Gratitude and Faith
This week we read special selections from the Torah in honor of the holiday of Sukkot, which began last Sunday night and lasts for eight days. This season is an embarrassment of holiday riches for Jews, and the Torah readings reflect this.
Sukkot marks the great fall thanksgiving festival, the feast of Tabernacles or booths, and we are commanded to remember the transitory nature of our ancestors’ wanderings through the Wilderness of Sinai, as well as the transitory nature of our own lives. In the season of the fall harvest, when we eat the first and best of the produce of the natural world, we take a week to demonstrate our gratitude for the necessities of life: food, shelter, and clothing. And in this week’s Torah reading we receive the mitzvah of building a Sukkah, a temporary Tabernacle, a booth or hut, outdoors, designed to last just a week—actually, eight days—to eat in and perhaps sleep in. We decorate it with the symbols of the harvest, fruits and vegetables, and enjoy a fall harvest festival to celebrate the goodness of the world God has given us.
It’s a great lesson in appreciating the gifts we have received, and appreciating the many good things we have. Gratitude is an experience that few of us can maintain for long, but it is the essential source of so much that is profoundly religious, and profoundly good.
So may it be for each of us in this week dedicated to gratitude.