Without a doubt, my favorite Jewish holy day is Sukkot. It is not a just a “holiday” since it is filled with sacred messages about life and faith.
I have always been drawn to the message that Passover is about our liberation from slavery; Shavuot is when we receive the Torah; and Sukkot marks our journey. Sukkot is about our journey — “real life.” While we dwell in these little huts that provide some basic protection, the reality is that they are still quite fragile. These sukkot represent our own lives. No matter how much insurance we have, how strong the walls of our houses might be, how many people are invested in our successes, we acknowledge during Sukkot that our lives are delicate and fragile, so we have to make the journey matter. What a great message to have once we completed Yom Kippur!
And what about this journey? Where are we going? Of course, to the Promised Land! We have a destination. Nevertheless, what matters most is not that we arrive, but that we move in the right direction and live a life filled with meaning, purpose and faith. That’s what it means to take the journey, as the famous poem from Rabbi Alvin Fine teaches:
Birth is a beginning,
And death a destination;
But life is a journey,
A going—a growing
From stage to stage.
From defeat to defeat to defeat —
Until, looking backward or ahead,
We see that victory lies
Not at some high place along the way,
But in having made the journey,
state by stage – A sacred pilgrimage.
I am looking forward to our celebration at Beth Tikvah on Wednesday eve and Thursday morning — especially WITH OUR NEW SUKKAH! I hope that you will join me for the journey! (For info about Sukkot at TBT, visit http://www.bethtikvah.com.)
In the meantime, I hope your New Year will be sweet, with good health, and much joy.