Sukkot in Kazan - Rav Yitzhak Zilber.

From the book "So that you remain a Jew."

Every teacher in the Union was obliged to conduct social work. I was elected chairman of the local committee. When distributing responsibilities, I took on tasks that require a minimum of time: collect membership fees, distribute bonuses and vouchers to sanatoriums. A year has passed. The reporting and election meeting was scheduled for the first day of Sukkot, which fell on Saturday. Take sick leave? But I saved sick days for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Believe me, in all the years of my work I have never taken a bulletin really because of illness. Once I was ill with pneumonia for two weeks, but I went to work even at a temperature of thirty-nine. Everyone is already accustomed to this, so I couldn’t “get sick” even on Sukkot. I was also worried that I would have to explain how much money I collected in contributions and what they were spent on - they don’t deal with money on Saturday. I decided that financial calculations can be classified as "dvarim shel ma ve-kah" - things that do not concern a person and do not interest him at all. Then we can talk about them. In order not to carry notes with me, I learned all the numbers by heart and was ready to give an account to get rid of it. However, there was still a problem. I had to collect my dues for the last time. The salary was supposed to be on Thursday, and I decided that on the same day I would collect dues, stick stamps, and on Saturday I would come only to "blab."

Unfortunately, the cashier, having learned that there was a meeting on Saturday, called and warned: "I will come not on Thursday, but on Saturday. I will give out a salary, Zilber will stick stamps, and then we will start the meeting."

What to do? It is forbidden to glue on Saturday. How to get out? For the only time in my life, I couldn't find a way out. Decided not to show up. And our head teacher, Volodya Shteinman, knew that I didn’t work on Saturday. He came up alarmed: - Isaak Yakovlevich, I always help you. But if you don't come this time, it will be terrible - there will be talk, and against me too. G-d will forgive you the transgression: there is no way out, you are forced to come. The head teacher was, of course, right - conversations could begin, and the most unpleasant ones. But I thought about it and decided that the talks and even possible sanctions are not pikuach nefesh (a threat to life) after all: they won’t shoot me! Well, they will be fired from work, in extreme cases, they will take away my diploma ... And I did not go. Sukkot was fine, sitting in a sukkah. In the evening I went to the head teacher. I see him sitting calm, in a good mood. And he says: - Something incredible. The cashier came, began to distribute money, they are waiting for you. The meeting is to start at ten. At ten minutes to ten, an instructor from the district party committee rushed in like a madman:

- Cancel the meeting! No meetings! And made a speech:

- Comrades, the main task of the era is the fight against religious prejudices. Teachers must be the vanguard in this struggle. The Department of Agitation and Propaganda organizes a series of lectures on dialectical materialism. The meeting is cancelled, everyone to the lecture! That's how I once in my life did not go to work without supporting documents!

On Sukkot, Jews are required not only to eat, drink and, if possible, sleep in the sukkah, but also to say a blessing over the lulav daily. A lulav is a palm branch, myrtle and willow tied together (lulav, adas and arava - in Hebrew). When pronouncing a blessing, they are taken in the right hand, and in the left they hold an etrog, the fruit of a citrus plant.

You understand, these four types of plants were not easy for us. Every year the problem had to be solved anew. Sometimes my cousin Dov-Yosef sent a parcel from Palestine, sometimes some foreign tourist left for us "arba minim" ("four types"), one set for the whole city... But, anyway, for all the years of my life in Kazan, only once we spent Sukkot without an etrog and a lulav.