A Word of Torah

Rabbi Daniel Schaefer

Last night at Selichot, we sang the words of Hashiveinu, reminding us that this is the season for returning. Some of us are returning to school or work, some of us are returning to Greater Boston, and many of us are returning to Temple Ohabei Shalom.

The High Holy Days are coming and they arrive “early” this year. Of course, they only feel early because we live our lives on the secular calendar. Just like last year, the year before, and for thousands of years before that, Rosh Hashanah arrives right on time this year, on the first of Tishrei. Tishrei is the most full, exciting, and meaningful month in the Jewish calendar. We begin by celebrating the birthday of the world (Rosh Hashanah), a time of hope and renewal, which leads into the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (The Ten Days of Repentance) culminating in Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish Year.

But Tishrei doesn’t end there. Five days after Yom Kippur, Jews around the world begin to celebrate Sukkot, the week-long holiday known in the Jewish tradition as The Holiday (HaChag). Sukkot is an ancient pilgrimage holiday connected to the fall harvest and the Israelites’ time wandering in the wilderness. It’s also my favorite holiday, a time for gathering outside, sitting in a Sukkah, and sharing meals with family, neighbors, and strangers.

For those of us living in New England, the timing of Sukkot could not be better this year. You are invited to join us at Temple Ohabei Shalom for a communal Sukkot celebration, reserve a space for your own gathering in the TOS Sukkah, or buy your own Sukkah and celebrate the most joyous holiday of the Jewish year at home.

We look forward to welcoming you back and celebrating with you for all of Tishrei. Please join us this Friday at our Welcome Back Shabbat (9/7) and for all the High Holy Days, beginning with Rosh Hashanah on Sunday night, September 9th.

Shanah tova u’metuka – May you have a happy and sweet new year!