Today, we are painfully aware of the reality of life’s challenges. From yet another mass shooting in our country, to the murderous attack on a Jewish couple in Israel in the presence of their four young children, leaving the children orphaned – today we know, without a doubt, that the challenges of life are real.
Yet, even as we learn of these sad developments, we continue to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot – a holiday which encourages us to maintain a sense of joy throughout the entire seven day period of celebration.
How are we to maintain a sense of joy, a sense of spiritual resilience, in a world so full of enmity and strife? In truth, there is no better time than Sukkot for us to ponder this question…
Traditionally, on the intermediate Shabbat of Sukkot, we read the Biblical scroll of Kohelet [Ecclesiastes]. In a powerful reflection, Kohelet says:
“I loathed life. For I was distressed by all that goes on under the sun….” (Ecclesiastes 2:17)
Kohelet reminds us that even as we struggle with our faith, we must acknowledge the deep complexity of life.
But, Kohelet also suggests: “Tovim ha-sh’nayim min ha-echad – Two are better off than one…For should they fall, one can raise the other.” (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10)
In the spirit of Kohelet’s powerful refection and teaching, let us remember to be there for one another, in community!
And, may our presence in community be an added source of inspiration and of spiritual resilience for each and every one of us as we move toward the conclusion of our holiday season and into the coming days, weeks, and months of the new Jewish year 5776.
Shabbat Shalom and Moadim L’Simcha [Times of Joy]!
Rabbi Gilah Dror