Rabbinic Reflection: Rabbi Jordan Helfman
Fragility of Life – Fragility of Structure
As I was building a shack in my back yard this past week, someone nearby commented on how it looked pretty secure – except that the holes in the roof could be a slight problem for the rain.
Now that it is raining – I have to agree.
One of the most frightening things for a homeowner is when water seeps through and takes unexpected paths deep into the home. In our protected bubbles we secure ourselves in, we control every element so that beauty and comfort are supreme.
And yet – once a year we step into the holey, outside of the climate control, and experience the transcendent art of nature.
Every year I find poetry in this transition from stability to ramshackle. But this year I see the reverse – that in the uncontrolled, there is now standing an imperfect structure in my yard.
Enclosing what was once a walking path, is now structure. The walls break the passing wind and provide definition where there was none before.
Something is now standing there – with water soaking the paper chains, pouring through the holy roof.
This moment for me is about celebrating those boundaries which make our lives special – both physical but also in time.
For my family- the first Tot Shabbat of the year is arriving – and the boxed-out space of Shabbat will regain a bit more of its definition. For others, Saturday morning attendance at Holy Blossom is returning to their routine, giving more form to their social and communal Jewish lives.
Yizkor and Shemini Atzeret are around the corner, and making this time sacred will help delineate. We are still far from perfection, the full schedules and energy which flowed through our Jewish lives. We aren’t secure yet – but at least the boundaries are taking shape as life returns.
Rabbi your article is truly poetic. I love the way you describe the fact that in the uncontrolled period we currently live the Sukkah for me signals a renewed period of hope and the weather also marks this change in spite of the rain.