Monday, September 23, 2013

Sukkot Repost (Joke Included) From The Accidental Talmudist

Miriam was giving directions to her old friend, Esther, who was coming for a visit. "You come to the front door of the building, and find the big panel of buttons. With your right elbow push 2B. I will buzz you in. Come inside, get in the elevator, and with your left elbow hit 2. When you get out I am on the left. With your right elbow, hit my doorbell."

"Miriam, I'm excited to see you! But what's with all these elbows pushing buttons?"

To which Miriam replied, "You're coming empty handed?"

I was reminded of Miriam and Esther during yesterday's afternoon prayers, when we read, "Three times a year, all of you shall appear before the Lord, your God, in the place He will choose: on the Festival of Matzot, on the Festival of Shavuot, and on the Festival of Sukkot, and you shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed." (Deuteronomy 16:16)

It's simple good manners not to visit someone's home without bringing a gift. In ancient times, we brought the Lord animal and vegetable sacrifices, because that was the gift appropriate for that era. Now, however, we must bring something else, each "according to the blessing of the Lord, your God, which He has given you." (Deuteronomy 16:17)

I believe the Lord wants positive change from us, i.e. a tikkun, or repair. We can repair ourselves, our families, our communities, even the world, through charity, acts of lovingkindness, prayer, study, organization, teaching, etc.

But we have to DO it, and do it according to the upper end of our abilities - each bringing the best gift he or she can.

We need to form that clear intent, pray for help, and act on it. That's the nascent and fragile tikkun represented by our sukkahs - the gift we bring during this festival of Sukkot.

Sukkot is also called the Festival of Joy, and the joy comes from giving this gift!

My pals, I wish you infinite joy pushing buttons with your elbows!


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