Tidbits of Torah

  Shabbat Parashat HaAzinu

Can You Top the High Holy Days?   

September 22, 2018 – 13 Tishrei 5779
Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us at services this Friday night, and especially this Shabbat morning, as we celebrate the aufruf of Amanda Eisner and Jeremy Granoff.  Mazal Tov to Amanda and to Jeremy and to their families!  What a lovely way to “top the High Holy Days” with a wonderful simcha!

But, can we really top the High Holy Days?

In Judaism, we often emphasize the significance of our continued uphill climb toward holiness.  So, for example, on the first night of Chanukah we begin by lighting just one candle.  Then, as you know, on each consecutive night, we add one candle to the number of candles that we light.  The custom of adding one more candle each night goes a long way to symbolically reinforce the value of taking the next step up in holiness – day after day.  As the light of the candles increases day after day, so does our quest for holiness increase day after day.

So, having just concluded the High Holy Days, can anything really top that experience?

We are about to celebrate Sukkkot!  Is Sukkot a letdown from all the holiness we have been exploring?   Or, can we imagine that, despite the spiritual intensity of the High Holy Days, Sukkot somehow represents our continued upward steps toward holiness?  What do you think?

Consider the following:  The message of Sukkot is that the holiness of Yom Kippur is not meant to stay in  the synagogue.  Sukkot reminds us that holiness resides in our day to day lives in the “real world” as represented by the Sukkah!  If so, perhaps, Sukkot represents an even higher level of holiness than Yom Kippur!….

Sukkot, the holiday of our joy, begins on this Sunday night!

May it be a sign that our prayers and fasting are an expression of our ongoing commitment to a life based on our most sacred values!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach [a joyous Sukkot holiday]!
Rabbi Gilah Dror