For Jews, Sukkot is just the latest holiday to fall victim to the pandemic.
Singing and dancing are off the (outdoor) table. Lulavs and etrogs can’t be shared. Even the sukkah, which might seem like the perfect pandemic-era structure, is suspect: New York authorities mandated social distancing inside, and most synagogues are treating them like especially breezy indoor spaces, not outdoor ones.
Does that mean the Jewish people have abandoned their sukkahs for the first time in millennia? Of course not. In fact, Sukkot 5781 may have spawned a new, pandemic-proof trend: sukkahs for pets.
Earlier this week, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg took to Twitter to share a picture of a tiny cardboard sukkah her friend created for a hamster, complete with a miniature lulav and etrog. The hamster even consented to pose in one of the tiny chairs, although we don’t know if it made kiddush.
My friend @shirafischer is here to provide you the hamster sukkah content you all need. pic.twitter.com/NsGd0Bykfw— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) October 1, 2020
Apparently, that hamster wasn’t the only animal observing the chag this year. Soon, others chimed in with pictures of their very devout pets. Do these sukkahs conform with halacha? Probably not. Nevertheless, here’s a tour of the stand-outs.
A rat sniffed out a sukkah that boasted an overturned berry carton as a table.
Rat sukkah! pic.twitter.com/wcgeKgG2C2— The agendah agendah (@werelibrary) October 3, 2020
Too cool for cardboard, a pair of birds relaxed amid some next-level DIY architecture.
heres a bird sukkah :) pic.twitter.com/wM389nctXJ— ceo of mello deathnote (@sunnylightmode) October 5, 2020
A tarantula seemed eminently unimpressed, and did not deign to venture inside.
pic.twitter.com/90eHQMra98— The agendah agendah (@werelibrary) October 5, 2020
A non-compliant dog sat near the sukkah, not inside.
Astrid would only consent to be sukkah-adjacent, even for treats! pic.twitter.com/r8qGkAjOyH— Suzanne Solomon (@snow_lynx) October 5, 2020
And some surprisingly obliging cats took full advantage.
update: pic.twitter.com/9po9t8T27u— Ξ madeleine Ξ (@tendergf) October 3, 2020
Pico is my friend and I am so glad he is able to observe the hag. https://t.co/PpNsdwIBee— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) October 5, 2020
Chag Sameowach! Maki and Hazel love the schach. #Sukkot2020@TheRaDRpic.twitter.com/nMnuEPP98f— Patrick Cahn (@SobaFett) October 5, 2020
Tbh this evokes the discussion in the Talmud, “can an animal serve as one of the walls of the sukkah?” https://t.co/1b5AdCuE83— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) October 5, 2020
Totally normal cat sukkah not made by a pandemic-crazed person pic.twitter.com/7wt5FwC8q0— Marjorie Ingall (@MarjorieIngall) October 8, 2020
October has been a rough year. Please enjoy my cats pretending the mini play-sukkah belongs to them.
(who am I kidding? it’s theirs now)#Jwitter#Sukkot#catspic.twitter.com/jjFqPXXk4E— Maria Worthen (@mariaworthen) October 6, 2020
We can’t wait for this Twitter phenomenon to reappear as a children’s picture book. All that’s needed is a sukkah for the fly on Mike Pence’s head.
Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @katz_conn.