Friday, October 2, 2009

Building the Sukkah

"The sukkah reminds us that we are just travelers in this material world."
Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2009. All rights reserved.

I decided to buy materials this year that I'll be able to use again every year for the rest of my life, to build a really nice sukkah. One that can hold a few guests. One that my family will like to eat meals in. I plan to get Aimee and Jason's help building it when they come home from school. The best part is, Geoff's brother Paul decided to come visit us this weekend at the last minute.

So I've got matzoball soup, salmon, rice, & veggies on the menu, along with challah. It's going to be late: 7:30pm, so we'll have to rig some light. (Jason's busy with open gym until then...)

"In addition to welcoming friends into our sukkah and eating a festive meal in cheerful company, we also welcome, in accordance with Kabbalistic tradition, seven mystical guests (ushpizin)—also known as the seven "faithful shepherds"—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David...On each of the seven days of the festival, another one of the seven ushpizin leads the group." Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2009. All rights reserved.

There is a fantastic Israeli film called, "Ushpizin". It's in Hebrew with English subtitles. I watched it through Netflix - it's one of the free movies you can watch on your computer, if you're a Netflix member. Watch it, you'll love it. It's great for kids too.

Yom Kippur services were really nice and the fast was easier for me than it's ever been. I was thinking that might be because I no longer have a huge tumor wanting to be fed. The message I got from Rabbi Chein was meaningful to me. It reflected my own journey this past year.

Seems like this has been a year of going back to those questions of "who am I?" and "what is my purpose here?" and remembering that HaShem gave me life for a reason. The rabbi's talk hit me right there. We are all shluchim, sent here for a divine purpose. We're given gifts and talents all our own - to make use of and to enjoy.

This world is such a beautiful place. The birds are singing a lot again in the morning. But the weather always turns a bit chilly when the sukkah goes up. Being out there in the cold, so vulnerable in this world, makes it that much easier to remember why we're here and Who sent us and Who is cheering for us to complete our assignments. The sukkah is supposed to be like the booths we traveled with through the desert after leaving Egypt. I hope I have truly left Egypt this year and am on my way to the Promised Land.

I'm supposed to teach a Mothers Have Needs Too class next Sunday through Sutter. I was supposed to teach it in January too but as you know, I was bald and just out of the hospital at the time, going through chemo every few weeks. At the time, of course, I couldn't promote it and so it never happened.

This time, I was able to promote it, but who knows if it will happen or not. I need at least 6 sign-ups for Sutter to want to put it on. So anyway, I'm remembering that the outcome is not in my hands and I've been stressing less about it than I normally do while putting flyers out everywhere in town. If it's meant to be it will be. If not, I'll be wondering what my next divine assignment will be.

Life goes on and I say my Modeh Ani when I wake up in the morning and say the hand washing prayer immediately when I get up. It's an easy ritual that I do to feel I'm doing something Jewish everyday. But I am doing these things with a renewed kavanah since Yom Kippur thanks to Rabbi Chein's connecting all that with rededicating ourselves everyday to our divine mission.