Sukkot is traditionally a joyful and uplifting holiday. But this year the irreverently comedic “YidLife Crisis” web series takes the high to a whole new level.
Although the legalization of recreational marijuana will take effect in Canada only on October 17, Yiddish-speaking main characters Chaimie (Jamie Elman) and Leizer (Eli Batalion) are betting the authorities will look the other way if they get a jump on things by taking a toke in their backyard tabernacle.
In the new “Sukkannabis” episode, Chaimie eventually convinces the reluctant Leizer to smoke weed with him. It should be fine as long as their sukkah is on private property.
The preemptive timing notwithstanding (Sukkot is September 23-30 this year), creators Elman and Batalion cleverly launch their web series’ third season with the pot-centric episode. Canada is only the second country to fully legalize cannabis, and the only member of the G-20 group of industrialized nations to do so. For many Canadians, it’s indeed a reason to celebrate.
As usual, Batalion’s character is the more traditional one, trying to convince Elman’s secular character to appreciate and observe Jewish religious rituals and commandments. While Chaimie is initially unwilling to shake Leizer’s lulav, he is impressed by Leizer’s pimped out sukkah (let’s just say that its furnishings are unconventional). “Tabernacle!” Chaimie exclaims, purposely making a double entendre as he enters.
Although Batalion and Elman play it for laughs, they manage to cover a decent amount of educational ground about Sukkot. In addition to the agricultural harvest aspect of the holiday, they discuss the themes of wandering, transition and impermanence. In the end, it’s the notion of pushing yourself outside your material home and proverbial comfort zone that convinces Leizer to turn his hut into a hotbox.
“Sukkannabis” ends with Chaimie and Leizer reaching a quid pro quo agreement. Leizer isn’t going to let Chaimie off the hook; his friend is going to have to shake the lulav if he is to share a spliff. It’s only fair.
Leizer takes comfort in the fact that smoking a “cannabissel” is legal now (or almost) in Canada, and most certainly will be when this video is played anytime after October 17.
Watch to the very end for a shockingly sacrilegious bit. And if you have always wondered what the blessing is for smoking dope, be sure to hang around for the credits.
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