We returned to Israel yesterday after 3 months of adventure, friends, family and a Bat Mitzvah trip that really taught us the power of giving. In South Africa we spent time with both mine and Gavin’s dad who both lost their wives/partner to Covid and who are both still recovering.
People in the Johannesburg Jewish Community are traumatized. The pain is palpable. Covid took so many lives. Jewish funerals increased 35 percent in a year and that is in a community with shrinking numbers. The last wave was the most devastating! I visited 3 synagogues and in each it was a shock to see how many young men were saying Kaddish - the mourners prayer for a loved one.
I am famous for my love of l’chaims at meals. “L’chaim” is the Hebrew word for “Cheers”. It means “To life”.
I heard a beautiful explanation that the word chayim is plural because it refers to two lives, life in this world and life in the World to Come. Whenever we refer to life, we refer to both.
Sukkot celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the miraculous protection G‑d provided for the children of Israel when they left Egypt. We remember this by sitting in the succah which is temporary hut and we are reminded of G-d’s love and protection.
After Covid we have all seen the transient nature of the world and how quickly a life can be taken. Succoth is a time of joy that gives thanks to Hashem for life, not only in this world, but for the infinite life we are given in the World to Come. The Torah is our gateway to life now and eternity.
Shabbat shalom and chag someach.