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Haazinu 5782 ~ September 17, 2021

I wonder if the author of the Torah understood the letdown that many people have following Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  After such a heightened experience, the preparation of special holiday meals, the anticipation of hearing the shofar, joining together with family and friends, the beautiful ending of the High Holy Day season with havdalah and tekiah gedolah, we need to fill that spiritual and communal void.

The Torah provides us with a wonderful continuation to that spiritual experience and our social needs.  Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah are that author’s way to elongate, in a most beautiful, way the festive mood we might be wanting. We sit together in the sukkah, reflecting on the beautiful world that God created for us, while enjoying festive meals. We bench etrog and lulav to celebrate the final harvest and to breathe in the smells of God’s creation.  We celebrate the end of the reading of the Torah and once again begin again. In that regard it is a mirror of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur committing to another cycle, refreshed to hear the narratives all over again, as though they are brand new to us.

I am a realist enough to know that some of us may have had enough of that heightened spiritual need. Afterall, we have been spending ten days in a spiritual mode of reflection. We are so glad that you joined with us for that experience.  We are grateful to all those who helped make our High Holy Day experience meaningful. Todah rabbah to everyone in whatever role you played in making our services meaningful, including simply attending services.

I hope that you will join us as we continue in our celebrations, both religious and social, beginning this Sunday with our picnic with Cantor Cohn, the sukkah happening at Lisa’s and my home, and with the joint Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah with our friends in the many congregations in our community. The evening program will be outside in person at Beth Jacob in Norwich and will include Torah reading and individual hakafot  (dancing with the Torah) through a hakafah maze (of some sort), and a lot of singing. The next morning, we will celebrate on Zoom with prayer, Torah reading and Yizkor.

I look forward to sharing with you the many opportunities of celebration and togetherness during the next few weeks. 

Shabbat shalom and, in advance, Chag Same’ach.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782