As we head into the last round of holidays in this month long marathon of chaggim, I wanted to talk a little about the lingering Sukkot feelings in the air.
Yes – our backyards, parks, and school playing fields are a lot quieter. Yes – our Sukkot may not be as full with guests as they are usually. Yes – our yomtov may not be filled with synagogue this year. But one thing is for certain – this year, we may understand the messages of the holiday better than ever.
Impermanence and flexibility have been hallmarks of the last six months. What is reliable one day, is not the next. Parents and children have had to adjust to home learning and offices, and days of school missed because of a minor sniffle. Our lives have become less stable. We’re all pros at digesting and responding to directives and guidelines that change daily. We are less comfortable as we wear masks for our community’s protection. Our worlds have shrunk because we all travel less (and less far), and because of restricted or prohibited in-person social interactions. And the ultimate message of Sukkot – having to accept that we do not always control our own lives – we truly find ourselves in God’s hands.
But I encourage you to search out one more message in the holiday even if it’s hard to see with your own eyes this year. True, we cannot sukkah-hop or explore our neighbor’s backyards as per usual. But imagine, although lulavim and etrogim are almost identical in nature, and with all the rules and regulations of building sukkot
- how large does it have to be?
- how many walls must it have?
- where you can erect it?
- what types of material can be used?
- what can used for schach?
- how much sky must be visible?
each sukkah is remarkably different. Material, layout, and size are all variables to consider. And each contributes to a unique Sukkot story. And this does not stop with construction and decorations. Go inside (metaphorically, of course)! You will see families shivering, eating heavy stews, soups, and roasts. And you will see families sweating, eating light salads. You will hear Birkat Hamazon (Grace after Meals) sung in different tunes. You will see young families. You will see older couples. You will see pets. You may even catch a game, and don’t get me started on the variety found in sports fanatics!
However you are celebrating the chag this year and beyond, take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate this diversity that allows our precious Jewish practices and beliefs to grow, evolve, and enrich our lives in countless ways.
Chag Same’ach & Shabbat Shalom!