Yom Kippur comes at the end of a spiritual pilgrimage that begins at Rosh Hashanah and some say much earlier in the summer. That pilgrimage, if we choose to walk its path is about Teshuvah-about changing, turning, transforming. Teshuvah for the most part is acted out with other human beings. We try to repair the relationships that have suffered from our neglect or bad intentions, or simply our flailing interactions. But ultimately this primary focus of Teshuvah with others that fills the first nine days from Rosh Hashannah yields to a 10th day. That is a day we turn our attention to God and attempt to apply what we learned from talking to our fellows to the how we can talk to the Maker of All. READ MORE
There is a subtle turn on the Day of Yom Kippur as we make the journey toward Neilah, the conclusion of this austere day. The mood of awe yields to a hopeful joy. This move which is made real with a rich audible experience of the final blast of the Shofar to end the fast day.
It is an old tradition at the end of Yom Kippur to not rush out mindlessly to end the fast, but to linger one moment to hammer the first nail or to twist the first screw in the building of the Sukkah. In that moment we go from audible blast to physical sensations of construction. We take a first small step toward the joy that awaits with the Festival of Sukkot, the season of our joy.
All I ask of you is this season is to notice this emotional and spiritual shift toward joy. The joy of the end of Yom Kippur will move us along to the festival of Booths. Ask yourself, what is the joy that this festival embraces and represents? What does it teach us about how to live our lives? And who do we share this joy with, since there is no joy without others?
Panim Hadashot-New Faces is dedicated to discovering and finding joy through the act of hospitality. We are asked to share our meals in this shaky, flimsy structure with others. Sukkot is the paradigmatic festival of hospitality and therein lies it's theme of joy. May you discover the incredible depth of that joy by sharing your Sukkah, your table, your bounty in the coming year. Let us help you find this beautiful joy throughout the year.
Shanah Tovah, Gemar Tov, An Easy Fast, and Hag Same'ah,
Rabbi Dov Gartenberg
You can learn more about our initiatives to renew the tradition of Shabbat Hospitality at www.panimhadashot.org.