Shabbat Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot: Joy As Defiance

On this Shabbat we have come to the halfway point of the fall Sukkot festival. This time of year invites us to recognize our total dependence upon the fertility of the soil and the luck of the weather for our lives. The lulav and etrog which we wave in the direction of the four winds,Continue reading “Shabbat Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot: Joy As Defiance”

Shabbat VaYelekh: Beginning the Shemitta Year

On this Shabbat VaYelekh we have come nearly to the end of the Sefer Torah. Most of the parchment is rolled up on one side of the two atzei hayim, the two “trees of life” upon which the scroll is rolled. It’s a lot of parchment; a lot of text, of reading and studying andContinue reading “Shabbat VaYelekh: Beginning the Shemitta Year”

Shabbat hol hamo’ed Sukkot: Why Bother?

The Festival of Sukkot is seven days long, no, wait, eight; literally, the Jewish folk tradition is that G*d didn’t want to part from us after seven days of joy together, and so asked us to wait one more day before going home. That last day is called Shemini Atzeret, literally, “stop here for an eighth [day].” It’sContinue reading “Shabbat hol hamo’ed Sukkot: Why Bother?”

Shabbat Ha’azinu: Listen to the Ages

Our New Year of 5779 has begun, although the Torah year is not quite complete – we will read the end and the beginning of our Torah when we gather for our Simkhat Torah observance on Monday evening October 1. Between that day and this Shabbat we have an entire Festival to celebrate: Sukkot, the seasonContinue reading “Shabbat Ha’azinu: Listen to the Ages”

Shabbat of Sukkot 5778: the sukkah as reminder of the wilderness Mishkan

Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur. In the maftir Torah readings for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur we have seen (in Numbers 29) a list of the holy days in chronological order, and what sacrifices our ancestors brought to mark each one. Numbers 29.1-6 refers to “the first day of the seventh month,” whichContinue reading “Shabbat of Sukkot 5778: the sukkah as reminder of the wilderness Mishkan”

Shabbat Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot: We Must (find time to) Celebrate

It is easy to miss our fall Harvest Festival of Sukkot in the stress created by the confluence of the Jewish New Year, marked by Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, with the start of the school year and the ramping up of fall activities for all of us after what is at least supposed toContinue reading “Shabbat Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot: We Must (find time to) Celebrate”

Shabbat hol hamo’ed Sukkot 5774: What is the Fruit of Your Life?

A very long time ago, our Israelite ancestors were practicing a particular ritual of thanksgiving at this Sukkot Harvest Festival time of year:   And it shall be, when you come into the land that  יה G-d is about to give you in estate, and you take hold of it and dwell in it, you shall takeContinue reading “Shabbat hol hamo’ed Sukkot 5774: What is the Fruit of Your Life?”