Monday, June 01, 2020

We find ourselves at a time of grateful abundance. We emerge from our Rosh Hashanah tefillot observing the birthday of the world only to look ahead with nervous anticipation as our heartfelt prayers will seal our lives of goodness, joy and health in Hashem’s book.

When we then look at our body of spiritual work during Yom Kippur, we know we will get to again look forward toward Sukkot and Simchat Torah, the ultimate season of Jewish joy.

Our hopes this year are that Jewish families will find time to be together, to again experience the wonderment of meals in the sukkah, to share meaningful divrei Torah and to beam with joy when our children are covered by the tallit for their Simchat Torah bracha.

Perhaps it shouldn’t belong in this discussion, but we hope that our families and friends take care to observe the Yomim Tovim in a spirit that doesn’t include overindulging, especially when it comes to drinking alcohol. Rabbi Berel Wein blogged that “Judaism is not for the absolute prohibition of alcohol. Wine is an integral part of Jewish ritual. But like all matters in life, Judaism preaches good common sense, necessary restraints and discipline and a social responsibility for the general welfare of all society. Alcohol has to fit in to that pattern.”

That is why we want to urge a close, wonderful family holiday experience this year. With everything that seems to be happening in the world, we welcome a time when it will feel better to sit within the sukkah’s protection with our children. If we are to overindulge, let’s do so in singing zemirot, giving over words of Torah, retelling favorite family stories and other aspects of a safe, memorable time spent together.

It’s a sobering thought.

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