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Rabbi Pont's Weekly Torah Thoughts

Peace is Fragile

Rabbi Pont, Marlboro Jewish Center
September 22, 2018

Every evening, we say a prayer after the Shema called Hashkivenu, which loosely translated means, “Allow us to sleep.” Twice in this brief passage we ask God to, “spread over us Your canopy of peace.” The Hebrew word for ‘canopy’ is sukkah. While this is a beautiful image year-round, it is especially impactful now because the holiday Sukkot begins on Sunday evening.

Sukkot is a seven-day festival during which we have meals outside in the sukkah. A sukkah is a booth with a wooded roof that allows you to see the stars and sun. In it we are meant to feel both vulnerable and close to the divine presence.

Mahzor Lev Shalem includes this meditation on the sukkah and peace. “Peace comes to us in the recognition that even in our weakest and most fragile moments, redemption can be achieved. The central image in the prayer is the ‘sukkah of peace.’ The sukkah is a fragile structure, temporary and open to the elements. Peace is pictured not as a Temple, solidly built, gilded, perhaps ornate, but rather as created out of the most fragmentary of materials, leaving us vulnerable, at risk.” (p.9)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  1. Do you agree that peace is fragile? Make your case based on interactions between family members and friends, in politics, and amongst nations.
  2. We have several events in the MJC Sukkah (Wednesday and Thursday nights), as well as open invitations to my and to Cantor Teplitz’s sukkot. Check the weekly announcements for details.
  3. Join us for holiday services! And right after Sukkot are two more holidays – Shemini Atzeret and Simchas Torah! See the weekly or www.mjcnj.com for details.

 

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Pont

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