Joy, Uniforms, and Huts: Weekly SparkOct 5th, 2012 | By Henry
This week we’re in the midst of Sukkot, the holiday where the Jewish people leave their homes to dwell under the equivalent of non-functioning roofs. This national rite is called “Zman Simchaseinu,” “The Time of Our Joy.” What’s the connection?
Years ago my dear colleague Rabbi Yitz Greenman and family spent a few weeks living in the most modest bungalow you can imagine in the Catskills. A virtual tenement. They loved it. He asked the senior rabbi, Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, “How can it be that we love the bungalow, but we find so many faults with our house that is 100 times nicer?”
“It’s simple,” he said. “If it weren’t for the neighbors, everyone would be happy with what they have. Here in the mountains, everyone is living in run-down shacks and there’s nothing better to compare it to — yet it’s enough, because in reality it is enough.”
Along these lines, I recently shared with a friend that my daughter started elementary school.
“Does she have a uniform?” he asked. I affirmed.
“What a blessing. My daughter’s school doesn’t. Every day is a disaster.” Comparisons can be tough.
This is the freedom and joy of Sukkot. As you sit under the non-functional roof, realize that what makes everyone truly wealthy is not their handiwork/assets (as nice as they are). It’s our equalizers: the opportunity to grow, choose, learn, love, and live.
PS: Reminder – join me for a memorial event on behalf of my father, obm, Wed. Oct. 24 at 7:30pm: ttp://www.aishcenter.com/