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A time to Rejoice

Rabbi Streiffer

The Biblical book of Ecclesiastes (and also the 60s rock group The Byrds) once said:

To everything there is a season

And a time for every purpose under heaven.

A time to dance, a time to mourn.

A time to laugh, a time to weep.

As we move our way through this High Holy Day cycle, we are aware of the litany of emotions that assail us: the majesty of the New Year; the dread of the Day of Atonement; the joy of being together with family; the aching hunger of Yom Kippur afternoon.

We often think of the “High Holy Days” as ending with Yom Kippur, but as the Day of Atonement comes to an end and we begin October, we are only in the middle of the Fall holiday cycle. And in many ways, the best is yet to come.

The festival of Sukkot is one of the three ancient Pilgrimage Festivals, when Israelites would make a journey to the Temple in Jerusalem. It was a time when our earliest ancestors would build outdoor booths, live and eat in them, and enjoy the outdoors. In fact, since so many Jewish practices have changed over the years, building a Sukkah may be one of the oldest still-observed practices in all of Judaism.

I love the idea that we are still doing almost exactly what our grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents’ were doing 100 generations ago. And at the same time, Sukkot is a fulfillment of all kinds of modern values: connecting with the earth, sharing meals together, being aware of the transience of life. This is truly a holiday with something for everyone.

Don’t let the holidays end with Yom Kippur. It is “a time to rejoice.” This year, in addition to our Sukkot morning service on the first day of the holiday (Thursday, October 5 at 9am), we will gather for Sukkot in the Park on Sunday afternoon, October 8, at a time and place TBA. A chance to eat, drink, and be together outdoors. And since it’s traditional to read Ecclesiastes on Sukkot, maybe we’ll even sing The Byrds.

Chag Sameach!

Rabbi Micah Streiffer

Thu, May 19 2022 18 Iyar 5782