On Friday night, after the blessings, my family went around the table and everyone shared something good about their week. Nearly everyone said Yom Kippur was so much fun. (This made my sephardic blood very happy.) I have personally been on a hovercraft since neilah, not quite ready to touch down to reality and having fun building a sukkah...and here comes Sukkot, already preparing for takeoff.
The poet Naomi Shihab Nye writes about this sensation in her poem "So much happiness":
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to...
Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
As we journey from the Days of Awe to Sukkot, we allow our joy to carry us away, to hold it and share it and hopefully to feel more known through it. The many Sukkot events are a great way to be in more intimate, potentially less crowded community. I encourage you to pick at least one gathering to attend.
Wishing you all a Hag Sameach, a joyful Sukkot,
Rabbi Ari Lev
P.S. A note on Jewish greetings and salutations: In the days between the formal beginning to the holiday (tonight!) and Simchat Torah (which starts next Sunday), so from Tuesday to Saturday, it is customary to greet someone by saying Moadim L'Simcha (May your holy time be joyous) and to respond Hagim U'zmanim l'Sasson (May your festival season be joyful).
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Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.