This week we are celebrating the wonderful and joyous holiday of Sukkot. I personally love Sukkot. It is a chance to enjoy meals with friends while dining al fresco in the Sukkah! Could there be anything more glorious than dining outdoors?
The themes of this holy week are the abundance of the fall harvest and the abundance in our lives. We are to give glorious thanks to God for surviving the hard Ten Days of Awe ending with Yom Kippur. We spent that time in introspection. We spent that period from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur focused on our inner changes that need to be made. But Sukkot focuses on the simple pleasures and joy of a good meal with friends and thank God for being alive! These are holy days for finding our place in nature and breathing deeply of life and family and friends and gladness!
The Sukkah literally represents the glory of God! The Israelites were protected by the cloud of Divine Glory during their trek toward freedom in the wilderness of Sinai. The cloud of Glory was God’s literal embrace of warmth and safety from the elements. We decorate the Sukkah as a reminder of that glorious protection. Even though the sukkah is a fragile and temporary dwelling we are reminded that the Cloud of Glory was just that a cloud. It hid us from enemies, refreshed the warm air, but it withdrew when we were not encamped and traveling on our journey.
During Yom Kippur I talked about acts of Lovingkindess, acts of Chesed that we could do for one another and the world. I mentioned several things that you could do immediately. One was continue to bring canned goods and toiletries to our Congregation for Sova. We had to make two trips to bring all of the foodstuffs back to Kol Ami from our worship site! So we are off to a good start. But the barrels are here ready to receive every single day. Make it a habit to bring something for Sova every time you come to temple for a class, for a meeting, for worship!
Secondly I mentioned Food Forward. This is a group that has spoken at Kol Ami services before. Food Forward helps you harvest the many fruit trees that dot Los Angeles area homes and brings that fruit to food banks all over town. I have arranged for them to pick my Persimmon tree and when the citrus is ready they will come to my home and pick that as well. If you have fruit trees in your yard that are producing or will in their proper season, consider connecting with Food Forward as an act of Chesed. The link to their website is www.foodforward.com.
Also a great organization that distributes funds world-wide is the Global Hunger Foundation. Started by our Temple member Eric Schockman, this is a group that is making a difference on the ground. Recently, they gave a $10,000 dollar grant right here in Los Angeles to Homegirls for their organic gardening used in their cafe so that Latinas in East LA can break the chain of poverty. If you want to connect with the Global Hunger Foundation here is how to do so: www.globalhungerfoundation.org
Let the bounty of the Fall Harvest and the bounty of your life be part of the gratitude o