Tonight we will come together in our Sukkah to celebrate this “festival of thanksgiving.” Our tradition summons us to consider our lives, and to search within, for feelings of gratitude for the blessings that we know.
But the Sukkah is more than a symbol of thanksgiving. In fact, it may well be that of all of our Jewish symbols that it is the Sukkah which most conveys what we are about as Jews. While most of us feel very secure living in America, we know that earlier generations often felt themselves living in a “fragile Sukkah” of existence as they faced persecution and hostility.” But for us, in our comfort, the outdoor and always fragile Sukkah summons us to remember that in our world there are so many for whom the vulnerable Sukkah represents their constant state. Those who are homeless or hungry; those whose lives are threatened because of political strife or ancient hatreds.
And yes, the outdoor Sukkah reminds us of a vast universe that is filled with wonders. I love the statement of an anonymous writer: “Out of the void and vastness of the cosmos, life emerges; audacious, improbably. You and I are here. No other miracle is needed.”
For all of us, let this Festival of Sukkot open our hearts to the blessings of our lives, and let this festival remind us that the highest expression of gratitude is to reach beyond ourselves with kindness and generosity toward those who are not so richly blessed as us.
Rabbi David Greenberg