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October 14, 2022
19 Tishrei 5783
Sukkot V

Building and decorating the Sukkah this year has been heartening. Seeing the children of our community and their parents say the blessings over the lulav and etrog in the Sukkah gave us a sense of a new beginning. Sukkot is both a time of fragility and of hope for the future. The fragile design of the Sukkah is a potent reminder of our own fragility. The hope is intrinsic to the holiday as well as we express our gratitude for what has been harvested, both in the produce from the field and our own spiritual journey through the High Holidays. We are in a place of renewal.

In just a few days, we will celebrate Simchat Torah. It is the perfect coda to all of the holy days that precede it. This year we will be back in person, able to celebrate and be reminded of the circular quality of life as we go back to the beginning again, even as we celebrate the fall.

We both finish and begin reading the Torah at the same time. As we read the very end of the Torah, we are reminded that as Moses ascends to his final resting place, his eyes are not dimmed and his natural energy is unabated. We are told he is 120 years old and we are duly impressed by this man who can still take in new information. He reminds us of the people we meet who never tire of learning something new. Moses gives us a way of living in the world, eyes open and always moving forward, even as he goes on his final journey.

It is an incredible contrast to finish reading about Moses’ end and quickly move to the creation of the universe as we start the Torah anew. We begin with a sense of order and hope. Each day we live can be likened to creation as we bring love and light to those around us.

May these days of reflection and celebration enrich us with a sense of purpose and collaboration, a sense of gratitude, and an ability to recognize that which is good in the world and to bless those moments.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Sun, December 10 2023 27 Kislev 5784