Monday, October 10, 2011

HaPoresh Sukkat Shelomecha -- Spreading the Tent/Sukkah of Peace

Sukkot is approaching! I love Sukkot, I mean really LOVE SUKKOT, in the same way that I absolutely LOVE PESAH! You could say I am a Yom Tov junkie, and I am particularly enamored with the calendar when it gives us three days of Yom Tov and Shabbat tied together. Good bye world, I say, for the next 72 hours! Wow, who gets to do that in this day and age?! While my friends are often ready to throw things at me and wish some sort of (not too serious) bodily harm because I am all smiles when they are often at the eye rolling stage, I just cannot think of any reason to not be so in love with extra time with my family, hanging out with friends, preparing and eating great food, and so forth. My greatest challenge during this time is to not put on weight – not such a bad life, really!

So, we build and eat in (and some of us, literally reside in to the best of our ability) these temporary huts, which are to remind us simultaneously of G-d’s protection of us and our fragility as human beings who create and build things that are themselves fragile, as any one of us who have had our Sukkah fly down the street know all too well!

We are taught that the SCHACH, the roof of the Sukkah should be sturdy and thick enough to “protect” us but at the same time allow us to see the stars in the sky. What a beautiful way to think about who and what we are as human beings and remember that
G-d and all that G-d created are part of our lives and so much bigger than we with our human limitations are. Looking at the stars during our shared and festive dining experiences really communicates that to me.

I also think about how peaceful the stars look, notwithstanding the times we race through Kiddush and Motzei and then retreat to our beautiful dining rooms inside our comfy houses because rain, thunder and other natural elements – also much bigger than we are – make it so that our starlit dinner will not happen! We are taught that when G-d promised Avram (later to be renamed Abraham) that his children and generations that will come from him will be as multitudinous as the sands of the shore and as glorious and numerous as the stars in the sky, the sands speak to who we are as a community and collective while the stars are meant to gaze at and consider ourselves as individuals and the sparkle that each of us individually can bring into the world.

We say the phrase used in the title of this post as part of a Bracha in our ongoing dovenning (prayers): Blessed be G-d, Lord of the Universe who spreads the tent of peace over us. Notice that the same word SUKKAH is used here. Our huts and coverings, our SUKKOT, that we use and in which we dwell for the duration of this glorious holiday is to allow us to gaze upon the stars, not the sands. We look into the beautiful sky to see peaceful and lovely twinkling. May all of the SUKKOT we build this holiday be filled with this sense of peace and well being AND may we all remember the blessings of our “tents of peace” as we exit from this series of celebrations in the Jewish calendar and enter the rest of the year, beginning with Mar Cheshvan (called bitter Cheshvan because of no specific or special celebrations except for Rosh Hodesh and Shabbat), bringing and spreading the tent of peace in our own way, through caring and bringing peace in every way we can into the world (that really big tent) that G-d created for our benefit.

Chag Sameach to all!

No comments:

Post a Comment