We’ve been celebrating Sukkot, the Jewish fall harvest festival. It is a time when we build a sukkah, or temporary shelter, in which we dwell for seven days. The sukkah reminds us both of the ancient Israelites who wandered the desert and of the Jewish farmers in Canaan who dwelled in temporary shelters near their fields during the fall harvest.
But, as Rabbi Alan Lew explains, the sukkah has another purpose — to remind us of “the illusory nature of all houses” and the fact that “Nothing can save us from death.” This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation at 270 (Little, Brown 2003).
And what is it we Jews are to do as we dwell in this reminder of our mortality? Invite our family, friends, and neighbors to join us, and celebrate with a joy greater than at any other holiday.
Because there’s nothing like death to remind us to live today — NOW, at this very moment — with JOY — and SHARE that joy with others!!
shavua tov, a good week, to all, jen