With the ending of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, the Jewish calendar focuses on the first of our three Festivals, Sukkot. The symbol of the fragile dwelling place, the sukkah, is increasingly popular. More and more people build their own and have a meal in them as is the custom.
Also beginning at this time are the powerful readings from the Book of Genesis. Perhaps no chapter in the entire Torah is more relevant to baby boomers than Genesis 3. Here is the famous Adam and Eve – Garden of Eden myth. Central to the story is God’s question to Adam and Eve (really to us) of ayecha, or “where are you’? This one question really speaks to so many of us in our stage of life. So many of us are in transition. So many of us are care-givers, juggling family, work, loved ones. So many of us, in quiet moments of reflection also ask our own self, “where am I?” The sukkah really does form a symbol of the fragility of life. We seem to be more aware of the fragility as we ourselves age.
Judaism is a powerful force in reminding us that we continue to grow and evolve, no matter what stage of life we are at. The messages of the High Holidays are still with us; messages of renewal and hope, of the power each of has to move forward in life and life each day to its fullest. I suggest that the festival of Sukkot is a very meaningful coda to the Holidays just past. It literally reminds us of the temporal nature of life and the fact that we are part of nature and not outside of it. So again, how we choose to see our self determines who we will be in the coming year. This is a very challenging time for many of us. We are all changing. Let’s not be afraid to evolve and grow and reach out for new ideas and to follow our dreams.
Chag Sameach — have a joyous holiday
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.