. You can almost never guarantee that you can stand outside for 8 days and not have it rain. You just usually don’t know about it. Normally, if it rains at night, things are dry by the morning, thanks to the sun. The sukkah just happens to be designed to block out most of the sun. Also, the thing about Sukkot is that even long after it stops raining, it’s still raining in your sukkah.

Dear Mordechai,
    How do I hang decorations so they won’t fall?

A lot of people use tape, but there’s really no waterproof tape. What do plumbers use? I guess plumber’s tape.

But a sukkah is supposed to be like your home, right? How do you hang pictures at home? Hammer and nails! Though this will be difficult if you have a canvas sukkah. Also, at home, things you put up with a hammer and nails don’t actually stay up either. The kids keep knocking them down. Especially when they slam the door. Or, in the case of your sukkah, the flap.

Your best bet is to hope that after the pictures fall, they land face up, so you can still enjoy them on the holiday as you step over them. The problem is that, logically, a picture toppling off a wall will probably not land face up. So our advice, if you know it’s going to rain early into Sukkot, is to hang your pictures facing the wall.

Dear Mordechai,
    Should I get a rain hat for my sukkah?

Yes. Dry sukkahs are far more comfortable than wet sukkahs, especially if you have a carpet. Otherwise you spend the entire time walking around the sukkah going squish, squish, squish. You want to get a schlock, which is Yiddish for, “something cheap and inferior” and lay it over your sukkah and pray that the rain starts weighing it down before the wind blows it away. Or else the wind blows it partially off, and you get like a triangle of sukkah dryness that everyone is going to try to sit in, so your table is going to look like a dais at a very small bar mitzvah.

But assuming it doesn’t blow off, the schlock should keep your sukkah dry, at least until you try to take it off.

Maybe get a carpet for your sukkah and put it over the top. Those are absorbent.

Have a question for Mordechai? Post it facing the wall.