As we come together to celebrate Sukkot this evening, we recall that in ancient Israel this was one of the major pilgrimage festivals. People would come to Jerusalem from throughout the country for this festival of thanksgiving, so that Sukkot became known as the “time of our rejoicing.”
A great sage of the last century wrote that “to pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live.”
No, the purpose of prayer is not so much for us to “ask” for the things for which we long. Rather, its purpose is to open our eyes and our hearts to the blessings that we already know, but to which we sometimes close our eyes.
Sukkot calls to each of us: “Yes, life is challenging, and sometimes very hard! But don’t dare ignore those blessings without which you would truly be poor.” If we are blessed with family, health, some degree of material stability, and friends, then we are truly blessed and have good reason to express our gratitude.
So I hope you will join us for our Sukkot service in our beautiful Sukkah. The service begins at 7:00pm, with a barbecue at 6pm. “Come, let us rejoice and give thanks.”