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Happy Sukkot – 2016

Every improvement requires a change

Today begins the Sukkot Festival. Like any Jewish holiday, so does this one, too, have layers of meaning and a uniqueness, both in significance and in action.

Like in Passover, we do a lot of things we do not normally engage in, which facilitates the making of spiritual changes and personal growth.

We are required to take joy in this holiday, more than any other. This while dwelling in a temporary not very secure booth, as far as our present times are concerned, and surely taking into account the political state our country is in. To eat and sleep in a Sukkah – a dwelling which is not even really a building, almost outside, all week long.

And yet – “you shall rejoice at your feast and be altogether joyful” (Deuteronomy 16:14-15).

Illustration: building a Sukkah - Sukkot
Illustration: building a Sukkah - Sukkot
Rejoice at your feast, a work with pearls.

The holiday's tenet: rejoice

It is not easy to be joyful in challenging conditions. Try to rejoice while you are afraid of something, or feeling insecure…

Thus, we are to make an effort and focus on the here and now, on what we have. Not allow fear of risk to sabotage this focus. For our happiness comes from joy, not fear or insecurity.

Judaism, therefore, requires us to act out of risk management and calculated effort. It requires us to lay aside our search of security, because for there is no such thing. To do that we are to go out of our homes, where we have the illusion of security, our comfort zone. We are to move into the Sukkot for a week. They cannot by any stretch of imagination be called “secure”, increasing the feeling of insecurity even more.

However, we must not allow this feeling and fear of the risk disrupt our festive joy and high frequency emotions. Our growth, personal change processes

Moreover, the symbolism of the “4 species” reminds us it makes no difference who we are and how we usually act. On this holiday everyone is viewed and treated the same way. All are to go through this process equally.

Wwhether you are like the etrog (citron) fruit, which has both taste and scent, symbolizing people who both study and do. Or like the lulav (date palm branch), which has taste but no scent, like those who act, but do not study. Or like the hadas (myrtle leaves), which has scent but no taste, like those who study but do not implement. Or, finally, like the arava (willow branch), which has neither taste nor scent, as are those who neither study nor take action themselves, just go with the flow. Everyone is the same on this holiday, all need to make an effort. All must manage the risk and not search for security. All are to find ways to focus on the good already possessed and not on what they lack (like security of any kind). To allow all the privilege of rejoicing and growing.

Take this message to your organizations

Let’s extrapolate to our organizations and their Quality. Let’s adopt a rule that anyone, no matter which of the 4 species they resemble the most, gets the chance of growing and developing, being empowered and managing risks. And, naturally, it begins with ourselves.

Let us not forget that we are not to look for false security. Nor feel resentment or anger about what we lack or do not have enough of. Let’s remember our focus, to be able to free the energy we need for improvement.

Remember that everyone plays a role in this game. We may never know ahead of time what role each of us has been allotted. Therefore, everyone is equally entitled to empowerment, no matter their type. We must allow them to be themselves and grow where they are right now, without judgment, with joy and out of love for our fellow man.

The results shall come, in the rate of each one’s type. We wouldn’t know who shall be the source of our greatest joy and pride for all, or even when the change shall be manifested. Just trust the process and allow it to happen, without attempting to control it. Without trying to achieve some sort of security, for there is no such thing.

Happy Sukkot and meaningful changes to all!

greeting card for Sukkot

Top picture: coloring page for Sukkot. Original image taken from a coloring pages for printing website.
Second picture: “You shall rejoice in your feast”. A work with pearls. Original image taken from Graficall website.

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