It’s my favorite Jewish holiday this week. I mean, all-time, hands-down favorite. Sukkot. A harvest holiday where we gather with friends and celebrate earth’s bounty. A time when we eat outdoors, (some even sleep outdoors), for 8 days. It’s known in the Torah as “the holiday”, like the one that kind of takes the cake.

Typically as soon as Yom Kippur is over, I’m busy cooking and baking and freezing food for the bounty that’s to come. Like an 8-day long Thanksgiving celebration. But this year, I’m tired. After 18 months of COVID living, eating outdoors doesn’t hold the specialness it once did. While we’ll be in a sukkah, eating outdoors just might feel like…well…another Wednesday.

One poignant feature about Sukkot is its message that life is fragile. Living in a semi-permanent hut with a thatch-type roof through which you must be able to see the stars is meant to teach us that lesson. The wind or rain could blow your sukkah down.  It can get a little uncomfortable. It can be cold, or the bees could show up (uninvited), or you could get rained on. After this whirlwind of a year, I don’t think this is a year in which we need to be reminded of life’s fragility.  We know this one all too well.

So my challenge is going to be this: I’m going to find one thing each day to make Sukkot feel special. Learn about a superhero from Jewish history. Bring a new song into the sukkah. Spend some time with gratitude. Pause before I begin to eat to think about the farmer who grew my food, the truck driver who transported the food to Pikesville, the grocery store clerk who sold it to me. Slow down a little bit. Keep reading that awesome book I started on Rosh Hashana (it’s called Judaism for the World- it’s a masterpiece). And I’m going to wait and see. Maybe my heart will open just a bit wider, allow my curiosity to be pricked, let some laughter bubble out, feel some joy while I sit out there under the stars…and remember why it’s the holiday!  Ahh…I already feel better just imagining it.

Chag sameach, friends.

Soulfully yours,

Rachel Siegal

2 thoughts on “A fragile existence”

  1. Anne King says:

    Beautiful words Rachel.

  2. Erika Schon says:

    Poignant reflection, Rachel! Thank you for validating our feelings during this unusual year and helping us find strong meaning as we prepare for Sukkot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter

We promise not to overwhelm your in-box or share your contact information.