“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
“Where the rubber meets the road is the most important point for something, the moment of truth. An athlete can train all day, but the race is where the rubber meets the road, and they’ll know how good they really are.” (The Rock Group, Meatloaf)
My one-time cab driver father would quip when I got a flat tire, “Yes, but it’s only flat on the bottom!” As we will have emerged from the High Holy Days with its hopeful promise of transformation, the time ahead is daunting. After the spoken words, the lofty expressions of hope and the promises uttered to do better the proof of its implementation is when the “rubber meets the road!”
The mood of this seasons shifts dramatically after Yom Kippur with Sukkot. It is a joyous holiday though some elements are somber. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) speaks of the transitory nature of all our lives, the impermanence of all things. “Vanities of vanities,” Kohelet declares in references the accomplishments and endeavors we cling to. A somber bit of solace is offered threaded through the pages of how living in the moment should be our ongoing concern. “To everything there is a season.” Long before Pete Seeger made those words popular through a musical offering (and don’t forget The Byrds’ version) Jews have taken heart from its imperative to find gratitude in the now.
Sukkot is a time to breathe. To take in the gifts of what is and focus less on what was and even on what will be. Not a mood of fatalism to be sure, but one of hopeful surrender, a faithful view that things may have happened and will happen for a reason. It is that realization that impels us to be more charitable as we notice those who have less for which to show gratitude. As our Thanksgiving observance of Sukkot arrives I hope that it will be one of joy for you and all your loved ones!
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz, D.D.