Draw your family close to you, lay the table with unspeakably unhealthy foods, turn the volume way up on the flat screen television, take the remote away from your brother, welcome in your friend's friend's friend and give thanks for all of your blessings.
The reward for this arduous work is revealed in the tearful and joyful reunion of Jacob and Esau, healing the many years of estrangement.
There are times and places when our worship requires a sense of awe and dignity. There are times when we need less "here and now" and more transcendence and beauty. There are times when our prayer must be marked by reverence and earnestness.
This work calls upon us to imitate God in order to bring God's presence into our lives and the lives of others. On Shemini Atzeret, we think about God seeking to linger in our presence because God needs us as much as we need God.
On Sukkot we are told to leave the comfort of our sturdy homes with their strong walls, insulated windows and security systems and we are directed to live in an impermanent shelter -- where the walls may shake in the slightest breeze and roof is made of leaves and twigs.
When we are doing anything that gives us real joy, we are learning new things and pushing ourselves. We discover that joy helps us grow -- and that there is no limit to its expansiveness.
We are living in a day when rain is often a curse. Both through absence and through excess, rain is bringing death. In our generation, Sukkot is an opportunity to wake up to the damage we are doing to the Living Waters.
As I obsessed over how to forgive, I spent hours thinking about how much I had been wronged. It wasn't helping me move forward at all.
Though the now-unfolding Festival of Sukkot is called the "season of our joy," the first morning of the holiday caught me in a foul mood. The early worship with its uplifting songs didn't help much. What did was the Torah reading.
We, all humankind, live in a sukkah, vulnerable. No great Twin Towers, no Pentacle of Power, is invincible. Only the shared knowledge of that truth can bring us peace.
This is my kind of celebration. When I was a kid I loved reenactments of historical events. To that end, I have a wish list of historical figures I've always wanted to meet. Moses and Leah top my list.
If Sukkot commemorates the wandering in the desert, why do we celebrate it now?
The Jewish High Holidays are filled with the potential to amplify life lessons. It is upon us to discover how they are relevant to our individual lives.
The commandment to be happy is not included among the positive commandments of the Torah except during the holiday of Sukkot.
How do you explain the High Holidays to kids without scaring the living daylights out of them? Just the images alone send me into black hibernation. No light, no consciousness. Let God add and erase names in the Book of Life without my awareness.
Instinctively the human being is "self oriented" and looks out for self pleasure and gain. However, a person has the choice to go beyond self and be "other oriented," when we do so we feel the sensitivities and needs of others.