One of the more remarkable attributes of the Jewish calendar is its sense of balance and proportion. As we depart from Yom Kippur’s gravity and solemnity, we move, almost immediately, into the joy and possibility of Sukkot. Just as we break free from Yom Kippur’s tug on our mortality, we are given a new lease on life – the observance of a holiday that commands us to revel in the beauty and majesty of God’s wondrous creation.
Of course, the Sukkot experience in Rhode Island’s unpredictable autumn isn’t always a walk in the park. This week, with the wind howling, and the schach (the branches on top of the sukkah) falling down, it seemed as if our prayers for rain were being heard just a little too well. But even if the weather this week sometimes conspired against us, we still gathered here at Temple on a gorgeous night to decorate the sukkah, eat “pizza in the hut,” shake the lulav, smell the etrog, and sing festive holiday songs. Even on a holiday known for its abundance and prosperity, it surely felt as if our cup was overflowing.
But, if all of the fun and hospitality of Sukkot were not enough, there’s still more! The Jewish calendar takes us immediately from this eight-day outdoor house party to the unadulterated happiness of Simchat Torah; a time for sharing the end, and the beginning, of our Torah’s eternal cycle. This Sunday night, September 30th, come and join us as we sing, wave our flags, and encircle our children in a fully unrolled Torah scroll. We will consecrate our first graders, bless our new religious school students, and dance to the music of our delightful klezmer band. As we conclude this season of rebirth and renewal, let us join together to celebrate God’s creation, in both our world and our Torah.