Glimpsing God’s Light in the sukkah

From the beginning of Elul, all the way through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, until the end of Sukkot Jews read Psalm 27. It guides us through the sacred season as we explore a range of emotions and experiences and helps us reflect on our lives and relationships, our awareness of and responsibility for Holiness and Light in the world around us. The Psalm begins with the words, Adonai Ori, God is my light (Psalm 27:1). On Rosh Hashanah we may taste the sweetness of Light in apples and honey shared with family and friends. On Yom Kippur we might hear the Light in the triumphant call of Tekiah Gedolah at the end of a day of prayer and fasting. And on Sukkot we can glimpse God’s Light in the Sukkah.
Here’s how I imagine it…

I saw Your Light in my sukkah today.
It traveled ninety-three million miles for more than eight minutes.
Your light,
created at the dawn of the universe, renewed each and every day,
landed in my sukkah this morning.
It entered through the canopy of branches,
sun shining through the leaves.

I saw it:
Shifting with Your Shadow, dancing with Your Wind,
glowing on our faces.
Beaming, not blazing.
Present, immanent, steady.

I saw Your Light in my sukkah today.
A man holding another’s baby.
A grandmother and grandchild eating cookies.
A new Jew, fervent in practice,
an inspiration to see Your Light with new eyes.
A child with small hands holding a large etrog,
shaking a tall lulav in all directions,
scattering Your light,
confident You are everywhere.

I saw Your Light in my sukkah today.
Hebrew letter shining from the parchment of the Torah scroll.
Ink glistening in the light
animating the faces gathered around the sacred text.
Gather the beautiful branches together, “us’machtem, rejoice,”
spread the light, on all, for all, “for seven days.”

I saw Your Light in my sukkah today.
What more can I say?
Baruch atah Adonai…
Blessed are You, God, who gives us the sacred opportunity,
to shake the lulav, to spread the Light.

This passage is an excerpt from Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27 written by Rabbi Debra J. Robbins, published by CCAR Press. Debra Robbins is a Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El of Dallas and a member of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas.

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