I want to share that I found this year’s High Holiday services (and experience) one of the most personally fulfilling that I have ever experienced as a rabbi.
I am not speaking only of my personal prayer experience (which was very real), but also of our sacred collective.
It was wonderful to see a full sanctuary, and lots of people at our Brook Run Park services (including the kids’ service). The energy of our sacred space was uplifted, and hopeful, even in the midst of Yom Kippur’s solemnity. There were times where I felt joy to the point of tears.
It felt like a community.
Each year, we take a breath after the final shofar blast, and begin to prepare for Sukkot. In fact, there is a tradition that as soon as you break your fast, you begin to build your sukkah. (In fact, I was working on mine this morning).
The theology behind this quick succession of holidays (as our rabbis present it) goes something like this: On Yom Kippur you do the hard spiritual work of delving deep into yourself (and our society) so that you can come to terms with where we have fallen short. You vow to do the work to get back on track. This is “Choose Life” in practical terms.
The Sages give a nod to this, and point to the holiday of Sukkot as if to say, “good for you!...now, go build something. Make your vows happen.”
And so, under the stars each night, Jews around the world gather in the sukkah to feel the joy of community and share the important lessons that have been passed down through generations. Everything that exists in the sukkah are the things that are most important in life (family, friends, community, tradition, love); and everything else is (at best) a distant second.
This Sunday night Sukkot beings.
We will be gathering in (and around) our Temple Emanu-El Sukkah for a celebration under the stars. We have a classical harpist and violinist coming to play as we dine (bring your own), and play some Sukkot trivia. Most of all, Sukkot is fun.
I look forward to seeing you all there. Register for Sukkot Under The Stars