Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


After the intensity, heightened spirituality and inward reflection of the High Holidays -- the "Days of Awe" from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur -- Sukkot is a time of fragility, of connection to nature and family. Instead of congregating en masse in the great edifices of our communal sanctuaries, we build temporary structures barely big enough for a simple table and chairs, covered with a few symbolic branches for a roof over our heads.

It is a holiday for hospitality.  The sukkah is intended to be always open for guests.  We symbolically invite the Biblical patriarchs and prophets to join us, and the Lulav (Four Species) represents the full spectrum of people whom we should welcome to join us.

On Shabbat Sukkot, we read the book of Ecclesiastes -- a lyrical exposition on the fragility of life itself.  As our rabbi said this morning, during the Days of Awe it seems that it is all about us: our sins, our repentance.  On Sukkot we find that it is not all about us at all.

On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we hear the mighty blasts of the Shofar.  On Sukkot we just hear the rustling of the leaves.  And it is enough.


  1. Todah for your thoughts. I wonder: Pesach is also associated with hospitality ("Ha lachma anya ... kol dikhfin" v'gomer); is the same true for Shavuoth, which is the third foot of the Shalosh Regalim triad of pilgrimage-feasts?

    P.S. Typo: repentAnce

    1. Thanks for the correction!

      Shavuot, to the best of my knowledge, does not involve any special tradition around hospitality. It is more of a congregational observance (Tikkun Leil Shavuot). Also, unlike the other Regalim, it is only one day (2 in the diaspora), not a full week, which limits the opportunities for hospitality as well.


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