Yizkor-Shmini Atzeret

A baby enters the world flailing; so will I.

Al Tashlicheinu Adonai Elokeinu Milfanecha Be’et Ziknah. Don’t send me from you alone and without you, G-d our G-d, in my life-long needs.To be religious, like love, is to thrill again and anew in eternal dimension. The point of Judaism is to change your belief in G-d into your knowledge of G-d; to see the face of G-d, which brings you to immutability.

It’s true, it is really so: G-d wants us to be happy, both individually and nationally. What religion presents their G-d-head with this characteristic? You should rejoice in your holiday, Vesamachta Bechagecha Vehayita Ach Sameach.

And then you shall be oh so very happy. We shall hold this attitude for the next six months, bracketing the winter until Purim, increasing, even then, our happiness in the month of Adar. How and why? We have come through the birth of the world (with Rosh Hashana) and the judgment of every inhabitant of the Earth (on Yom Kippur). And now with Sukkot, the celebration of every nation by G-d and to G-d. Which religion brings the planet together so bounteously in Thanksgiving? Every religion perceives itself to have an edge to an insight to who G-d is and what He wants. I do not apologize that we do too. We don’t think we have the whole truth, but we do believe that we have an essential truth through G-d’s Torah and rabbinic Judaism.

Which brings me to the most important question: What is the voice you hear when you talk to yourself in your mind? Is it a nagger or an overbearing swagger? Is it kindly and soothing—lovely in pursuing? What’s you, the beautiful you?

I’ve spent a lot of time now in my own head, and I’ve started using a little sing-song, almost mantra-like: I love the love inside your eyes, and I repeat I love the love inside your eyes. I love the love inside your heart (x2). I love the love inside your mind (x2). I love the light inside your kindness (x2). I love the light inside your words (x2). I love the home inside your smile (x2). I love the dream inside your kiss (x2). Converse to yourself and immerse yourself in gentle words. I love the joy inside your life. I love the home inside your joy. This to me is the meaning of Sukkot.

Jacob came back to Israel and crossed the Yabok River. He was pounced upon that night by the remaining angel from the ladder-to-heaven, all those years before. His vow to G-d was being contended with. What are you bringing back into Eretz Yisrael from Exile? Jacob grapples with the angel who clips his thigh and he is reborn as Yisrael. No more dust on a crooked path from his heel, but straight to the way of G-d and Israel (Yasher-El).

We have come out of the dread of Yom Kippur. We have come to the other side. G-d has allowed us to bring our final harvest of the year to fruition. We have seen the result of our work. That’s why our holiday is called: Zeman Simchateinu, The Season of our Joy.

The time of Yizkor is to remind us of the purpose of our work. We are completing the dreams of our people before us. Yizkor, last Yom Kippur, two weeks ago, Yizkor this Shmini Atzeret. We are on the other side fulfilling the vows of Yom Kippur to fruition. What joy G-d affords us! Moadim leSimcha. Our holidays were created for joy!

Rabbi Ronnie Cahana October 21, 2011/ 23 Tishri 5772


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