When you’re a child, you don’t notice the passing of time in the same way that you do as an adult. Don’t you remember those endless summers that seemed to stretch on forever? Now, summer seems to go by in a flash and I hardly ever accomplish what I had planned.
For someone most of whose life has been ruled by a school calendar, September is a beginning. By October, we were settled in. Remember those new “school” shoes and clothes , yellow pencils, fresh notebooks?
Today many kids wear the same things to school as they do the rest of the day. Schools request a long list of supplies, but still things seem new.
As the Jewish year turns, we think about the passage of time. The Torah comes to an end and is begun again. We’ve dwelt in a temporary structure that could succumb to the first high wind to come along. It is certainly not temperature controlled as are our homes. And we often share the space with critters like bees, squirrels, raccoons and the occasional deer.
The light makes every leaf stand out- could that be the light of Creation passed down from eons ago?
There is the promise of glorious color and beautiful sunsets like no other time of the year. The markets are still full of local produce as the gardens and farms give their last gasp.
Sukkot and Simhat Torah fit in so perfectly. We tend to forget in our industrialized world that the Jewish holidays were agriculturally based. Sometimes it’s good to be taken back to our roots as we re-enact and remember where the rituals came from.
Simhat Torah has even been called “God’s party and everyone’s invited” by Sydney Taylor, the author of the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family series, the first mainstream series of books for modern Jewish children. And party we do with joy and abandon.
And what a perfect time to perform the mitzvah of hospitality whether you have your own sukkah or not. Involve the children by working together on this simple, but thoughtful activity, from American Jewish World Service. https://ajws.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Sukkot-paper-chains.
The library is a rich resource of books to educate us about the meaning and traditions of the holidays and how to celebrate them in our time.
Please visit and borrow.
Cardin, The Tapestry of Jewish Time: a spiritual guide to holidays and life-cycle events.
Goodman, Sukkot and Simhat Torah Anthology
Pogrebin, My Jewish Year: 18 holidays, one wondering Jew
Polacco, Tikvah Means Hope (J)
Sarna, A Time to Every Purpose: letters to a young Jew
Steinberg, Best Sukkah Pumpkin Ever (J)
Steimberg, Celebrating the Jewish Year: the fall holidays
Waskow, Seasons of Our Joy: a handbook of Jewish festivals