High Holy Days

The High Holy Days are a wonderful time. Our being together as a congregation during the Days of Awe is always one of the most powerful and moving experiences we all feel. I want to express my appreciation to our congregational family for helping to create such a highly spiritual atmosphere in which we were all able to confront ourselves and pledge to make the coming year a year of meaning and purpose.

And while the High Holy Days are almost over, they are, in actuality, not completely over! What we accomplished and what we promised for ourselves is just a beginning. It is now the time to roll up our sleeves and put our prayers and promises to work.

A good way to begin is to celebrate the holidays, Sukkot and Simhat Torah. They are the holidays of “doing”. It is no accident that the calendar has Sukkot and Simhat Torah follow so closely on the heels of the High Holy Days. While the High Holidays were the Days of Awe and contemplation, Sukkot and Simhat Torah are days of activity and action.

The sukkah is a wonderful symbol in our tradition. It is a symbol of divine protection and, at the same time, of uncertainty. The sukkah is not sturdy and doesn’t protect us from the elements. The sukkah reminds us that life is full of vulnerability and what happens to us in life is not always under our control. Although we have been working hard during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to mend our ways and to start the new year on the right foot, Sukkot reminds us that life is fragile. But the sukkah also represents the beauty and blessings we bring to life to strengthen that fragility. And Simhat Torah celebrates the continuity of Torah and our heritage.

Sukkot and Simhat Torah are a time of thanksgiving. Let us be thankful for our families, both personal and communal. Let us be thankful for the strength we get from each other.

Wishing you and your families a Hag Same’ach, a healthy and happy holiday season with a vibrant and meaningful new beginning.

Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett new-message24