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    Swapping chairs

    Where do you sit in the sukkah?

    The Shabbat table is not the best precedent, partly because the dining room is generally big enough to fit everyone in. Families usually have their Shabbat table places worked out. It is more or less taken for granted that everyone has a set place.

    The sukkah, in comparison, is relatively small, the conditions are often cramped, and there are rules about which members of the family need to be accommodated. Family dynamics need to be re-addressed, and hardly anyone remembers where they sat last year.

    A Swedish-American thinker called Milton Erikson has a remarkable idea. He says that even if you know where you sat in the past it’s good to alter things around. You get a fresh perspective. You reconsider your outlook and everybody’s place in the family.

    Erikson was often consulted about human problems and had the revolutionary idea of telling people to change chairs.

    Maybe that’s why Pir’kei Avot (2:4) tells us not to judge our neighbour unless we have stood in their place.

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