The month of September seems to be totally overwhelming! Kids back to School, a new academic year at JFS, the Selichot and High Holy days in full flow and it feels like our foot is on the accelerator in full throttle! It has been quite intense.
On Rosh Hashana, we proclaimed G-d as our King and recognized the awesome power He has over us. Then comes Yom Kippur. We remembered the fact that our King is actually our Father. We begged Him to take us back.
On Yom Kippur, we spend the day, immersed in holiness, praying the entire day in the Synagogue and pounding our chests, begging G-d to take us back… and then as the final Shofar is blasted, we get ready to party! Ready for “Zman Sichateinu” the season of happiness!
If one takes a look at the Vidduy Gadol, he will notice that a lot of the statements involve the Arayot (relationships) “We are guilty, we have betrayed”
The Jewish people is compared to the cheating spouse, begging for the ability to just get back to normal, for a second chance. We promised that we are going to change. We likened ourselves to dust and practically worthless. But then He says yes! I love you! I’ll take you back! He gives us a massive hug and says that it will all be ok. I grant you full forgiveness. We leave the Synagogue after Yom Kippur feeling energised and hopeful for the future.
Hashem is our King and our Father. We have a Love-Fear relationship. We get into problems when we trample on that relationship. The ten days of repentance restore that fear but makes us insecure about His love for us. The tension built up from mistakes we have made, coupled with the awareness of the intensity of G-d’s power scares us into realizing that the only way out of this mess is to try and restore his love for us. We confess and beg for forgiveness and for G-d to take us back.
Then…we celebrate Sukkot. The festival of Joy! As a remembrance of the “clouds of glory” The question is asked, historically the Israelites received the clouds of glory, and lived in huts directly after we left Egypt! Logically Sukkot should be directly after Pesach. Why do we only celebrate now?
Various answers are suggested for this, however one answer that resonates is as follows. Yom Kippur commemorates the forgiveness we received particularly for the sin of the golden calf. After that terrible episode, we lost the Tablets containing the 10 commandments, however we got our new set on the fifteenth of Tishrei. We got them back when we had committed to rebuild the relationship. In essence, we celebrate the return of our partner.
Sukkot is the first time that we have that Love-Fear relationship back. Hashem forgave us for betraying him and started showing his love in abundance again. As we celebrate this festival, may be feel that sense of renewal, and feel energised to celebrate with our loved ones and community the true happiness this festival instils in us. Chag Sameach