we all moan and groan when my father announces that it's time to bring up the boards. they each weigh a lot, and are very heavy and difficult to carry. thankfully this year i escaped that part of the building, and only got home when it was time to put the succah together. i started on one side with sister2, and my dad started on the other side with brother2. officially it wasn't a race, but brother2 seemed to think it was. then sister2 and i realized that the slower we'd work the less boards we'd have to put up. plus, the wrong sized bolt set us back about fifteen minutes. but we ended up meeting in the middle, so there were no complaints of anyone shirking.
the noise we made, banging and shrieking, as we dropped tools in the pool, and almost dropped boards on our toes, and hammered our thumbs, was only rivaled by my neighbors watching a football game next door, and my mother banging pots as she cooked for yom tov.
but beyond setting up the succah, we accomplished much more. the lessons I've learned from setting up the succah will stay with me forever. when Succot comes, and our guests and friends sit in the succah and admire the sturdy walls and decorations, they won't know about the work that went into the building. they won't hear the echoes of us calling to each other, and laughing over silly things.
we've learned all about tools. i know how to correctly use a wrench and a ratchet, but more importantly, I've learned never to use a tool for anything other than its intended purpose. I've learned how to drill holes in boards so they'll line up correctly. I've learned how measure bolts and nuts to make sure they'll all fit in. we've even learned how to fish a ratchet out of a pool, after i dropped it off the porch and fell into the pool area, and slowly rolled into the pool.
we've learned about teamwork, how it takes two people to hold up a board, and if you walk off the deck while the person on the other side is expecting you to hold up the board, that's not teamwork. how if you stand next to the person who's driving in a bolt and you've got the washers and nuts they need, that is teamwork, and the work will go much quicker.
and most importantly, we form bonds. I'm not talking specifically about when sister2 came up on the deck wearing brother1's catcher's mask and scared the living daylights out of sister1 so she went fleeing into the garage. and I'm not talking about when sister1 grabbed my flip flops and threw them into the pool, and then pushed me into the pool, when i went to retrieve them. it's more than that. it's activities like these, when we laugh, yell, and even squabble over silly things that will one day be looked back on fondly, years from now, when we'll turn to each other and recall the Succah Building days.