We had the distinct pleasure of waiving Lulavs and eating in the Sukkah on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. For those present it has, so far, been a glorious Sukkoth holiday. Here is a poem I wrote that captures some of the meaning of Sukkoth:
Life is like a Sukkah.
Temporary; fleeting; and, yet, somehow ever-present
7 days for Sukkoth, a permanent, set time.
Is the time of every soul established and permanent?
A Sukkah is like life.
Canvas blowing in the wind; the sky our ever changing szchach.
Pieces of our lives as ornamentation; artwork hanging by string.
We are visitors in God's universe, God's Sukkah.
God is like an Etrog.
Beautiful; There for us to see and hold and smell;
Yet, amorphous just the same.
Nourishment? Adornment? Or something just to please the senses?
Man is like a lulav.
Multi-faceted; with a strength like the date palm.
And a presence like the pleasant scent of hadas
Yet weak like the leaves of the willow that wither quickly when out of water.
And somehow, just as the etrog is incomplete without the Lulav,
God is incomplete without Man;
Man is unfinished without God.
Each needs to hold the other gently, acknowledging existence together...East, South, West, North, to the Heavens, to the Earth.
Monday morning, October 1st, is Shemini Atzeret. This means that we will have a Yizkor service that morning. Services begin at 9:30 am, and I expect Yizkor to be at about 11:00 am. As part of Yizkor observance, it is customary to light a Yahrtzeit candle the night before. Thus, this year, you should light the candle on Sunday evening, September 30th.
I would like your help with two things:
First, as you may recall, a group from the JCC is traveling with me to Israel from October 7th - 18th. Over Rosh Hashanah I explained that notes placed at the Western Wall (the Kotel) are believed to receive special attention from God. I offered to place any notes that you give me in the Wall. I have already received several notes to deliver. If you have a note to send, either place it in my mailbox in the JCC office, or email it to me and I will print it. (If you mark the email personal and confidential, I will print and fold the email without reading it.)
Secondly, I am always looking for feedback on the High Holy Services. I have received some very lovely notes; however, if you have a something to add, please feel free to email me or to call me.
Shabbat Shalom and Moadim L'Simcha (Time of our Joy)- Rabbi Michael S. Jay