The Festival of Sukkot began at sundown Wednesday evening. This coming week of Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, is known as Zman Simchateynu, the season of our rejoicing.
Traditionally a time of gratitude for the bountifulness of the earth, it is also a time when we remember the fragility of life. The special biblical book that is read is Ecclesiastes, or Kohelet in Hebrew. The Book, ascribed to an aging King Solomon, is about the meaning of life. As a sage, the author reflects on life's lessons.
Ecclesiastes is worth reading if you haven't done so.
Life's meaning and our vulnerability have been rudely in our faces in recent weeks. The horror of the deaths and injuries that took place in Las Vegas has shaken us to the core. We are saddened and we are ashamed of a government that has not been able to figure out how to curb such acts.
Our celebration of Sukkot cannot be meaningful unless we do something. What can we do? Support efforts at Gun Reform. Support programs and stronger efforts on behalf of mental illness. Cut out the photographs of the carnage in Las Vegas and mail them to members of Congress and, also the White House.
In the Hallel prayers that we recite this week, we read Psalm 118. "Min HaMeytzar Karati Yah...from the tight narrow place I call to You... answer me with Your embrace."
Khag Sameyakh. Blessed is Life and may we celebrate each day. Reb David