Monday, September 20, 2010

The Spirit of Sukkot

The Spirit of Sukkot
Shabbat Sukkot
17 Tishrei 5771 / September 24 – 25, 2010

This Shabbat we will find ourselves in the midst of the Sukkot Festival. On Sukkot we build our temporary dwelling places, shake our lulav and etrog, and engage in general practices of simcha (joy). On Yom Kippur we tap into our unique and communal connection with the Divine. We are part of the great mystery that makes this reality tick! If you think about all the energy in the world it can be astounding. I am talking about the real energy that it takes for our bodies, rivers, machines to run. Think about all the people in the world that are moving, greatly or subtly, in this moment – a tremendous amount of activity. If we just stayed with the Yom Kippur revelation we would be like eyes perceiving without any filter. Science teaches us that the eyes do not translate every perceived signal into vision. Our sense of sight would be completely overwhelmed and we would ultimately see nothing.

I would like to suggest that the same goes for the Sukkah. We create this structure that is bound in space and time as a container for this immense energy. It is a filtration system for Divine flow giving us the ability to connect authentically with the physical-spiritual world without becoming completely nullified. Thus, the mitzvah of the chag is simply to be in the Sukkah – to integrate your personal vessel into the larger container of the Sukkah. In other words, to find your unique place in the world. The lulav and etrog are the symbolic tools with which we draw in the unbounded energy into the Sukkah (and ourselves!), from the 6 directions into the center.

Lest we begin to confuse the container for the source of energy, the Sukkah is built to be flimsy and temporary. This is a reminder that while our models and perceptions of understanding the world around us are important, they are ultimately limited. Practically, this means that we become aware of our place in the world AND stay open to new insights and changes.

Chag Sameach and Many Blessings!


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