So here we go again… Sukkah… Succah… Chanukkah… Hanukah…
I’m going with sukkah… and luckily I was able to spend some time in four of them. Thanks to Howard, Jonah, David & Stacy and Bobby.
Every one of them was personal and special and I loved that. Hopefully I will build my own next year.
This is not anyone of theirs, but reminded me of a childhood fort. There is just something fantastical and magical about the sukkah.
The best quote I heard was from my friend Rabbi Shlomo:
“Every man has two lives, the second one begins when you realize you only have one.”
This one hit me hard, especially given where I am at right now… and within a week after hearing it, a friend’s house burned to the ground (They lost everything, including a dog) and my Uncle passed away unexpectedly.
Life is a short and unexpected journey. Sadly, it does not last forever, at least in the physical sense… and like it, a sukkah is temporary, too. We are here for but a blip of time. Figuring out what’s important, and as quickly as possible is key, and for me, Judaism is a fantastic guide.
Sukkot is a holiday of joy, clarity and knowledge. We sleep outside under the stars, so we remember that our needs are fairly simplistic… And after the basic necessities, we understand how family and friends and sharing a meal together is so powerful and vital and significant.
Howard taught us in his Sukkah, that the holiday is about inviting guests and the community in… literally and figuratively. It is about sharing with others. This is so much a part of the Jewish people. It is who we are. We MUST remember this always… and not just on this holiday.
We must remember to not be defined by our material possessions and things. Most of the time, there is no room for them in the sukkah, and that is a good thing. It is, in fact, a revelation… a point of clarity that our greatest sources of joy are studying Torah, doing mitzvahs, having a true connection with Hashem and our family and friends, and finding deep wisdom.
Shlomo told another great story… and in fact, most of these ideas are things that he talked about. He told the tale of a bird, who could not understand the appendages it had on its body… It was upset that it did not look like other animals. Not knowing what something is for can be a burden.
Yet when it was revealed that what the bird had were wings, it was able to fly and soar.
Let us live full and filled lives… meaningful lives. Let us discover our true purpose and use it to help heal the world, to spread love and joy.
Let us all discover our wings and fly and soar.
(For my Uncle Alan, my friend Poul… and all the people in Jerusalem and Israel. I will always stand with you!)