Alone in the Sukkah

Alone in the sukkah, Kohelet* and me

Havel, havalim,” he tells my coffee’s rising steam.

Yes, “vapor, all is vapor,” I’m willing to agree.

Lifebreath can’t remain for long

and the future can’t be told.

But does that make life “futile”

or just make it hard to hold.

*The Book of Kohelet, or Ecclesiastes, is read during Sukkot. This book includes the “time for every purpose under heaven” verses (3:1-8) which Pete Seeger used for “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

The words of Kohelet son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Utter futility! –said Koheleth —
Utter futility! All is futile! [havel havalim ha-kol havel]
What real value is there for a man
In all the gains he makes beneath the sun? (1:1-3, Jewish Publication Society translation)

This poem was originally written for Shemini Atzeret services with Fabrangen Havurah (around 1999?).
Creative Commons License
Alone in the Sukkah by Virginia A. Spatz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

2 thoughts on “Alone in the Sukkah”

  1. I just found your blog. Thank you so much for sharing. We too are located in the suburbs of DC. It is nice to know there are other Jewish homeschoolers in the area.

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