i like simplicity.religion, on the other hand, loves complication. take sukkahs. obviously meant to be a reenactment of temporary, hastily-constructed wilderness shelters on the way to a more permanent location, they have evolved into huge, elaborate luxury condo-sukkahs with all the amenities. by now they may have a toilet option. not that most people actually live in them, as prescribed, but it’s important to impress family, friends, and fellow-congregants. they’ve come so far that their sukkah is almost as comfy and convenient as their house! (not to mention a zillion times more substantial than actual housing arrangements for many people throughout the world, including in our own country. meanwhile, my very humble sukkah is being battered and blown away by typical october weather, bearing no resemblance to the dry, desert conditions the original shelters were built for. we can barely afford to repair our house plumbing, which is aging along with the house and its inmates, never mind adding on a sukkah extension with its own conveniences. but that’s religion in the modern world. not content with mere whole libraries of accumulated manmade (contradictory) rules, regs, and cubit-measurements, religious observance must be increasingly ostentatious and comfortable. we’re so advanced here in the 21st century. i’m like a reverse-snob. i imagine the respectable young family next door, with their big, prefab, kosher sukkah, looking down their noses at my laughable caricature as it tries to self-destruct, while getting ready to entertain guests in theirs. there’s no point inviting them to my poor imitation, when they have such a nice one. and vice versa. not a big deal, just sayin… i should clarify that i don’t do religion anymore. these vestigial traces are mostly out of respect for the dying generation. i know firsthand that once you start down that road, where does it end? it ends at some arbitrary line that each person draws when they don’t want to get ‘too fanatical’ —or too inconvenienced. because, face it, many people forget the whole original point, or why they’re doing it in the first place, but it’s a habit, or it satisfies a craving for traditions and rituals, or someone else expected it of them, or whatever the case may be. the driving premise is long gone, but the forms are still in place. they’re going through the motions. the forms and motions have become frozen into a complex edifice, devoid of any spirit. (cynical? me?) meanwhile, back at the lowly hobbit-sukkah, i am not without my sense of humor. it makes a great hangout to drink beer in, and at night my solar light string winks mischievously at the neighbors. the varmint guests are partaking of the decorations, and i am enjoying one of my few remaining creative outlets. it’s not quite basket-weaving, although not that far from it! it keeps me humored. the few half-demented oldsters who have hobbled into it don’t seem to mind its lack of sophistication. it’s crude and simple, as it should be.