Sukkah Reflections

A shofar, in the shape of vav, on wall of our sukkah.
After the intensity of personal introspection involving the High Holy-Days, on Sukkot we are asked to celebrate a state of joyful gratitude.

And You shall Rejoice in Your Holiday
ושמחת בחגך
V'Samachta B'Hagecha

And Be in Complete Happiness                   
והיית אך שמח          
V'Hayita  Ahh Sameach
Our ancestors apparently knew that being in a state of happiness and gratitude is like a muscle we need to "pump and work out" especially when facing inner or outer challenges.

I am count this day's blessings before I lay my head on the pillow

The few hours we spend at Devorah's blessed home filled my soul with pure libation.

Turning a shed into a mishkan with you all felt like being children engaging in holy play.

I am forever grateful to Marc who comes prepared with radical teachings that stretches the imagination and show us another way to access our divine home base.

I bless the tears that got shed, the laughter, the smiles, the caring eyes, the songs and also doing the "line dance" with the Lulav.

Bill Finn aka Billbob

When we sat by the Sukkah at Devorah’s place, our talks were interrupted by noises from the sky.  Planes overhead drowned out our teachings and sharing.  One magical moment was when unusually loud songbirds chimed in during Mark’s insights about the Great Mother, the 8 days of Sukkot, and the directions of the lulav.

As Marc began the lulav ceremony, a large palm leaf, full of nasty sharp thorns, leaped off the roof, and fell down near where he had been sitting.  Afterward, another large noise interrupted his explanation of the ritual.  He remarked something to the effect that there were forces trying to stop us.

Linda remarked that waving the lulav on the Sabbath was prohibited by halachah, so perhaps interruptions were evidence of spiritual forces at work.  There arose a discussion if we should proceed with the ritual waving. Mark decided that we should proceed with the lulav ceremony and that each person would decide for themselves about individual waving.

Afterward, I recalled a Talmudic story about a dispute between Reb Eliezer and Reb Joshuah.  Even after a succession of miracles and a Divine Voice declared Reb Eliezer’s opinion the correct one, the Sages still ruled that in favor of Reb Joshua.  They stated, "The Torah is not in heaven!" (Deut. 30:12). We pay no attention to a divine voice because long ago at Mount Sinai You wrote in your Torah at Mount Sinai, `After the majority must one incline'. (Ex. 23:2)" (http://www.jhom.com/topics/voice/bat_kol_bab.htm)

Even if the interfering noises from the sky were Divine Voices, it would have been legitimate to “incline” after the “majority,” and follow the opinion of our teacher, Marc. 

A congregation was faced with a serious moral/ethical issue and after a great deal of discussion asked the synagogue board and the rabbi to make the decision.  At the next meeting of the synagogue board, the issue came to a vote.  The 15 members of the board voted one way, and the rabbi voted the other.

At the next board meeting, the rabbi said to the board, "I know we voted on this last time; I know the vote was 15-1; but still I am very troubled by this issue.  Would it be alright if we asked G-d to weigh in?"

The board agreed that this would be appropriate, and all prayed for Divine guidance.  After a while, the voice of the Holy One came to the board meeting, proclaiming, "The rabbi is right!"

After a moment's silence, the board chair said, "OK, Rabbi.  Now it's 15-2."

The word "shofar" appears over 70 times in the five books of Torah. In most instances, it is spelled shin-vav-peh-resh. However the first use of the word, at Sinai, is spelled without the vav, shin-peh-resh. I intuitively know there must be teachings we can learn from this variation in spelling; I have written about some teachings, and continue to look for more.

Sitting in a sukkah, today, I learned that "sukkah" also appears in Torah with and without vav. I have written about this on my blog at Sukkot - Shofar Connection: No Vav