6 min read
For me the holiday of Sukkot brings up memories of candy.
The holiday of Sukkot brings up memories for us all. Memories of candy. The most beautiful tradition of Sukkot is something known as Sukkah hopping where you go around to various Sukkahs and get some candy. At least, these are my memories of Sukkot.
All of the Jewish rituals I enjoyed growing up were because of candy.
In fact, candy is the bedrock of my commitment to Judaism. Every holiday I ever celebrated brings up memory of candy; even Pesach, when candy was Chametz and all there was, was Bazooka gum which I actually ate because it’s the only sweet thing I could find.
I come today to show you how candy is the backbone of the Jewish child’s experience. Chinuch, Jewish education, is only as good as the candies you give the children. I know this because all of the rituals I enjoyed growing up were because of candy. Here are some of those rituals and the reason to keep giving your children candy, even if you are a millennial who believes that health comes from the food you eat:
When a child starts to learn Torah, we put honey on the first letter, so that the child will connect with the Torah as something sweet. This isn’t always the greatest idea. My nephew licked the letter and was walking around with a piece of the page stuck to his tongue for a couple of days.
Now for all of you health conscious parents out there, I know what you are thinking and let me stop you.
You don’t put broccoli on the first letter of the Torah. You want the child to love the Torah. No child is learning Torah because of vitamin B9. You can’t entice children with salad. Even with dressing, no kid would ever want to learn Torah.
One day I showed up to school and the rabbi said, ‘No gum in this class.’ I asked, ‘Why am I even here? If there is no candy, what is the point? Give me an F.’ I stopped going to gym class too. The gym teacher never gave us candy. First, he makes us run laps, and then we play dodgeball, for what? Why even go to school? You want to get Jewish kids into shape, keep them interested – give them candy.
Go to shul to pray? No. Kids go for the Candy-man. They even smile at this older man that they don’t know, until they lose their teeth. Side note: That is why many older devout Jews have fake teeth…Candy.
Ever been in shul for a Bar Mitzvah? Kids everywhere. Hundreds of children crawling on the floor by the Torah reader, diving for candy. Nobody knows where they all come from. I know. Word gets out. Random children come in from the park. Kids that aren’t even Jewish; they find slacks and jump into shul. After the candies are all picked up from whipping the Bar Mitzvah boy, not one child can be found. They disappear.
Asides from at Bar Mitzvahs, non-Jewish children are not allowed to eat candy. That is why they don’t go to shul regularly. You ask, why do people convert? They went to a friend’s Bar Mitzvah when they were young and they remember diving for a Sunkist fruit gem.
Sukkah Hopping- What is the tradition? No idea. But there is candy, so we do it. We hop from Sukkah to Sukkah. Nobody hops. People walk. But for candy, we will even skip. Because hopping and skipping is what happy people do. And we are happy, even if we have no idea why we are going into somebody’s home for a Sour Stick.
Simchat Torah- We randomly whip candies at kids. Not a tradition. It is something people do, because they want to be abusive and nobody gets mad when they see candy. The kids get hit by candy and they are happy. I get hit with a ball, I am perturbed. Get hit with candy, I love it. And because of this, they love the holidays.
Do you want your child to be a good Jew? Then rethink what health means to you. Do you want your kid to be a heretic who is an athlete or a good Jewish Talmud, scholar, with diabetes? Those are your two choices. There is no in between.
If you are going to tamper with your child’s life and education, make going to the park something they hate. Pull out your family picnic there, with the fruits and nuts. Don’t ruin shul and holidays for them. When they go to the park, give them the celery with peanut butter on it, and call that a treat. They’ll never want to go back to the park again. They will want to go to shul.
Pavlov knew what he was talking about, and educators must work around parents. This is why the powder candy in the fruit looking plastic was created, as a gateway candy; to wean children off the fruit their parents fed them. They open it up and sugar is inside, and then they become good Jews.
You want your kids to brush their teeth, give them sweets. No kid says, ‘You’re giving me too many candies and that is bad for my teeth.’ You want to parent correctly? Put powdered sugar on the toothbrush. If toothpaste was made from candy, all children would brush their teeth.
Educators shouldn’t be the only ones who care about your child’s future. Take an active role this Sukkot holiday and make sure your children have the sugar they need. We can keep Jewish tradition alive by educating the future generations with sweets.
There is actually commandment in the Torah to give your kids candies on holidays. It says, ‘You shall be happy on your holidays.’ The only way to be happy is for children to eat candy. This happiness made me the chubby devout Jew I am today, pre-diabetes.
So let us not get in the way of tradition, and may we continue to spread Sour Sticks, Sunkist fruit gems, and honey on Torah to all future generations.